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Help with Lagging Chest


I seriously need help with my chest. Ever since I've started working out, it has been the hardest muscle to develop for me. My back is extremely strong and wide, as are my shoulders.

With a shirt on I give the appearance of having a huge chest because of this, but when my shirt comes off my pecs appear very small and my upper body width comes solely from my shoulders and lats.

My bench is extremely weak. I can row 50 more pounds (I rep out 225 on the bent over row) than I bench for the same number of reps, and can do the seated military press for 170 for reps. I weigh 205 pounds and struggle with that weight on the flat bench.

What is interesting is that my incline barbell bench is nearly as strong as my flat. I am also somewhat strong on dumbells...I repped out the 90's on flat about three months ago when I was flat benching 185, and currently rep out the 80's on incline for my tenth and eleventh sets into my chest workout.

Maybe the flat bench isn't a good exercise for me and the fact that I keep doing it has hindered my progress?

PS: the diet and everything is in check, my only problem is chest.


My chest is also the hardest muscle group for me to develop. It took me a couple years to find out what exercises worked for me and which ones did not, and I'm finally on the right track.

There's no easy answer to your question. You're best bet is to give 4 or 5 new, different exercises a shot for several weeks and evaluate how each one is working. Keep a log. Track progress. Figure out what works for you.

Try incorporating drop sets into your chest workouts.
Try incorporating a giant set or a couple different super sets.

I discovered that pre-fatiguing my chest immediately prior to a work set has forced my chest to grow the best it ever has. I superset 5-6 cable crossover reps w/ a 3 Mississippi static hold @ the bottom w/ a normal work set of incline DB press. Then i do the same thing with a set of HS flat press.

BTW, moving 80 & 90 DBs for reps doesn't make you 'somewhat strong.' That may seem 'somewhat strong' in comparison to the other bozos at your gym, but you have a good bit to go before you can honestly say you're somewhat strong.

Good luck


Hey man, I have pretty good chest development, so I'll share with you what worked for me.

Do regular pyramid sets of 12-10-8-6 and then a pump superset of 12-12(sometimes reverse pyramids to change it up and stimulate growth.)

Start with lighter weight and gradually add up to what you think you can do for 6 hardcore, nearly failing reps.

Then with the pump superset, do light weight for 12 reps on the bench again, then do some flyes at a light weight IMMEDIATELY AFTER for 12 reps. This should pump your pecs pretty well.

I usually do 3 to 4 workouts for chest in a routine. Heres an example of my routine for chest:

Bench press(Pyramid and pump-set with Dumbbell flyes at the end)
Incline bench(Pyramid and pump-set with Dumbbell press)
Pec-Deck Flyes(Pyramid and pump-set with Dumbbell flyes/Press)

That should help you out a bit man.

Also remember to eat 1.5g of protein per body weight.

And remember man, if you're natural, muscle grows slow! An inch takes some guys 3 to 6 months on one bodypart! And changing up your chest routine now and then helps stimulate growth.

Keep pushing man and you will have success.

hope i helped



Get stronger.


Your post is a clusterfuck tbh.

  1. you are unable to BENCH 170 which you can shoulder press for reps?
  2. you rep out with 180 pounds on DBs while you strggle with the barbell?
  3. you rep out the 80's on an INCLINE on your 11th set?????
  4. you then mention that you were flat benching 185....when? you just said you struggled with 170

you're either smoking something new and not easily available in these parts ORRRR there is a serious form/depth difefrence in your execution of these different movements.

if we could get a clearer post, you nay get some good advice. Big Aristotle's post is still valid.


Tribunal, the last sentence of the third paragraph indicates that I weigh 205 and struggle with working sets at that weight. Sorry if that wasn't clear at first.

The second and third responses offered some good ideas for my chest, ie the pump set and choosing different exercises to work with. Thanks

As for the response which said to get stronger...I agree, but my chest progresses the most slowly...when I first started lifting a year and half ago I could barely bench the 45 pound bar. Adding weight while working in strength friendly rep ranges (3-5 reps) doesn't usually work.


ok, some comments.

if your BB bench is just a tad more than what you can do with DBs, depth remaining the same you likely have weak triceps holding you back.
Also you seem very shoulder dominant on the bench if your bench, incline and shoulder press are about the same. The good news is your shoulders can't be too terirble if you can rep out with a plate and a half on the shoulder press.

Are you gaining weight? caloric surplus? weighing 205 means nothign if you're not gaining weight to let yourself get stronger....

finally, yes, you have two option. Change your execution on BB bench or choose difefrent movements. Keep doing the DB bench but try to go a bit wider than usual and maintain a "slight" arch (actually puff your chest out at the bottom). Also experiement with lower rep ranges on this movement...try to move up to the 100'sin this movement and beyond.
MOST people on the planet should be able to move to using the 120's for reps at some point in heir training so you have room to grow.
How do you rate on weighted dips? Done properly these rip the chest apart.
Since youre not a complete beginner use the HS inclinem HS flat, HS wide machines as well and focus on progrssive overload.
In general, shoot to hit at least 3 plates a side for reps on the HS incline (though most people work to 4 plates a side ina couple of years or so of serious work) and ensure the handle starts off from he mid chest region or so (or where you find is ideal for YOUR chest)
Finally the cable crossover is your friend for post fatiguing your chest provided you train your most musculars on this and don;t just do some half baked shoulder press like most idiots use this for,

EDIT: how can ANY male struggle to bench the bar when starting out? Do you mean 135?