T Nation

Lagging Chest!



I've been working out for 2 years now, and gained great deal of mass. The only bodypart that wouln't keep up with the rest is the chest. I've been searching around on the web, but everybody is coming with the same tips. I hold my hands wide on the bar when i'm doing benchpress ( training for powerlifting ). But when i'm going on the heavy weights, it's always the triceps that are doing all the work. I can't feel that i'm using the chest proparly and i think that that's why it won't grow. Do you guys have any tips?


i know exactly what you are talking about.

recently over the last few months, i have really focused on the mind-muscle connection on the pec deck and other fly movements.

i have def noticed the difference.

work on your flys brudda.

also, don't be a dumbass. don't 'train like a powerlifter' then get upset when you don't look like a bodybuilder


Biggest problem is not retracting the scapula and leaving them retracted while doing all kinds of pressing.
There are several reasons why dips can be very effective for chest, Number one when a medium to wide grip is used it is almost impossible to protract the scapula(the scapula is elevated and retracted which is necessary to put most of the stress on ADDUCTION OF THE HUMERUS-hint that is the primary function of the pectorals.
Hugging a tree? bulls**t !! The scapula must be pulled back and the upper arm bone allowed to travel in a short arc around the Glenohumeral Joint Against resistance. Dumbells allow this moreso than barbells, and a parallel or even a false grip (provided you have a spotter) also make the natural move safer and easier on the fragile shoulder joint. Watch the best Benchers carefully They all have one thing in common their shoulders remain pinned back to the bench during the entire Movement- something to think about.



goddammit fridge


/many threads


x2 and try not locking out. only do the bottom 3/4's or so of the movement. that should help keep more fcus on chest than delts/tri's

also, i fucking hate it but some people swear by pre-fatiguing (in your case flyes followed by pressing movement) to feel the chest working more until you can do so w/o the flyes


I have always been able to do heavy dips without any shoulder pain but have never been able to do the same with bench press. I can start a BP with correct setup but can't seem to hold it there as the set comes to an end. Come to think about it, I can do high inclines and MP without any shoulder issues, I just find it easier to maintain my shoulder/scapula setup on the movements that seem to push my shoulders down and back.


Good advice so far,...

-Pre-fatigue - always worth a try if you're a natural arm bencher
-Retracting Scapulae - also a gem if your front delts tend to dominate
-Training like a BBer - common sense that we all miss sometimes in our effort to chase numbers
-Non-Lock out - again, great advice if your arms tend to take over

a few other tidbits...

-Frequency - don't be afraid to hit a muscle group more than once a week. Too many people are so scared of 'overtraining' (horrible term, should be undereating and undersleeping!), that they shy away from doing work. I've done chest 2x every 6 days for a while now, and it definitely made a difference. Thibs has specialization programs where you hit it 3x a week!

-Skipping Flat Work - Flat bench has destroyed more shoulders than any other exercise. Many top BBers don't even do it, instead focusing on slight incline and/or slight decline work for the better overall stress of the muscles involved. I used to flat bench a ton (well, not really a ton, but you know), and my chest looked like crap. Haven't done flat in years, and even though I have now idea how much I could Bench (should someone ask on the street), I certainly LOOK like I could do a lot, and that's what I'm truly after.

THat's all I got for now... oh yeah, DAMN FRIDGE, you;re built like a... well, ... you know -lol



Itd also be helpful to know what youre doing currently. All that we can gather from this is that you bench press, and from your emphasis on that, you put a great deal of focus onto the Bench press (Arguably an overrated movement). Describe a Normal chest routine for you.


in line with what everyone else is saying, drop flat bench for now. do what works and if it isnt giving you the results you want, toss it out.

you have to learn to feel the chest working. next time you do chest, hit the pec-deck first. do enough light sets so that you have a pretty good pump. squeeze really hard at the peak contraction and really feel the chest working. after you have really warmed up the chest, do your workout. i stole this idea from Bonez, and its made a huge difference.


If you can flat bench over 3 plates per side and are having balance and symmetry issues, then sure, look for other chest variations as suggested above. But, with 2 years training I would suggest simply sucking it up and getting to 3 plates first.

I think there is too much mucking around with switching out from flat bench for reason ....(insert reason here).... when there isn't a good strength level developed.

Most of the guys advocating other primary chest exercises are already well developed above a 3 plate per side lift.

Get to 3 plates per side first.


i agree. with GG's post. you should include fly movements in your chest workout though.


This is amazing advice.


Great job everyone who contributed.

Fridge...you're a manster!


I use this exact technique on the BB, and I feel it great in my chest. Dave Tate for president.


Me too.

OP, maybe DBs, HS machines and fly movements.


Good post....Great avatar!


GG , don't wanna start a flame BUT when I was benching 300lb my chest was a lot flatter than now, my upper chest was absent because we only did flat bench ,
but "unfortunally" now I'm benching less but my chest is bigger (full ROM,no flat bench,VERY SLOW eccentrics, rest pause, half reps etc etc).

I'm talking of compound excercises only.
same for back; when I did DLs my back was thinner,now no DL at all (but bb rows&lat pulldowns) and my back is a lot better.
I see your point but if i have to choose between a 40lb heavier 1RM and slower eccentrics I choose the second but I cold be wrong....

Mikael from Italy


I'm yet to meet someone with a small, completely undeveloped chest who could bench press with legit form 3 plates + per side.


Stretch your chest at the end of every chest day in between sets of flyes. and stretch it every day for a few weeks. If a muscle is tight, it dosent mean its strong!


Say your chest is lagging and you bench 2 plates per side, you decide to keep going at it and get to 3 plates per side.. your chest would no doubt be bigger but wouldn't it still be proportionally "lagging" compared to your triceps and shoulders, provided they are still dominant in your pressing movements?
Just asking because that seems to make more sense to me, but please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm here to learn :slight_smile: