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Advice On Building Chest Strength


Ok, so for the past 6months+ I've been stuck at repping 185lbs on flat and incline. So in Aug I decided to do some strength training. For about four weeks I was doing a workout of 4sets with 6,6,4,2 rep scheme. I had gotten up to 235lbs on the last two reps. Then because school started kicking my ass I decided to do the 5x5 program till my schedule got back in order which lasted about two weeks. I didn't see any real gains using the 5x5.

In all it was about 6-7wks of strength training.

So yesterday I hit the gym with the plan to go back to volume training to gain size again.

I go to the incline bench and think 205 will be fine to start off with. I pick it up and can barely squeeze out 6reps. I'm pissed at this point. I take off the weight put 185lb on there and can barely squeeze out 7reps. At this point I was beyond pissed and a bit discouraged. I did another two sets, both barely getting 7reps with 185 and leave the gym, sad and angry.

I seriously don't understand wtf happened. 3wks ago I was getting 215 up 6-8 times per set. I don't know if maybe the 5x5 screwed me over or if I just need to take a rest and start back Monday.

If I didn't genetically have a large chest, my body would be severely disproportioned. I look like I've got the chest of someone who can throw up serious weight, but alas I can't.

My 1RM on DL's is 355
My 1RM on Squats is 300lbs(I've got a bad back. bulging disks and such)

So by those numbers I would think I'd be able to push around some decent weight on chest, but no!

What I want to know is what can I do to get some serious strength gains on chest and keep them!!

I was thinking about doing something like this for the next 3-4wks on chest days

Incline BB Press: 8sets 2-3reps
Flat BB Press: 8sets 2-3reps

and maybe some flys or something.

I NEED to improve my strength on bench. It's where I am the weakest and I'm not going to be able to get my chest any bigger by pushing around 185 for the rest of my life. I want to be able to at least rep 225 6-8 times without a spot.



What are you doing for your back and shoulders? That may be what's holding you back.


Everybody has a bad day...just go back and lift hard again. Maybe try some different exercises besides the incline for awhile and see if that boosts it


Well I did do Back the day before. For it I did T-bars, Bent over BB Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Facepulls, Back Extensions, and capped it off with high rep DB Shrugs.

But as for what exercises I do for back and shoulders(not all on same day)

Bentover BB Rows
DB Rows
Lat Pulldowns
Low Cable Row
Machine Row
Cable Pulldowns
DB or BB Shrugs

Standing Pushpress
Seated DB Press
Military Press
Front Raises
Lateral Raises
Neutral Grip Press
Arnold Press
Seated Side Laterals

You name it I've done it. And just as a reminder I don't do all of those in one workout. I mix them up from workout to workout, but usually have about 2 exercises that I do constantly every workout.

My back and shoulders are strong, so I don't think that's the problem.

My chest has always been weak compared to the rest of my body. I also have very low muscle endurance in my chest.

I just need a program that will boost my strength so I can be repping at least 225lbs consistently from 6-8reps.

I know that everyone has a bad day...but I just haven't seem to be able to get my chest stronger for some time. While I've made size/strength gains in every other area over the past two years, my chest has only seen half of the size gain(But naturally I have a large chest) and VERY SMALL strength gains.

So would a high set/low rep scheme for about 3wks put me where I want?

Like 8sets/2-3reps?

I'm not a noob, but I'm not advanced...so I guess i'm intermediate. My heaviest I was at 195lbs 12%bf but went on a cut and now I'm at 185lbs 9%bf. I want to get back into my bulk but I very much doubt I will see the size gains in my chest that I want if I keep continuing only pushing around 185. Can't get bigger if you don't lift heavier.

HELP!!! =D


I am 23 years old and have much the same problem as you i have a huge chest which i work on so as not to look like man boobs but it is hardly cut, just naturally big i think it has to do with my rib cage or something. People always say that I must bench like a ton, i just laugh it off b/c i can barely get 185 for reps and i have tried everything to make them stronger. I can DB press 80lbs for three sets of 12 and i can also do incline with 70lb dumbells for sets, i read somewhere on here a while ago that if you go heavy with dumbells the bench will come....still waiting... still!

my old man says that my triceps must be weak as hell, which they are. I try to hit em up e/o/d. Anyone with any suggestions to Sir or I would be greatly appreciated.

Currently i am using the destroying fat program b/c i weigh 190 at 5'8. Any suggestions that i could throw in with that program would be helpful..
thanks all


Heh, now that I think about it...my triceps are a bit small when compared to my biceps. I've heard that 2/3 of your arm should come from your triceps, but I don't think mine come that close. I've been trying to work on that too. I can closegrip bench press 185 for 3 sets at 8reps. So I don't know if they are necessarily weak, but they are small compared to my biceps.

