T Nation

My Chest is Lagging

For 6 reps, I can deadlift 2x bodyweight, I back squat 1.5x bodyweight, but I only flat bench just over 3/4 bodyweight. I’m doing full body workouts 3x a week, doing hitting chest at least once each workout with weighted dips, incline dumbbells, or flat barbells as well as supplementing with flyes and pushups, and I’m having trouble progressing. I use varied rep schemes, (3x8, 4x6, and 2x12) and am packing on the plates for my deadlift and squat, but not for my bench press. My chest is so underdeveloped that my top abs look oddly large compared to my chest.

Apart from massive eating and dilligent training, can anyone reccomend any sort of program? I know asking questions about chest workouts is probably done by every 17 year old but I am stuck. need help.

You might be better of doing each muscle group once a week. That way you will be able to work your chest till failure and have good recovery time. I personally work chest, next day arms, then legs, followed by shoulders and traps, and finally back. My body is developing pretty evenly.

Dumbbell bench press works the best for me, makes my chest blow up. I had to stop doing them and swtich to barbell bench press because my chest was outgrowing my shoulders so fast…
Anyways when you do them make sure you dont clank the dumbbells togeather at the top of the lift. Keep them about a foot apart as it works the chest better and imitates the barbell bench press more. Dumbbell bench press only works better if you do what I mentioned about and also lower the weight as far as possible so you get a really good stretch. If you dont do both of these it is a pointless exercise.

[quote]fatcat wrote:
For 6 reps, I can deadlift 2x bodyweight, I back squat 1.5x bodyweight, but I only flat bench just over 3/4 bodyweight. I’m doing full body workouts 3x a week, doing hitting chest at least once each workout with weighted dips, incline dumbbells, or flat barbells as well as supplementing with flyes and pushups, and I’m having trouble progressing. I use varied rep schemes, (3x8, 4x6, and 2x12) and am packing on the plates for my deadlift and squat, but not for my bench press. My chest is so underdeveloped that my top abs look oddly large compared to my chest.

Apart from massive eating and dilligent training, can anyone reccomend any sort of program? I know asking questions about chest workouts is probably done by every 17 year old but I am stuck. need help. [/quote]

i haven’t been lifting for very long but had a similar problem so i’ll give you my advice just in case.

my chest was underdeveloped and at some point i realized that what I called “chest” exercises were not working my chest at all: bench press was mostly triceps and shoulder and dips were no different. once you try to figure out which muscles are working while doing these exercises, you might feel the same way. I solved the problem by switching to dumbell flies and making absolutely sure my chest was working: i only did flies with one arm and put the other arm on my working pec to make sure it was stretching like hell. another exercise was bench press to the neck (a little dangerous without a spotter, use a lot less weight than you use for your bench). Basically you bench but lower it to your neck instead of touching the chest. should be feeling your chest muscles working when it’s down to your neck. i wouldn’t dare to do these without a spotter though.

Because your chest is lagging, I think it’s OK to work them twice a week. Intensity is the key here, you MUST push yourself. If you start and aim for 10 flies and realize you have 12 in you, always and always go for 12. You should (most likely) be sore the next day. just put push your pain limits.

If you do these for a month and eat right I believe you should see results. Once you make progress, you might go back to normal benching and dips because such compound moves give better overall results in general and hopefully your chest will be doing more of the work by this point. hope this helps some

you may want to utilize a bench specialization program, there are several on this site. Use the search function.

Other than that, I would suggest push-ups with your hands close and near the bottom of your pecs. If that is comfortable, see if you can feel that stimulate your pecs. If that works, work up to 20 reps and then have someone add a plate to your back. Repeat.

Can you flex your pecs individually without moving your arms? If not, you may be lacking a mind muscle connection.