T Nation

Eccentric Less Chest Exercise


Hey Thibs,

the title pretty much says it all. I'm looking for a good exercise for my chest.
I tried flys and presses but my delts seem to do most of the work. Is this primarily a technique issue and I should stop whining? Any exercises you recommend?



i'm not CT,

but eccentric less or not... i dont think any chest exercise can be qualified outside of being a press or a flye variation... maybe try to find a way to potentiate your chest muscles before hiting them, i belleive there r some exercises to do that...



You could try dips?
Make them eccentricless by starting in the lowered position, pushing up and then putting your feet down (not sure if that makes sense).


That is a good option. Another one is reverse band bench press (bands attached to the top of the rack), the do not remove the eccentric completely but drastically reduce it in the lower (more traumatic) position.

But the best option still remains sled chest press. Why doesn't everybody buy or make a sled?


I think the biggest problem for a lot of people is a place to use it.

I normally improvise a sled out of a TRX and a standing boxing bag base in my gym's studio. However, the studio (and most of the gym) is being renovated over the next three weeks so I can't use it. And living in London and not having a car means that I can't get an actual sled and use it in a park.

So even though I've got a solution that works most of the time, I can now see why some people might have a problem using a sled.

On the other hand, I imagine most people in America have access to a car and could simply drive to a park with a sled and some plates. That's what I'm planning to do once I move there.



I understand how hard it can be. Sadly, nothing beats the sled.


I agree. There are weeks when I get to use the sled 3-4 times, and there are periods of 2-3 weeks when I can't use it at all. I can definitely both see and feel the difference in progress.



CT is correct, sled presses would be the only concentric-only exercise to work your chest. The problem may be that you don't have a sled, that the climate where you live doesn't make sleds practical at this time of year or that sled work recruits "everything".

However your post doesn't mention that you have issues with eccentric work. You mainly state that your delts take over during most exercises that should target the pecs. My experience is that "bottom-up bench presses" done in a power rack (lockouts done with the rack set up at the lowest setting that enables you to sneak beneath the bar)has less eccentric activity.

Even though you have to lower the bar back to the rack the fact that you have the rack at the bottom seems to remove some of the "normal" intensity of the eccentric contraction. A wider grip always seems to reduce the involvement of the delts in any lying press.

If enhanced recruitement of the pecs is what you really seek, I recall an article by George Halbert in PLUSA where he was recommending that you pull the bar inwards during a bench press to better activate the pecs. Finally you may just want to dig up some Vince Gironda pec exercises...they usually do what they are supposed to do.


Thanks for all the replies!
I should have made myself more clear.I do have a sled, well something like it. I train in a gym under my old basketball gym. I just turn one of these things around http://i.ebayimg.com/23/!B(5VOS!BGk~$(KGrHgoOKjsEjlLmWUfiBKerRSdIow~~_35.JPG and use a towrope to pull. Since I'm the only one using the gym nobody cares.

I'll try some of the ideas here. Thanks again!


Easy solution for everyone who doesn't have a sled.

Go to a tire shop and ask if you can take two of their old tires from the trash (free- they don't care).
go to home depot or similar do-it-yourself store- buy three carabiners and several feet of chain, cable, or really cheap, rope, as well as a long bolt and nut, and an eyebolt and nut with washers. buy a short section of pvc pipe.(8-20 bucks approx)

Drill a hole into the tread of one tire, and insert eyebolt, drill another hole into the wall of both tires and insert long bolt holding the two tires together. Using carabineer attach chain, etc to eyebolt and have two equal lengths extending out. Cut pvc pipe into two "handles" approx 4-6 inches wide, run chain through and caribineer them together.

You now have a sled for less than 30 dollars, it's fairly light, but dragging on asphalt in the street is quieter than a metal sled, and has quite a bit of friction. If you need it heavier, slide a piece of plywood between the two tires and fill with rocks or weights whatever.

I made this to keep at home for my upperbody sled days, and on leg days I hook it to my weightbelt and walk around the block.


You could go in the woods and do rock throws. Imagine a 1-arm dumbell bench press.


If no sled, then I found trx-band push ups (or flyes) to be good. Restart every push up in the bottom position. It's quite simple.

If you're in a rut without a sled, there's plenty of suggestions on this board of what to do that are better than nothing. F.ex. squat down, one leg squat up. push-up down, one arm push-up up. trx band triceps extensions, trx-band curls, etc.

There are many ideas, that are better than nothing, but I thnk it's been stated many times that the sled/prowler is much more versatile, easy and so damn powerful compared to all the other "replacements".