T Nation

Lagging Chest


#1

Hi,

After following this awesome site for a few years Ive finally decided to join the forum!

I need some serious help in the chest department, in short its lagging compared to the rest of my bodies development, Ive been body building for about 5 years and more seriously for the last 2.

I train my chest twice a week within a 5-6 day split, I get some growth but its seems slow going compared to the rest of my body.

The growth I do get seems to be mostly around my outer/upper chest and I lack in lower/middle chest and especially in thickness in the lower/middle chest, I have naturally large traps, shoulders and lats and find they have developed well, Ive recently corrected an imbalance where my front delts where disproportionately larger than my side and rear delts but have since corrected this over the last year.

Ive tried multiple weight/rep ranges over the years, mixing barbel and Dumbell presses but still seem to have trouble isolating my chest properly, Ive even tried backing off the heavy weight a bit to focus more on form trying to focus on contracting my chest and then ramping up the weight over time...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Shannon


#2

What are you currently doing for chest and what kind of weight?

Pics would also help to know what is being worked instead of your chest or if it is simply in your head.


#3

all you need...
http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/chest_obliteration_mountain_dog_style


#4

i tried too many different things for my weak chest.
now i accepted that it will never be a strong bodypart for me like my delts or arms.
in the past i used to think it looks bad because of the fat hiding it.
i lost a lot of fat but it still looks like shit :)))
long story short, in my humble opinion, if you are not blessed with good chest genetics, you will never be satisfied with how it looks.
i envy those dudes with square pecs, full from top to bottom, left to right.


#5

not everyone agrees but I actually think that decline movements are the best for building your chest. I do like 70 per cent of my chest movement on a decline now and it's never looked better


#6

My chest was always a weak point, but while it may never have looked like Ronnie Coleman's in his prime, I did manage to make noticeable improvements over time.

First, I want to stress a couple of things. First, that genetics are the ultimate determinant of what your chest can possibly look like. While you may never develop the physique of your dreams, I have no doubt that you (and everyone) can make some progress if they're smart about things - and somewhat realistic.

Secondly, regardless of all the variables you can play with, you will need to ensure that you are pressing (that is performing the movement) in a manner that optimally allows you to recruit your pecs. You can find many explanations of keeping your scapulae restracted, your delts from moving forward etc etc, but until you actually FEEL everything going through the motions, you won't be getting the most from the exercise.

Now, a few things that worked FOR ME over the years.

-Increased frequency during my off seasons. I would keep a lid on overall volume, but with 2 chest days every 6-7 workouts, you could really see the differences each time I stepped on stage.

-Not obsessing about pressing. I figured out early on that I could press some very respectable weights, but this was most likely due to my natural delt and tricep strength. Learning that you could build a very decent chest relying on many other movements is tough for people who grew up on old Flex magazines, or love screaming about how much weight they're moving, but swallowing your pride and being willing to try something else isn't done without some intelligent consideration.

-Limiting ROM. Playing into my strength curve, I found that eliminating the lock-out portions of certain chest movements, and instead focusing on getting a good stretch, and keeping tension on the target muscles paid dividends with my development.

-Being lean totally changes how your muscles look, I knew that when I was relatively lean (or even in contest shape) that my pecs would "square off". However, maybe genetics, maybe just my imagination, my pecs looks much more "puffy" most of the year. To look at the shape during an off season, and predict how much different they would look when dieted down, there's no way they even look like they belong to the same person. So for the many gym rats who write off their own chest shape when looking at their favorit heroes in magazines or online, don't despair, but realize how much bf levels can seriously alter how everything appears.

S


#7

Awesome article very helpful, thank you


#8

Aweome! Thanks for the advice, very helpful


#9

I work chest and back together twice per week alternating throughout the workout: so a chest exercise followed by a back exercise immediately after followed by a short rest period 30-60 seconds, if i do need more rest time i do something to keep my heart rate up, this was my last workout-

EXERCISE CHEST AND BACK SETS REPS WEIGHT KGS
A1 INCLINE BENCH PRESS 4 10 80
A2 WEIGHTED PULL UPS 4 6 14

B1 FLAT BENCH PRESS 4 10 80
B2 BENTORVER BARBELL ROW OR DUMBELL ROW 4 10 90/36

C1 INCLINE DUMBELL OR CABLE FLYS 3 15 16KGS/10KGS
C2 CLOSE GRIP LAT PULL DOWN 3 15 67

D1 FLAT BENCH FLY 3 15 16
D2 STRAIGHT ARM LAT PULLDOWN 3 15 37


#10

can i recommend 2 exercises?

dumbbell squeeze press
dips


#11

Dips! Good idea.
Never done squeeze press but I'll look into it. Thanks


#12

I've always been the same way, in an overall sense, I'm a strong guy. Nothing like the competition status powerlifters but I've always had a natural strength and for being a tall guy, I look strong as well. But something that I've always wanted to improve is the size of my chest, I've always had broad shoulders but without a developed chest it just makes me look disproportionate.

I've also recently learned that I have a severe mid trap and supraspinatus weakness that, in comparison to the rest of my back and shoulders, is keeping me from pressing high volumes and inhibiting the growth of my pecs. In addition to the original question that was posted, what are a few exercises to help increase the strength of the mid trap and supraspinatus to assist in keeping the scapula retracted during a standard bench press?


#13

decline presses inclines dips and flys in my experience realy do the trick, not so much flat pressing..good luck bro! oh yes look up "twist press" pretty effective as well


#14

How does your chest feel during and after this workout?

In my opinion you are probably just not moving the weight with your chest. I had a similar issue years ago where benching first did nothing but blow the hell out of my shoulders.
Started doing a couple sets of cable flies and then starting my workout with dumbbell press focusing on feeling the chest move the weight and not even touching a bar for chest days. It's taken my chest from a lagging body part to a decent bodypart.

Bench press doesn't work for everyone. At least not right out of the gate.


#15

Agreed I've started doing cable Flys first then dumbell benching,
I feel like I get a good pump in my chest but mostly in my upper chest, I have trouble activating the lower middle chest area,may have to pay closer attention to for and doing some decline presses on the Smith machine to try isolate the area and a bit more.


#16

I have the same problem, I have wide shoulder width and big traps and shoulders and a flat chest in comparison,very frustraing


#17

I actually don't think your chest is lagging. Your proportions seem fine to me.


#18

Thanks, I probably shouldve posted a side on pic, im definately lacking in thickness especially in the lower mid area of my chest,


#19

Thanks for this stu, very helpful ill be working on some of your tips tonight


#20

I agree that your chest isn't big. Neither is anything else though. You have no delts either, but you didn't mention that. Adding size everywhere will be productive for you at this point. It's likely that your chest will come along with everything else.

I also believe that 'thickness from the side' is based more on upper/mid back development.