T Nation

A Chest of Sh*t


Does anyone think doing 3 Pressing Exercises for Chest is too much, for the natty lifter? Im a tri/delt pusher with a sh*t chest, it has not corrected itself in 3 years. Ive tried widening grip, and doing slightly higher reps, although it just lead to minimal growth and strength plateau.

I decided to switch back to low reps for strength, to at least if nothing else increase the poundages. Although this surely doesn't get the chest to grow much. When i train for strength I usually do 2 Presses and a fly, although flys pump my chest up they seem to do nothing for hypertrophy.

So I was thinking of doing incline db press at high reps 12-15 for hypertrophy and really squeeze and even pause on the stretched position for growth. Maybe even rotate the hands to a hammer grip at the top for extra hard contraction. Only concern would be if 3 presses would be too much and actually hinder me from getting stronger. So the routine would look like.

Incline Bench - 3-5 reps - 135x8, 165x5, 195x5, 215x3, 240x3-5
Flat Bench - 3-5 reps - 135x5, 185x5, 225x3, 245x3, 275x3-5
Incline DB 12-15 reps- #x15, #x15, #x12

Does this sound like a good idea


Wouldn't expect much of a chest with the weights you are putting up, especially if you aren't already gifted in the chest department to start with. How have you progressed in chest exercise weights over the last year, what's your height and bw?

Try 2 days a week... One heavy, Flat, Close, Incline, or Flat, Incline and Floor Presses or Dips or whatever you like... Not too much volume per exercise, just do something that gets you stronger every training cycle by a good margin with some lighter weeks thrown in and set up properly for that goal (on the exercises, I mean).

Other day lighter, DB Presses for higher reps Flat and Incline or the other way around or just one, Hammer Strength chest stuff and/or flyes/Cable crossovers/pec deck... 10-15 reps or slow-ish negatives if you go with less reps... Don't overdo the weights, you could up them every 4 weeks or whatever, but do make sure they come up.

If you do it once a week only and it's a weak point, consider either doing dips or floor presses on whatever day you train triceps (if you don't do it on chest day) and/or seated high incline presses (full ROM or bottom half) /SHIPs for shoulders... And do a little more on chest day maybe, not just 3 exercises if you're ramping weights... Flat and Incline BB, then 2 moves that you feel hit your chest well and there you focus on that feeling.


Yea I do hit chest and everything else once a week. Although my chest is lacking greatly compared to everything else. I still want everything else (arms/back especially) to progress as well. Like I wouldnt want to just progress on chest and nothing else. Routine is:

Back/Rear Delts

I do CGBP and Weighted Tricep Dips for triceps. Theres no room for floor presses at my gym, also the bb inclines their are fixated to one angle at 45 degrees. Unless you use a dumbell bench, you cant adjust. Any other advice maybe for exercises I could do for triceps that would hit chest? And also like you said my chest poundages arent that high. I know my current routine would help get the weights up, so I wouldnt want to do too much extra chest work on the shoulder/arm day and hinder strength progress.


Well ive always done ramped weights since day one. First bulk I started off benching like 135x6 as a max. I did 12,10,8,6 and/or 8,8,8,8. Got my bench to 185x6. Second bulk I couldnt progress much and then tried doing 3-5 reps. 8,6,3,3. I did this with other lifts as well. My bench exploded from 185x6 to 260x3 in 3 months. Pretty much stalled there for 2 months until I cut. This bulk after a few months its only at 275x4 so it really has not progressed much at all. Maybe I need a new technique to explode in strength again? Or maybe this is just the last of noob gains wearing off and progress is naturally slowing down. This was over the course of almost 3 years.

Im 225lbs at 5'10, 15%BF


Yeah, once just going at it heavy and hard all the time doesn't allow for a decent rate of progression anymore, you have to start thinking about how to go from there...

If you have the time, send me an e-mail (check profile). I check my mails way more often than T-Nation. I'll give you some options for progressing on the bigger lifts in relation to however fast you feel you want to gain bodyweight...


If you're admittedly a delt/tri pusher, I think you'd be wasting your time focusing so much on pressing movements. I had a lot of issues with my own pecs, and taking a page from Ken Waller, I learned to make use of flyes and cables (in addition to learning to actually press with my pecs) and really target the area I needed to improve. In hindsight, I wasted a lot of years moving seriously decent weights and having my chest look like absolute crap compared to my delts and arms. I'm NOT saying you shouldn't try to improve your weights pressed, merely that while some people can develop great chests from benching alone, other can't.