My chest is solid...it's just weak..=/


maybe do less exercises during a workout but go balls to the wall on them. like 4 per session.

i may have read it wrong and you might be doing that already


Continue working out your back the way you are. Maybe lay off some of the vertical pressing so you aren't doing more than 2 pressing exercises in a workout and you aren't doing more than 2 days of pressing (vertical or horizontal).

Start doing the floor press in place of the bench press and start doing close-grip-incline-bench-press instead of incline-bench press. Just add 2.5lb chips each workout or each week.

But if you really want to make your bench numbers move then maybe it's time you started using some Westside methods.


That's basically what I do already. I think I'm just going to hit the gym one last time Friday, take Sat and Sunday off and hit chest again Tuesday...possibly doing only about 3 exercises with 8 sets, low reps, and heavy weight for the next 3wks.

Also, this ad with Arnold to the side is very inspiring and depressing, lol.


wtf is a "floor press" and if I'm going to do close-grip-incline, should I drop the close-grip-flat bench I already do?

I'll have to google Westside methods later tonight.


A floor press is where you use the floor instead of a bench.


I'm no expert, but if your biceps are bigger than your triceps, I'd say you're definitely spending way to much time on your biceps (just like every. single. guy in my gym). What has always worked for me is doing more close grip bench presses and BARBELL military presses, I stay away from the machines.

This happened to me one time also:
I was so wrapped up in kickin up the weight on my bench that my form would suffer. I would jack the weight up week after week, and I was using less and less chest and more and more shoulder's and triceps. I was lifting almost every set to failure with agonizingly slow reps, trying to get more than the last workout and finally it was as if my bench press just "broke" in a way, lost all kinds of kilos, it was very demotivating and I felt stupid and had wasted a lot of time, all for ego basically.

Like I said, no expert here, but this is how I fixed it: I dropped the weight to where I could do good form, bringing the bar to my chest, stopping 1 second and PUSHING explosively. This way I made sure the form was correct every time before moving on. The bar should move fluidly, not slow and agonizing, before you advance. I also did 3-6 reps ie:8x3, 6x4, 5x5, 4x6, and when I could do 4x6 with PERFECT form, pausing for that all important second on the chest, I knew that the next time I would put another 2 1/2 kilos on and do 8x3. It might seem to slow to advance, it certainly did for me at the time, but it pays off in the end. This style of training coupled with more close-grip bench and BARBELL military press work did the trick for me.

I've regained, plus much more now, and I have good form. I know I could bench a lot more with the form of all my fellow gym-mates, but I'm not there to out-do anybody (even though I do with good form anyway). The bench I think is a very slow exercise to make solid gains on, so just take it slow, but steady and you'll have more success in the long run.



You sound like me. I have a HUGE chest (sittin' in front of pathetic delts). People think I can throw up 350 easy. Not even close. I'm still tryin' to find what's gonna work for me, but right now I'm just stickin with my technique and poundin' my upper back and delts hard with accessories.

I don't know how it's goin' so far because I just got back from a lay off since my dad got locked up. I have big hopes. Good luck tho, keep me posted with some PMs or somethin' to kinda compare notes.


When I first started working out back in high school...so....6yrs ago...I did do a lot of chest/biceps but since I've been in college and especially since I've been working out seriously for the past 1.5yrs I've definitely strayed away from that.

I think I'm going to do what you did with the 8x3 5x5 4x6 deal. I don't mind if it take a while just as long as I get there.


I also, when I first started, actually had a day for biceps and triceps. I would actually do 9 - 12 sets for my biceps, following what I had read from a few websites. Now I just tie my biceps in with my back workout. I really only do 1 or maybe 2 sets tops at the end for biceps and I find I still do well. I wouldn't be surprised to still make gains not working biceps at all!

Today, and I swear I am not shitting you, when I arrived to the gym there was a guy training biceps- bb curls, db curls, incline db curls, cable curls, lying cable curls, preacher db curls, (no shit) preacher cable curls, back to db curls, and when I left he was doing sort of swinging db curls.

I wanted to tell him he'd probably build more muscle saving his money and going to jack off, but the last time I told somebody they were doin to much biceps, they told me "That's not what Arnold did!" Now I don't give a shit, everyone can go fuck themselves.

Anyway, had to get that off my chest, but good luck with yours (chest) bro!