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How to Improve Mind-Muscle Connection in Pecs?

Hey T-Nation,
I´ve started working out on the regular and i think i have a strong muscle-mind connection, i can feel almost every muscle im working out, except my pectoralis major? i can flex my pecs individually, but when i bench or do pushups or so, i cant feel the same squeeze as when im doing other exercises. Tips to get a good squeeze in the pecs?

I’ve never felt it much in a flat bench, due to stronger shoulders. Cable flies, dips, and neutral grip DB incline bench do it for me.

Concentrate on bringing your upper arms together rather than pushing the weight up.

I know what you mean. . I experience the same, but once I started doing cable flies, I began to feel that connection more…

When I do push ups no matter where my hands are placed, I always imagine pushing my hands towards each other when going in the down position… This allows me to really feel it in my chest and even when I push back up I maintain that resistance.

Try that out. It helps me when doing those.

As far as bench, I don’t have too much experience at the moment with this, but maybe do a slightly wider grip… Somewhere between a wide/neutral… Just an idea.

Like the gentleman above stated, focus on arms together… During bench make sure your elbows are flaring more inward than outwards… That will engage and place more stress on your pecs than shoulders.

The way I developed a strong mind muscle connection with my chest was by doing Pec deck, lying dumbbell flies, and seated cable flies. Focus on a deep and full stretch so the pecs open up wide. I even close my eyes and just feel my chest do the work, relax shoulders and focus solely on pecs.

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I would also add DB presses as you have more range of motion…

It seems that most people when talking about bench press, don’t feel it in their chest much. That does not mean it is not working your chest though.

But for barbell bench, there are small tweaks in which will help take the load off of your shoulders and place it more on your chest to do the work.

For me, until I can build enough strength to feel comfortable with DB presses, I use the machine press at a fairly wide grip and then I’ll hop over and do some cable work for my pecs.

When I had a bench option, I used to go slightly wider than neutral grip, but not too wide. That helped me feel more chest. When I first started on the bench I used to feel it more in my delts and triceps which would fatigue me too quickly as I went through my sets.

Can’t wait to change gyms and get back to it! For now I work with what’s there and make the best of it.

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Some people don’t get good pec work from flat bench, and especially push-ups because they are/should be pretty easy for most lifters, so the simplest solution could be to choose more effective exercises. DB benching on a low incline and/or slight decline, and dips, may be better options.

D Roy raises, 2x6-10, as an activation exercise before any other chest exercises. It’s activation, not pre-exhaust, so you don’t need to kill yourself on them. Each rep should get a good contraction so your brain says “Oh, that’s a pec contraction!”

The Svend press, sometimes called a plate press, is another activation exercise some people use instead:

Also check your form, load, and rep speed on every chest exercise you do. Going too sloppy, too heavy, and/or too fast are easy ways to avoid targeting the intended bodypart.

try every chest exercise you can think of until you find one you really feel in your chest, then get stronger at it in the 8-12 rep range. Doesn’t matter if it’s barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, smith machine or whatever. Start you chest sessions with that exercise every time.

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