T Nation

Isolate Pecs from Triceps


#1

I'm relatively new to bodybuilding, and I'm pretty weak all around, but I'm looking for advice about lifts that will focus on my pecs. What I've noticed is that when I do things like pushups, barbell benches, dumbell benches, etc., my triceps get fatigued and are nice and sore the next day, but my pecs feel like they didn't get a workout. In other words, I seem unbalanced with the limitation of my weak triceps seemingly preventing me from hitting my pecs. Does this make any sense?

So, I know I need to keep hitting the tris, and I have plenty of ideas for that, but in the meantime are there exercises I can do that will really hit the pecs?

Also, to prevent all the replies that are going to say this ... I am doing lots of whole-body compound work to try to improve everything (squats, deads, pullups, dips, etc.) - so I am well aware that my whole body needs some serious work - but it seems like I can really hit every muscle group really well except my pecs, and it's not because they are so strong but just because my triceps are so bad.


#2

It could have something to do with how you are built. Your tris will have to be strong enough to support the load it takes to work your chest. If they are not able to keep up then you need to give them some extra attention. Dips will be beneficial. As far as exercises to isolate, I've had success with the floor press. (BB Bench lying on the floor)


#3

Sounds like your triceps are still too weak and are the limiting factor during pressing chest work. Just keep working, throw in some pec deck work and cable flies to keep yourself happy for now.


#4

Well pushups, barbell benches are basically tricep ex's. Depending on your form, elbows in or flared.

Elbows in will hit your triceps better, flared will hit your chest more, but will put more strain on your shoulders.

DB Bench should be able to put more emphasis on your chest, at least for me.

I've heard that the bottom part of the rep(between you chest and the sticking point is mostly chest muscle being recruited).

You could always try doing a cadence when you are bench pressing and see if that hits your pecs better.


#5

any type of fly movement will isolate the pecs. there are plenty of variations- pec dec machine, cable flys and dumbell flys. IMHO, flys are the best overall pec developers that you can do.


#6

Is there any way you could post a video of you benching so we can look at your form?

It could be that you are a limb dominant presser, or that your form is simply off and that is why you feel it in your triceps more.

When you bench, are you squeezing your shoulder blades (back) together (like you're trying to crush a pencil between them) throughout the entire movement (no shoulders coming off the bench or rounding them forward at the top)? Do you have a good tight supported arch? Are you bringing the bar all the way down to touch your chest and not pressing all the way up to lockout (you may even want to only do the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the movement)?

If that doesn't sound like your bench form, you need to work on it. If it does and you still don't feel your chest working you could try:

-pre-exhaust- do any one of the isolation movements that marauder or others have mentioned immediately before doing your bench pressing. This won't allow you to lift as much, but should allow you to feel your chest working more.

-1 & 1/2's- basically you'll take the bar all the way down to your chest, push up 1/2 way, back down to your chest, push up all the way (still don't lock out though). That's 1 rep. Continue until you reach failure (or if you don't have a spotter or power rack continue until you know you couldn't get another rep).

-DB or cable bench variations- as twoscoops mentioned, these will allow for a freer range of motion and will allow you to focus on bringing the hands together at the top and apart at the bottom (sort of like a hybrid bench/fly movement I've also seen them called bent arm flys).

Again, if your form needs work, don't bother with the other stuff. Just fixing that should drastically increase the amount you feel the movement in your pecs. Then just add weight to the bar, eat and rest and you should have no problem adding muscle to your chest.


#7

Your Pectoralis is a very hard muscle to grow and it takes a very long dedicated period of time to achieve one.

Go wider with your grip on the bench press.

Learn how to properly execute and feel the dumbell fly.

Alternate between dumbell based workouts, barbell based workouts, machine workouts, and a mix of the three.

Do not over fatigue or train to failure with the chest. Dont try to bench to much weight, if your triceps are too big and your chest is not it is because you are pressing too much weight or have improper form to take the stress of your pecs.