Okay so what did you do to help fix your pecs? I mean ive incorperated cable flies high and low, db flat and incline and all I got from them was thickness in the top outer corners of pecs. My inner/upper and lower areas are lagging hard. What exact setup did you do?


Pics would help see where you are at development wise to see if your whole body is lagging and just need mass everywhere and if you need to really worry about those areas of your chest


Damn your back is getting ticker and ticker for every avatar man!


@CC, Please post here.. I'm sure intermediate programming is interesting to more people than just OP and myself. I sure could use some leads to read on the subject.



Thanks a lot. Been working hard on this gaining phase. Also getting a lot whiter. Damn winter.


I'd be more concerned with how you feel the movement working your pecs. with those rep ranges and your focus on movements/exercises and no mention of how each movement feels, I get the idea that you're just doing the movements without getting much actual pec stimulation.


You can take solarium if thats not to gay for ya` :wink:


Just keep trying different exercises and stay in the 8-12 range. I would bench press first and follow that up with a fly, pushup, and then DB floor press. I also see great results benching 5x5 @90% of my 5RM and then 5x10 @60%. You might also want to consider deloading for a while.


When you say 5x5 are you warming up to a top set and then hitting in for 5 sets of 5 reps? Same for the 5x10? i.e straight sets?

Ive only ever done ramped sets, is that a problem?


Just work up to 90% of your 5RM and then bang out 5x5. After you're done, drop down to 60% of your 5RM and hit 5x10. Take however much rest you need to for the 5x5 but try to keep the volume sets at or around 90 sec. The more time you spend under the bar, the more size you'll see. I do this with my leg work and people think I'm on steroids after 6 months of squatting.


How sore do you get after each workout? You hear so much about over training, but you might be undertraining a tad. By the time you get to doing say chest, YOur body has more than recuped and has begun to regress. So any gains you have gotten from that workout, might have been lost do to to much time taken before you hit it again. Try lowering the volume that your doing for total sets and increase the frequency of each bodypart trained.


A few tidbits I incorporated:

1-I stopped trying to move as much weight as I could. I know this will fly against what most people suggest, and to be honest, if you are more of a beginner, ignore this one and focus on improving your strength base a bit first. While I'm no powerlifter, I do fancy myself a bit of a strong fellow. However, putting up 4 plates per side for a few reps and looking like crap vs staying under 3 plates per side and looking impressive (in hindsight of course) is no contest in my mind.

2-I learned to keep my shoulder blades pinched together slightly, and keep my shoulders pulled back in order to keep the stress of presses more on my actual pectoral muscles.

3-I eliminated the lockout portions of most movements, instead focusing on actually applying the most stress to the muscles through the greatest range of motion without any actual rest periods within each set.

4-Reading up on Compensatory Acceleration Training, I understood the rationale for acceleration during the concentric portion of movements, and focused on this approach during each training session.

5-I made use of pre-exhaust work when it came to the order of my exercise selection. Essentially making the weights I would move lower, but the work my target muscles would receive greater.

6-Finally accepting that flye movements never gave me the magic results some people were holding their breaths for, I switched completely to cable work, which gave me much better continuous tension, as well as the ability to incorporate angled benches and really target specifically angled contractions.



Good post, and I really agree with point 1, I am not as "strong" as I used to be on certain movements, but I am growing bigger. The quality of the rep, form, TUT seem to be very important for muscle growth once you have built a solid strength base.


My chest was also my weak point, i used to do low volume 4-7 reps mostly. I started lowering the weight, using higher volume (15 to 22 sets), rep range around 10-12, focusing more on form and making each rep work the chest, if that rep felt "off', i quickly adjusted to make the chest feel it with the next rep. I stopped caring about pounds and instead focused on what that body part felt, and the tension. I experimented with different tempos (yes, i am one of those). Now my chest is shaping up really well, though I had a -40% to -50% drop in lbs that I used to press for chest before (depending on the tempo).

I prefer it this way. I have a questionable right shoulder. If I can keep the poundage from messing up my shoulder, and get bigger from it, then I am all for it.