To be clear, I’m not a beginner by any stretch, but I wanted to get everyone’s thoughts on something I never quite figured out about my body over the years. Specifically, I’m having issues isolating my chest.
I’ve been lifting on and off for about the last 16 years, and much of it has been purely for strength, performance, etc. I’ve competed in highland games, strongman, oly lifting, powerlifting. More recently I’d like to focus more on physique improvement, and I just don’t have a lot of experience isolating my chest.
Firstly, I welcome all advice, but before you ask “why isolate?” I’m about to answer that. For one, a supraspinatus that has been inflamed for literally decades along with a torn labrum and slap lesion that doesn’t help things, as well as triceps that are grossly overdeveloped in the lower portion near the elbow in proportion to the upper portion that ideally would create the horseshoe look. I have the kind of tricep development that would lead one to believe I’m just big-boned rather than actually muscular. I’ve even been told I have a “big frame” even though people don’t realize I haven’t grown an inch since I was 15 and I was a small, scrawny bastard before I started lifting.
I’ve tried all manner of flies and presses, dips, etc. The only thing that actually makes my pecs sore at all is changing my bench form such that my elbows are flared out as wide as possible rather than tucked, and bringing the bar down much higher on the chest. Higher meaning closer to the clavicles and above the nipples. But even doing this my triceps seem to do so much of the work that they are the limiting factor. I end every set with my lower triceps burning and not hardly feeling anything in my chest. I know it’s not always feeling a pump that leads to gains, but I NEVER experience a chest pump no matter what.
Dumbell presses aggravate my shoulder tremedously, and mainly seem to only work the delts and my already over-developed distal tricep region.
Similarly, with flies it seems like I’m mostly working my biceps. Doesn’t matter if it’s DB, machine or cable. Flies actually work my biceps so much that I’m sure I could use them almost exclusively for bicep development. I’ve played around with different elbow angles as well as keeping my elbows as immobile as possible, but it still seems to work my biceps more. A lot more.
One last thing, I’ve tried using pullovers as well, with limited success, mostly works my lats.
Has anyone who has experienced similar issues overcome this? Any advice on exercises or form tweaks greatly appreciated. Thanks.