T Nation

Dominant Shoulders In Bench

I have always noticed that when I’m benching no matter how hard I try and contract or focus my mind on my chest that my shoulders always have a hard contraction and pump in my shoulders. I recently watched Bob Cicherillo on the World Class Physique DVD and he said that if you feel more dominance in your shoulders during bench pressing that decline benching will take the shoulders out of the movement but at the same time can cause drooping/sagging pec muscles. What do you fellow animals think of the decline to exempt shoulders from bench pressing and have any of you had the problems with shoulders being more pumped than pecs on chest day?

If you’re just looking for a bigger chest, go for flies, cable cross, or pec-dec for that…or post-exhaust with one of them. If your numbers are going up and you aren’t in pain then you are fine. You should only change an exercise when your gains are slowing.

Well, you could do neutral grip dumbbell bench. That always feels less stressful on delts to me. Or you could pre-exhaust with db front raises. Another option is neck presses. (Do them in a smith machine if you have no spotter). They’re always an interesting experience at failure :slight_smile:

With netral grip db presses are you referring to what are also known as db hammer presses because those are in my program. What is that you are talking about with neck presses using the smith?

Try CT’s OVT for chest. It consists of 10 supersets. 5 incline bench and then 5 flat bench. First on the incline you do 5 reps as heavy as you can go on the incline barbell with the bench at 45 degrees and then 5 reps of dumbebell press with the bench lowered to 35 degrees with a moderately heavy weight that you can get 5 slow and very controlled reps from. Repeat 5 times. Then go to flat bench. Again do 5 reps as heavy as you can go on the barbell and then do 5 dumbbll flyes with a fairly light weight with a slow and controlled tempo. Go as low as you can on the bottom and only come up to where your arms are straight up in the air. CT has a diagram of this in his article “Bulk Up, Cut Up - Chest and Tri’s”. I will usually also do some of the flyes by lowering my arms down by my hips kinda of like an arrow head, like you would do cable flyes pulling from the bottom underhanded. This really hits the lower outer portion of my chest. Repeat 5 times. There is no rest time between the barbell and dumbbell portion of each superset.

I am extremely tricep dominant when I bench due to previous shoulder injuries and was not able to get my chest to grow at all. I have been doing this for 6 weeks with excellent results.

The purpose of the supersets is to fatique the shoulders and triceps with the heavy barbell and then finish off the unactivated chest fibers with the dumbbells. The routine is a killer. I was very sore the first couple of weeks after doing this.

Also, sense you are trying to fatique the stronger muscles, expect your weights to decrease as the sets progress.

Good luck and you can PM me if you have any questions about the routine.

read a tip here that seems to allow me to recruit what I want. WIthout moving the hands, attempt to squeeze them together as if you were trying to make the barbell an accordian. To switch to triceps, attempt to stretch the bar. I never liked to pre fatigue, but a few light sets of some isolation may tune up the band. How is the range of motion in your chest?

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
read a tip here that seems to allow me to recruit what I want. WIthout moving the hands, attempt to squeeze them together as if you were trying to make the barbell an accordian. To switch to triceps, attempt to stretch the bar. I never liked to pre fatigue, but a few light sets of some isolation may tune up the band. How is the range of motion in your chest? [/quote]

I have great range of motion in every area. I pride myself on using basically 99% strict form and a few cheat reps when needed. Whether I’m BB benching or DB benching I could probably make my elbows touch if I wanted to.

Also for the rest who have given me tips; out of my years of experience I have found what works for me but chest has always been the second most lagging area. For the past year all I have used mainly is DB work for my chest (incline db presses, incline db flyes, flat db flyes, flat db presses, and decline bb presses).

Overcoming this problem is a major goal for me because of being in competitions year round and hoping to become pro sometime before I hit 30. More advice is welcome and thanks to the people who have helped me so far.

[quote]IndigoRacer wrote:
With netral grip db presses are you referring to what are also known as db hammer presses because those are in my program. What is that you are talking about with neck presses using the smith?[/quote]

Guillotine Press/Neck press. Too many names for the same exercise. Keep feet on floor unlike this guy lol.
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/PectoralSternal/BBGuillotineBenchPress.html

Hammer grip press is the same as neutral grip. Just another name for it.

