I’ve always been taught this: If you want to get big all you need to do is get strong in the squat, deadlift and bench press.
This is true to some degree. The powerlifts build strength and mass throughout the whole body, no doubt. So what’s the problem? I wanted to get big. Powerlifters don’t train to “get big”. Powerlifters train for the big three.
I went over post after post and article after article on this site. There was a steady trend. Lift and eat like a bodybuilder and - GUESS WHAT! - you begin to look like a bodybuilder. What kind of weightlifters are the biggest and leanest? Bodybuilders. Who should you train like if you want to look like a bodybuilder? Well… this ain’t calculus.
Do I need to do bench presses, or at least a variation of them? Absolutely. But bench pressing for me has always been a shoulder/tricep dominant lift. I considered isolation exercises such as flies or cable crossovers, or machine such as the HS line of chest presses, a complete waste of time. Yet what happened when I did them? My pecs, finally, began to grow.
I could go on but that’s what I have to say. When I finally started listening to the advice of the respected members of T-Nation I started seeing results, and will continue to.