T Nation

Do You Have to Train Pecs?


#1

Odd question but looks/appearance aside, what “benefit” is there to having strong “chest” muscles? I have long arms and a slender torso, so most of my “pressing” exercises (overhead press, bench press, dips, etc…) feel like they primarily target front deltoids and triceps anyway.

Since I don’t feel like these movements really work my pecs at all, is there any value in focusing on pecs at all beyond just aesthetics?

Even for looks/appearance, from what I have read training chest muscles even seems to rather detrimental for proper posture! (Well, that whole “upper cross syndrome” thing that is!!)


#2

Nope, pecs are just for motor boating. They serve no other purpose.


#3

You should train in whatever way is conducive to achieving your own goals. This is something beginners often miss. There is no one way to train. You don’t HAVE to bench press. You certainly don’t have to do chest isolation exercises like flyes and stuff.

You should be asking yourself ‘what are my goals in the gym, and athletically?’

Once you have answered that question, this question follows: ‘does X exercise help me achieve that goal?’ This second question is one you can generally answer for yourself, and when you cannot, you can ask people on these forums.

You have not gone through this process, so it is difficult to help you directly. What I can tell you is that training your chest and performing pressing movements without also including adequate work for your upper back will result in posture problems. However, training your upper back hard as well should prevent this from being an issue. A lot of people will make sure that they include at least equal volume for all pulling movements as they do pressing/pushing movements. I think that’s a good rule of thumb.

As far as aesthetics in general are concerned, that’s highly in the eye of the beholder, so I can’t help much there. I don’t know what you look like, so I can’t pretend to advise you on whether or not you should be training your chest harder.


#4

I want to use the word insertions here, really badly :joy:


#5

where in Texas are you again? ;p


#6

I am in Central Texas, northwest of Austin, ya know, down here where all the Anglo Redneck bishes hang out. :joy:


#7

you’re probably just a couple hours from me then. I’m in Dallas.


#8

About 3.5- 4 hours from here. I used to live in Canton, so I am pretty familiar with the Dallas area.


#9

We have six basic movement patterns.Push,pull,squat,hinge(bend),twist,lunge and gait.If you want to get stronger you should get stronger with all these patterns in all directions.Working chest will help in pushing in a horizontal plane where delts help pushing in a vertical plane.The way you work them does not matter.


#10

that’s 7.


#11

I feel like this is a separate issue. If you don’t feel “chest” exercises in the chest, you need to make better exercise choices and/or use specific techniques. That could mean pre-exhausting the pecs, focusing on dumbbells instead of barbells, playing with angled work, etc.

Skipping chest work just because you don’t feel the chest working is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That said, plenty of guys got big and strong without a ton or chest work. Old school physical culturists mainly used floor press and push-up variations and flyes as their only “chest work”.

Plenty of Olympic lifters used to only train the two Olympic lifts (overhead work) and their direct variations. I’m also pretty sure standard issue CrossFit has minimal “chest work” outside of a shit-ton of dips. Those guys/gals get in solid shape.

Dips and incline presses are sometimes used as assistance for building overhead press strength. So even if wanted to prioritize shoulder pressing, you may benefits from some strategic “chest work”.

Going from one extreme (lots of chest work, minimal back work) to the other extreme (no chest work, plenty of back work) can be just as bad for posture. Harder to do, but possible. Muscle imbalance is muscle imbalance.


#12

I am bad at counting.Now I understand why that 250 bench felt light.


#13

SEE I was correct!


#14

Aren’t you proud of me? You should be :upside_down:


#15


#16

Okay! Guilty as charged.