T Nation

Chest Development


#1

So Im currently working to step on stage for my first ever bodybuilding competition. Im 6 feet tall and 215 lbs.

Iv got a pretty solid bulk diet and workout regiment set up. However, i do have a problem...and that problem is..

my chest.

I dont feel any of the exercises that I do. My front deltoid and tricep is what gets worked the most.

My workout consists of flat bench, incline bench, incline dumbells, and incline flies.

What could i be doing wrong? Can i get some tips on building a great chest and how to maximize my chest days.

Ill be posting a picture of my chest to further explain what i mean.


#2

If you have longer arms, its highly likely the brunt of your work is being done by your shoulders and triceps in pressing. Many folks have also stated, presses are largely a shoulder and tricep exercise. If you want to stick with pressing solely, try pulling your shoulders down and back, more of a powerlifting bench, and that will help to hit the chest more.

Also, don’t do any locking out on your benching. Stay in constant tension. Your weight will go down, but you’re trying to build muscle, not strength.

Start your chest workout with Hex Presses. This is as simple as taking two dumbells, placing them against each other as you hold them, and pressing them on a flat bench. It will help to fire your chest for later.

If you are willing to do other exercises, flyes are better for long armed guys for focusing on the chest. I also very much like dips personally, but you need to thoroughly warm up your shoulders first. I usually do them after decline bench.

Push-ups never hurt either. Go for volume on these if you decide to do them.

Last, if you increase poundages that’s the surest way to add mass to anything. So even if your bench hits your shoulders and triceps a lot, your chest still gets work.


#3

You should probs start your workout with Isolation movements that involve the chest more. So start your chest workout with more decline isolation exercises like decline db flies, decline squeeze DB press and High Cable flies (Aiming to the floor and squeezing the chest at the peak contraction for 2 seconds) is another good one I like.

Once you have established a good chest pump then it will be much easier to have a mind muscle connection with the pecs so once you go back to flat compound benching and such you should feel the chest a lot more. Hope this helps & good luck!


#4

had the same problem. I use a lot of decline movements now


#5

I have a shitty chest, last 6 months I’ve brought it up a lot though (I have a thread in the BSL forum if you’d like to see progress).

I’ve done so with 2 chest days a week. One day is focused on numbers, one is focused on purely the pump. I go in with the mentality on ‘power’ days to make heavy weight feel light, and on ‘pump’ days make light weight feel heavy. For awhile I was hitting chest 3x a to help bring it up.

My favorite lifts are:

Decline Bench Press
Incline DB Press
Floor Press

Pec Deck (set handles/pads low, around nipple level)
Wide Grip Incline BB (Staying in the middle 1/3 ROM, constant tension)
Single Arm HS Pressing

First set is what I use to go heavy, the last 3 I use extremely light weight and emphasize the stretch, contraction, etc.

Just some ideas for you.


#6

What worked for me is, keeping a small arch in my back with all my presses for chest.
Going before lockout kept Alot of tension on my pecs as well.
Twice a week brought for 8 months brought up my chest drastically.
A wouldn’t focus so much on flyes as they’re good warmups and finishers.
A typical workout would be:

Very light high-rep pec deck flyes for 4 sets of 20-25
Incline bench 2 warmups sets 3 working sets 12-10
Hammer strength incline 4 sets 15-10
Flat db presses 4 sets of 12-10
Dips (optional) 4 sets to complete failure.
Cable crossovers 3 sets 15

Feel your muscles work, chest to me is the easiest to stress.
Just keep hitting it hard and feeding them good food.
Don’t give it up!


#7

in addition to thinking about changing some exercises (incline bench is notorious for shoulders instead of chest for long limbed people), try doing 2 things before every single pressing movement:

the D Roy raise, and a plate squeeze (sometimes called a squeeze press). both of these exercises are best done at a very light weight and in a very controlled tempo. They are meant as activation exercises, not builders per se. I don’t thnk you have a probldm unless you can’t feel either of these in your chest…THEN you have a problem.


#8

Decline movements work the entire chest (top, middle and bottom) stay away from machines they only make the pros look massive during photo shoots. Only use cable exercises if you know exactly what you are doing and I usually use them as a warm up or for a finisher if I feel like my pumps still not completely there.

My favorite routine is Incline dumbbell press 4x12 heavy usually with 100 to 105 pound DB’s then move to flat bench 4x10 with 225lbs nice and slow like the guy mentioned above do not lock out keep that constant tension on your chest, then move to DB decline bench 3x10 and by this point I am really feeling it so I use a moderate weight about 75lbs DB’s then I hit DB decline fly’s 3x10 with 40lbs DB’s and finish off with either dips to failure or high cable crossovers.

Also, I change my routine every four weeks hitting completely different exercises, who cares if I don’t hit flat bench for another 4 weeks this keeps my body guessing at all times. Every now and again I will go in the gym for one week and pick my favorite exercise for that muscle group I am working that day and do 10 sets of 10 on that one exercise only and call it a day for that muscle group and then hit cardio.

Man the main thing you need to do is add spice to your workouts otherwise your gonna get bored as hell doing the same shit over and over. Hit your muscles with different angles and keep your body guessing. you are not powerlifting you are bodybuilding and there is no reason to do the same damn routine for 3 or 4 months straight. try changing it up every 3 to 4 weeks you can keep the core chest exercise if you want i.e. flat bench press ( it’s everyone’s favorite) and hard to mentally get away from; but for God sakes man the rest of your routine needs to change every few weeks.

try it out let me know what you think.


#9

alright, ill give all these a go! thanks guys. il post a photo of what my chest looks like for further critique!


#10

Maybe im going too old school or against the grain here, but how much are you benching? Flat/Incline?

I can understand the suggestions of all these extra and ‘advanced’ type things if you are trying to bring it up to par or take it to the next level, just make sure you are not building a third story addition to a house with a faulty foundation.

Give Dan John’s one lift a day for a few months, then see if your chest is still lagging. Just my two cents.


#11

I would focus on some decline movements… go lighter, control the weight and keep constant tension throughout the whole set…

What a lot of people do is go too heavy, if your shoulder/arms/trap dominant this can be a killer for the chest as the others body parts just take over…

Try some decline barbell and maybe some single arm hammer press, if you find it hard to stimulate the chest i would go as slow as you can with full control. i sometimes even close my eyes, focus on the muscle and try and disengage the delts etc to try and get maximum tension on the chest.


#12

cable crossovers bottom up and then top down.

then bench heavy.

works great for me.


#13

Look up activation exercises for your sternal head such as a squeeze press and learn how to activate your clavicle head. After learning how to activate, learn how to integrate that activation into “isolation exercises” and from there into compound exercises… Can’t build what you can’t feel. A mind muscle connection is important…

Also I’m not sure if this was said or not but think about moving the weight not with your arms but rather your elbows or humerus. And if you need to flare on certain chest movements flare. Learn how your body likes to move… I could go on but Nah. Hope I helped and didn’t repeat anything said above. Good luck