Mitchell Hooper Takes On Sam Sulek’s Chest Workout

Mitchell Hooper is experiencing an exceptional year in 2024 despite not defending his World’s Strongest Man (WSM) title against three-time champion Tom Stoltman. Hooper ranked as the runner-up to Stoltman at the 2024 WSM and triumphed at the Arnold Strongman Classic and the Arnold Strongman Classic UK in Birmingham.

Beyond his achievements in strongman contests, the Canadian strongman and kinesiologist is broadening his fitness horizons by exploring different workout regimes, including bodybuilding routines.

On May 14, 2024, Hooper tried out fitness influencer Sam Sulek’s intensive chest workout, committing to training to failure across all exercises, a hallmark of Sulek’s training method. 

Sam Sulek’s Chest Workout

Incline Smith Machine Bench Press

Chest Cable Flye

Pec Dec

Watch Hooper delve into Sulek’s chest training techniques below:

[Related: A Guide to the Best Pre-Workouts in 2024, Tested and RD Approved]

Incline Smith Machine Bench Press

Hooper began with the Smith machine bench press, executing five sets ranging from seven to 14 reps. He pushed to muscle failure each set. He completed 14 reps on the first set before increasing the weight to pull him back into the six to eight-rep range. He used wrist wraps for additional support as he engaged his upper pecs

Hooper tackled his second set with 365 pounds for seven reps. After a brief two-to-three-minute rest, he delved into the nuances of bench pressing on a Smith machine versus using free weights.

”If you’re training for size, [the] Smith machine is great, so is bench press, but [the] Smith machine probably takes the edge,” says Hooper. “If you’re training for strength, [the] bench press will take the edge because it helps control all of these small muscles that stabilize and create that solid foundation to push from a stable platform.”

Chest Cable Flye

Next, Hooper adopts a strongman approach for the chest cable flye, performing five sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. He recommends concentrating on contracting the chest at each repetition’s apex and selecting a weight that facilitates as much.

Hooper takes a one-to-two-minute rest between sets for recoveryIsolation exercises like this don’t require as much recovery time between sets as compound movements like the incline Smith machine bench press. 

”I’m making this more specific to strongman. I don’t think it matters all that much if you’re coming straight in front of your chest at different angles, so I’m going to hinge and come down like I’m picking up an Atlas Stone,” says Hooper. 

Before reaching his performance peak at 95 pounds, he emphasized understanding specific gym machines‘ weight settings and orientations. For example, the weight of one machine, 95 pounds, may vary across different gyms. Crucially, he underscored that “working close to failure or to failure to elicit that gain” is a must to stimulate muscle growth effectively.

After completing the workout, Hooper noticed a significant sensation in his biceps and chest. Hooper elaborates that adopting the correct form is unfamiliar territory for him as a strongman athlete. However, he’s committed to mastering it with guidance from Sulek.

Pec Deck

Hooper finished with a burnout set of the pec dec, executing a single set to failure. “Rounding out the workout, one set [to] absolute failure with the pec dec, aiming between 12-15 reps for failure. I will stack the weight to [the] maximum and hit as many as possible,” said Hooper. 

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Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram

The post Mitchell Hooper Takes On Sam Sulek’s Chest Workout appeared first on BarBend.


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