You should look up some of Thib’s articles he has some good exercises to hit your chest. And as for the decline that is obvious, your doing a wide grip dip for the most part when you do a decline bench press…

The fact of the matter is, like Thib has said, your body will do an exercise the best way it structurally can. And if your body want to use more shoulders and tri’s than it will… In a situation such as yours I would say dumbell benching would be much better for chest development because it is not restrictive at all and you can put the dumbells in the plane that your chest can push in…

Try to squeeze the bar at the eccentric position, like you want to move your hands closer together (without actually doing it of course). That would put extra stress on the pecs.

[quote]IndigoRacer wrote:
…decline benching will take the shoulders out of the movement but at the same time can cause drooping/sagging pec muscles.[/quote]

Can you explain what a sagging muscle is?

[quote]texass wrote:
IndigoRacer wrote:
…decline benching will take the shoulders out of the movement but at the same time can cause drooping/sagging pec muscles.

Can you explain what a sagging muscle is? [/quote]

With a fair amount of of inclines you can build a shelf like chest and with declines many of the pro’s and fellow bodybuilders I workout with saay the an overabundance of decline work can cause your pec muscles to basically hang lower than normal and make it look like even if your cut you have a droopy chest.

[quote]IndigoRacer wrote:
texass wrote:
IndigoRacer wrote:
…decline benching will take the shoulders out of the movement but at the same time can cause drooping/sagging pec muscles.

Can you explain what a sagging muscle is?

With a fair amount of of inclines you can build a shelf like chest and with declines many of the pro’s and fellow bodybuilders I workout with saay the an overabundance of decline work can cause your pec muscles to basically hang lower than normal and make it look like even if your cut you have a droopy chest.[/quote]

The basic thinking in bodybuilding is that the lower chest is built much more easily than the upper portion. Even exercises such as flat dumbell and flat barbell press which would seem pretty neutral as far as which part of the chest they target are though to build almost exclusively the lower portion of the chest.

[quote]texass wrote:
Can you explain what a sagging muscle is? [/quote]

If you look at the powerful image of Stan to your left on this page you can clearly see the minor and major pectoralis muscles. It appears that he has that “drooping” effect there, where the lower pecs protrude though it’s only because his upper pecs are stretched back because of the pose. Overdeveloping the lower pecs with declines and dips can make you look like this all the time until it’s corrected.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
texass wrote:
Can you explain what a sagging muscle is?

If you look at the powerful image of Stan to your left on this page you can clearly see the minor and major pectoralis muscles. It appears that he has that “drooping” effect there, where the lower pecs protrude though it’s only because his upper pecs are stretched back because of the pose. Overdeveloping the lower pecs with declines and dips can make you look like this all the time until it’s corrected.[/quote]

Good that they put up the picture and you proved my point!

[quote]IndigoRacer wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:
texass wrote:
Can you explain what a sagging muscle is?

If you look at the powerful image of Stan to your left on this page you can clearly see the minor and major pectoralis muscles.

It appears that he has that “drooping” effect there, where the lower pecs protrude though it’s only because his upper pecs are stretched back because of the pose. Overdeveloping the lower pecs with declines and dips can make you look like this all the time until it’s corrected.

Good that they put up the picture and you proved my point!
[/quote]

Wow, you can see Stan’s pectoralis minor? Thats great thanks for pointing that out. Can you also point me in the direction of the store where you purchased your X-Ray goggles, because the pec minor is BENEATH the pec major.

It is the seperation between the upper or clavicular portion of the Pec Major and the attachment at the sternum and along the ribs you are talking about. Basic anatomy.

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Wow, you can see Stan’s pectoralis minor? Thats great thanks for pointing that out. Can you also point me in the direction of the store where you purchased your X-Ray goggles, because the pec minor is BENEATH the pec major.

It is the seperation between the upper or clavicular portion of the Pec Major and the attachment at the sternum and along the ribs you are talking about. Basic anatomy.[/quote]

You are correct. It was early, I misspoke, but the point remains.

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Yea I know, it didnt make sense because the rest of what you said was right on, my bad…

Alot of people have trouble isolating the chest in certain exercises, but if the only exercise that you feel chest in over anything else is a specific angle of incline cable flyes, you need to work on your concentration and mind muscle connection a little more, because you should be able to isolate your chest pretty well with dumbell movements…