Ken Hall: Mr. New York City

“For the past seven years I have been doing various exercises for the development of my chest but I wasn’t satisfied with the development I had attained and did not feel that my chest quite matched the rest of my development.

I well recall when my friends urged me to enter the Mr. New York City Contest in 1956. I was working hard and was in good shape but knew I was not ready for competition. I therefore continued to work hard and give my chest special attention and 1957 felt that I was ready and so entered the Mr. New York City Contest of that year and felt very honored to take second to Nat Johnson and I won the first place for best abdominals, best back and most muscular.

I knew that I needed more work and decided that my chest could stand still more specialization. I found that it was necessary to use lots of sets of each exercise and I liked to use all the poundage that I could handle in correct style. I do not hurry my movements or try to cheat just to use more poundage. In other words, I would perform each repetition rather deliberately and in every correct style.

This seems to give the muscles used a very intense and localized effect. Of course, I do other exercises for the rest of my body but I have special attention to the chest with more sets. I like to use a lot of mental concentration in my exercises as it has been my experience that the fellows who concentrate their entire mind and attention on their work make the best and fastest gains.

So keep your mind on each movement. Think power and size into those muscles. Feel every inch of every movement. When you finish a set your muscles will feel full and well worked. You just KNOW you’re doing a good job.
pullover and press bodybuilding

My first exercise is the pullover and press with barbell with bent arms all the way. using a low bench, I start with the weight on the floor and pull the barbell over the face and to the chest, then press it to arms length and then lower back to the floor again. I do this ten repetitions, The movements are not hurried and I feel the weight all the way. I do 5 sets of 10 reps in this one.

I like to take a five minutes rest before doing exercise No. 2 and this leaves me fresh for the new exercise. The first exercise has worked my pectorals and expanded the chest box as well as worked my triceps and deltoids. The second exercise, the incline press is a more direct exercise for the upper pectorals.

In doing this exercise use a poundage on your two dumbbells that will allow you 5 sets of 10 reps each.

Clean the weights as easily as possible so that you have a good position and plenty of strength left for the presses. Some men like to stand on their feet while cleaning the weights then back up against the incline board and lean back or fall back on it.

Others like to get their position against the bench then swing or clean the weights to the shoulders. The type of bench you use (its sturdiness) and your abilities will determine your style of getting into position. Press the dumbbells upward at a medium speed and lock the arms out at the top then lower them down as low as possible against sides of chest for complete range of muscle movement.

The third exercise is one which is seldom seen in gyms but which is very effective for the pectoral muscles and gets fast results and will along with the incline bench dumbbell presses just performed, help build that highly desirable high arched chest.

This exercise, I call the incline Flying Exercise. Use weights you can again perform 5 sets of 10 reps with and keep the arms somewhat bent and let the weights swing far out and back so you stretch the pectoral muscles, then bring them back together over the chest again. Don’t hurry too fast.

dips two benches bodybuilding

The fourth exercise is a very common one but performed in an uncommon manner. it is the dip exercise performed between two benches. Place the feet on one bench and the hands on two others and lower the body between the two benches as low as you can, then back up, making each movement complete. Make the movements very strict. This is going to be a rough one but it will give a lot of bulk and depth to the pectorals. I’m going to ask you to do 5 sets of 20 repetitions of this one. When you can do that many you can hang a weight from the neck for added resistance.

The last exercise I like to do is the standing crucifix. This sound like more of a deltoid exercise than a chest exercise and perhaps it is but I also like the effect is has on the upper pectoral when performed as I do it.

ken hall training

Take the dumbbells in your hands and with palms down raise the weights to shoulder level at the sides then bring both bells forward and cross the arms strongly, tensing the pectorals. After 5 sets of 15 reps of this I’m sure you will feel it in the pectorals as well as in the deltoids.

These are the exercises I used to bring my chest up to its present size and development and I’m sure you will find them equally effective if you will work hard and regularly on them. Three times per week is often enough except when you are working for a contest and want to attain all the definition you can when you may work for 5 times per week for about three weeks before the contest.”

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