Classic Bodybuilding: Gene Mozee's Chest Training

Gene Mozee's Advice and Tips for Building a Massive, Deep, Chiseled Chest!
Gene Mozee in his younger days, and in more recent years
     When I was much younger—14 or 15—and just starting on my career in bodybuilding, strength training, and physique transformation, there were several writers who made a deep impression on my young, impressionable mind.  When it came to basic, barbell training, it was the likes of Mike Mentzer, Steve Holman, Bradley Steiner, and a few other "briefer and harder is better" writers who made the largest impression on me.  But when it came to volume training—which I eventually succumbed to—there were really only two writers who influenced me the most: Greg Zulak and Gene Mozee.  Zulak had the longer, more lasting influence.  But it was Mozee who influenced me first.  And, I must admit, he still holds a very special place in my bodybuilding heart.
     Gene wrote many articles for many years in Iron Man magazine throughout the late '80s and early '90s.  I read that magazine the most during those years—with MuscleMag International coming in a very close 2nd—and so it was only natural that he had an influence.  But there were other writers of that era who had just as many articles and even more published, so it wasn't simply his output, since others were more voluminous in their scribblings.  No, it was the fact that Mozee had a wealth of experience at his fingertips, and he didn't hold any of that knowledge back in the stuff he wrote.  He had trained with many of the greatest "golden era" bodybuilders of the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and so he had tons of tips and tricks up his sleeves that the other writers lacked.
     I always loved training chest during these aforementioned years, and it was Mozee's chest training advice that probably influenced me the most, although he also had great advice and sound tips for building huge arms and wide lats, as well.
     Once again, I think it was the knowledge that he attained from so many past champions that informed his chest training articles with their unique style.  Here is what Mozee had to say about his chest-training knowledge in his own words: "I have trained with many champion bodybuilders who had great pectoral development, such as Joe Baratta, Dominic Juliano, Don Howorth, Charlie Fautz, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger when he first came to the United States.  Not only did I learn from each of these champions, but we mostly agreed on the best way to work the chest.  In addition, I have trained thousands of individuals at my own gym and at the other gyms where I have worked during my 50-plus years in the iron game."
Structural Alteration of the Chest Muscles
     As with many other "old-time" bodybuilders, Mozee believe that the skeletal structure of the areas of the body surrounding the chest—in particular the rib cage—could actually be altered.  In the '80s and '90s, rib cage expansion was considered a "myth" by most bodybuilding writers, but Mozee always stuck to his guns.  I happen to agree with the old-timers—there is simply something different about the chest/rib cage structure of the Golden Age bodybuilder.
Arnold—and other "old-time" bodybuilders—seemed to have more "expansive" chests

     "The chest is unique among bodyparts in that it alone has the capability of undergoing a radical structural alteration," Mozee says.  "While it is true that bone growth just about ceases after the age of 21, the structure of the chest, with its cartilage and attachments, can continue to enlarge for many years.  The rib cage deepens, widens, and thickens when properly trained, giving the pectorals a larger framework to build on.  You can add layer after layer of massive muscle that would not be possible on a bodypart that has less skeletal development.
     "The bigger and stronger your pecs become, the greater their capacity to hold the inner-chest latticework firmly in position, thus establishing a continual growth pattern.  The inner and outer chest areas encourage each other to reach maximum development."
     Gene once gave the example of a training partner named Richard Kee as evidence for his argument: "Richard, when he first began training, weighed about 140 pounds and had a very flat, shallow chest.  After he gained 50 pounds of muscle, he still found that his chest was lagging behind the rest of his physique.  Kee decided to do 5 sets of stiff-arm pullovers before every workout, and he did this 6 days a week.  After a few years, he developed one of the most massive chests I have ever seen, with tremendous pecs.  He also bench pressed 550 lbs when the world record was less than 500.  His chest measurement at the time was 56 inches."
     All of Mozee's chest workouts took this structural alteration seriously.
The Beginner's Chest Program
     Gene believed the beginner needed about 6 months of steady, result-producing training before he was ready for any chest specialization.  However, he did believe the beginner should include the following exercises in their basic workout program:
Barbell Bench Presses.  "This great exercise thickens and adds mass to the pecs," Mozee said.  He believed in 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
Straight-arm Pullovers.  As part of a full-body workout program, he believed in alternating this exercise with squats in order to take advantage of the heavy breathing produced by the latter.  "The pullover stretches your rib cage and helps add shape to your torso by working the pecs, lats, serratus, and intercostals."
Elevated Pushups.  "This is an excellent exercise for the pecs, front delts, and triceps."  Mozee believed in using this to finish off the workout with 2 sets of as many reps as possible before hitting the shower.
     Here is the beginner program that Mozee recommended:
  • Bent-knee situps: 1x20
  • Barbell bench presses: 3x8-10
  • Barbell squats: 3x10 alternated with Straight-arm pullovers: 3x15
  • Lat machine pulldowns: 3x10
  • Upright rows: 3x8-10
  • Barbell curls: 3x8-10
  • Dumbbell triceps extensions: 3x10
  • Elevated pushups: 2x max reps
Intermediate Pec Pounding
  After 6 months of steady, result-producing training, Mozee recommended moving on to the following workout:
  • Dumbbell incline presses: 4 sets of 8 reps, resting about 90 seconds between sets.
  • Bent-arm flyes: 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 90 seconds between sets
  • Bent-arm pullovers: 3 sets of 10 reps, once again resting 90 seconds approximately between sets
Advanced, All-Out Chest Assault
     Here was Gene's favorite multi-angular chest assault for the advanced bodybuilder (he almost always recommended supersets for the advanced 'builders):
  • Bench Presses: 5x10,8,6,5, and 15
  • Incline flyes: 3x10, supersetted w/
  • Weighted parallel bar dips: 3x8-10
  • Pulley crossovers: 4x10, supersetted w/
  • Stiff-arm dumbbell pullovers: 4x15
Mozee's Special Training Tips!
     Gene Mozee had several tips that he shared with much of his chest training programs.  Here are several of them:
  • "Work all intermediate and advanced programs 3 times per week."
  • "On the advanced program, rest as long as you need between sets of bench presses because of the heavy poundages you should be using."
  • "Warm up by using a lighter weight on the first set of each exercise to prevent injuries."
  • "Keep a positive mental attitude and set sensible goals."
  • "Beginners should stay with the basic exercises for at least 6 months."
  • "Intermediate trainees can vary the program after 8 weeks, but stick to about 10 total sets."


  1. I really enjoy Gene Mozee's writing. In an Ironman from the '90's, there is an article of his that was a three day a week routine with one full body day and the other two days were a two-day split. I wish I had kept that article. Thanks for posting this article and please post more of Gene's work.

  2. Lee,

    I have almost every issue of IronMan from the early to mid '90s. I will see if I can find that one.

    I plan on posting more articles about the training of "classic bodybuilders", and I will certainly see what other good stuff I can find from Mozee.

  3. Sure, there are some genetic anomalies, but for 99.9% of the lifting population,


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