T Nation

Lagging Chest


hi guys
i've been going to gyms now for a couple of years and i've seen reasonable gains, however i have noticed that my chest does seem to be lagging in size, heres my routine:

Monday: Legs and shoulders
front squats 4x6-8 (110 lbs)
DB shoulder press 4x6 (110 lbs)
deadlifts 4x6-8 (220lbs)
DB frontal/lateral raises 3x10 (20lbs)
Leg Press machine 3x8-10
cable lateral/frontal raises 3x8-10

Wed: Back and Biceps
DB rows 4x8 (88lbs each)
EZ curls 3x8 (80lbs inc bar)
lat pulldown machine 3x8
hammer curls 3x6-8 (40lbs each)
pull-ups 3x to failure

Friday/sat (depending on time) Chest and triceps
Bench press 3x8 (143lbs)
OH Tricep extension 3x8
dumbell/machine flyes 3x6-8 (to failure on the machine) (40lbs)
cable tricep extension 3x8
dips 3xto failure

recently i have started using DB's instead of the bar for benchpress as i find i get a better range of motion and i use better form when doing so, is this likely to se me get better gains?

my stats are 5 7 at 137lbs. i understand that these are not great results after a few years of training but i would like to hear what you think

i am well aware of the fact my legs aren't strong i am really trying to work on this. stupidly neglected legs for a very long time, any suggestions for exercises there would also be greatly appreciated.


I don't think this topic has ever been discussed before. Ever. This should be a good thread.


Hi sj89,

One thing that jumps out at me right away is that you are using 88lbs for db rows and only 143 lbs on the bench. It makes sense that your chest is lagging because it seems to be pretty weak.

Dumbbells are better for range of motion for sure, but your chest is still weak right now.

What I suggest is that you try to focus on getting those bench poundages up (focus on getting 225 lbs) and eat a ton. You are very light and need to gain some size as well.


Guys, I have a serious problem. No matter what I do I can't add size to the short head of my triceps. I've been training 4+ years and have seen pretty decent gains everywhere else but this one weak area, and I really need advice on how to bring it up.

155 lbs.
Benchpress 150x5
Squat 160x5
Deadlift 175x2

Oh, also--my diet is perfect and I train like an animal every day. Thanks in advance.


Please search before you post next time. But to answer your question, if youre not happy with your chest you should move it up in your week when you are fresh. Try more incline presses as well. Flat bench hits your front delts a little more. Heavy flyes and dumbbell presses.


haha its so true


prioritize your training do you want to bring up your legs you neglected or your lagging chest so pick which one you want to bring up and train it first in the week.

increase the volume,your doing 9 total sets of chest shoot for 12-15 total sets 3-4 different exercises, some people do well with low volume some people dont, you might suit more volume.

also on your chest and tri day you go from chest to tricep chest to tricep try and do all your chest work then triceps.

eat alot you need more mass, plenty of protein carbs and fats.


lol true i know. i am sorry for posting such a common problem i was just wondering if there was any glaringly obvious mistakes i was making. everyone seems to respond differently to training techniques and i was wondering if there seemed to be any trends in my workout that could be changed.

thanks for the posts they have been helpful and i will definitely try to impliment what you have perscribed


Apart from reiterating the overall gain more strength and size by eating more and training hard, maybe you should choose exercises that are going to target your chest more. Just as an example here are some good ones:

Flat/incline dumbbell bench press
WIDE grip flat/incline barbell bench press
Wide grip dips
Flat/incline squeeze press


Truthfully, I think your volume is too high and your exercise selection is poor. You are giving up 100 pounds to many posters on here, so follow what they are saying.

For the time being, I'd knock out all the little and unnecessary shit. Flyes? Training to failure on certain exercises? Garbage.

Build your program around compound lifts and cut out all the BS. I guarantee you will find the size you are looking for.


to high? you mean to low right?


I think it's too high, especially with all the unnecessary isolation exercises and taking sets to failure. Save that energy and focus your efforts on compounds. At 137 pounds, why the hell is this kid doing flyes? Keep it simple. I'd rather use that time more wisely on things like injury prevention, hip mobility, etc.

Here's a modified program this kid could use going only three days per week:

Day One Legs
A1 Front Squats 4 sets
B1 Glute / Ham Raise 4 sets
A2 Uni-lateral squat (excluding leg press)3 sets
B2 Lying Leg Curl 3 sets
Standing Calf Raise 4 sets
Tibial Flexion 2 sets
Ankle prehab

Day Two Delts / Traps / Biceps
A1 Standing shoulder press (BB, DB, Military) 3 sets
B1 BB Shrugs 3 sets with iso neck
A2 Raise variation 2 sets
B2 RC / Scap work 2 - 5 sets
A3 BB Curl - 4 sets
B3 Forearm / Grip Work

Day Three
AA1 Deadlift Variation 4 sets
A1 BB Close Grip Bench 4 sets
B1 Pull Up / Pull Down 3 sets
A2 Dips 3 sets
Go home, you are short on time on day 3, remember?