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Not Hitting Chest Hard Enough?


Lately after the gym I feel like I am not working my chest as well as I can. Every other part of my body feels the DOMS in the days following their last workout but my chest does only to a very minor degree.

Whenever I leave the gym with a good pump going on I always have a decent amount of DOMS in the coming days. I take DOMS as a good indicator to whether or not I have worked something hard enough. My usual chest exercises include:

Flat BB Bench
Incline Smith Cage Bench
Decline Smith Cage Bench
DB or Machine Flies

I use a wider grip to try and eliminate triceps activation AMAP and I usually do 5 sets upping the weight and going from about 15 reps down to 3 rep on set 4 then dropping the weight down and then bust out AMAP usually 10-20 reps for the final set of each exercise.

If you have any suggestion on exercise changes or techniques or anything that would be greatly appreciated.


What do you mean by smith cage? - a smith machine or power rack or what?
If it's a smith machine stop using it so much. Don't keep doin BB flat bench. Switch to DB - I feel it much more in my chest than a flat BB. I'm sure ppl will disagree here, but in my opinion the flat BB bench is more of a shoulder movement than chest movement.

Now if your goals are powerlifting then obviously neglecting the BB bench press isn't a possibility.

Change to something like DB Bench, Barbell Decline Bench(not in smith machine but just on a decline bench with a barbell), dunbell incline flyes, and dips.

Not sure what size you are or how much chest development you already have, but i wouldn't concentrate on the flyes too much until your chest is massive.

This all depends on your goals of course. Any more info will help


Picture at the top is the Smith Cage by Hoist. I tend to work in it as I have had several dislocated shoulder and seperated shoulder from juniour hockey. I am trying to rebuild my shoulders after recovering and the stability of the smith cage and BB movements helps / doesn't hurt as much as DB work


What are your exact numbers on the different presses: rep, set, lbs? Something that helped me out was adding more body weight sets (Dips, pushups).

Is there a specific reason for using a Smith machine for part of your chest routine?


On the presses I usually max out at about 205 (which I am trying to increase because they are greatly lagging). With the flat and decline being about the same and the incline being a little less.


DOMS are not necessarily an indicator of progress. Strength and size increases are. Monior those and you are fine. Also, not everyone gets doms, and not always in all areas, sometimes only some. The other dudes suggestion of switching to dumbells to emphasize chest is good. They allow you to bring your arms across, as well as go past your chest at the bottom for both a deeper stretch and contraction at the top.

Try other lifts as well to change things up. New routines can often give you doms, but again, that isn't the main goal of progression anyway. I'm assuming you had doms in your chest before, but not so much now and thats why you are using it as an indicator of a good workout. If you never had doms in your chest like everywhere else, you probably never will.


As mentioned above try DB bench press. Seems its hits chest better for alot of people.


except, at least in my experience, DB puts more stress on the shoulder which he isnt going to need considering he's dislocated it several times. its worth a shot though id say.

id also suggest pushing yourself more.

also how long have you been doing your same routine for? im not part of the muscle confusion B.S. but it is imperitive to be making some kind of routine changes during stalls or times of less progress. either up the weight by 20 pounds and just learn to grind it out or start looking into other things, maybe try out some of Hammer Strengths equipment most people tend to like it and its fixed plane of motion so you wont fuck up your shoulder


Good point, kind of. Dude might want to avoid the extra stretch on the db presses to avoid shoulder issues and only take advantage of the extra contraction, but over time the free movement of the bells is actually easier on the shoulders than the restricted movement of the bar. This would be used only after dude doesn't have any more pain when using them and has finished rehabbing the shoulder though. If dude does still have the stability issues, than yeah, look into hammer strength machines until you are ready for the free movements.

To 781, you say you are against the muscle confusion bs, but you are for switching up the routine when it goes stale. Is that not basically the same thing? Or are you just against the overly anal structured periodization programs?


3 barbell press chest exercises in a row and two of them are smith machine ones? Although not terrible, that is not my style. Here is my basic template for a chest workout (I only put exercises I use):

1 Primary chest exercise (Barbell Bench Press or Flat DB Press).

1 Secondary chest exercise (Incline DB Press, Incline BB Press, Decline BB Press, or Decline DB Press)

1 Auxiliary chest exercise (Incline, Flat, Decline DB flyes, Cable Crossovers, redirected cable flye machines, tsuky presses)

Also, what I tend to strive for is have one of my two pressing movements to be with a DB and the other with a BB.


heres the difference,

the P90X, Crossfit, 300 crowd believes in order to get the most out of your muscles you need to "confuse" them by doing a different workout every session.

they claim this is the best method because they claim muscle memory picks up and adjusts via the natural process through homeostasis.

the biggest flaw in their theories is muscle memory, well at least how they use it. muscle memory actually has to do with set points (a terms thats been used a lot around here lately) and to give an example of what im talking about lets say you are 200 pounds and have been that way for 6 months. your body is pretty used to carrying the weight of 200 pounds therefore if you got sick and lost weight after getting better and regaining appetite your body would say, ok we took care of that now its time to get back to normal because your body thinks you NEED to be 200 pounds so you would eat and eat and if you were at 170 you could likely get back up to 200 in a months time, thats muscle memory.

when i say you get stale from doing a lift think of it this way, you cant infinitely progress on one lift. everyone says, change the variables (rest, TUT, weight, reps, ROM) but regardless you cant start benching 135 and keep adding 5 pounds a week, 2 weeks, or a month, forever eventually you need to change the stimulus. the problem is people jump the gun too soon, or sometimes they do it too late.

i would say once you start noticing a lack of progression on a lift, dump it, try something else til the same thing happens and then go back to it later if you want and see what you can do.


pushups with your arms wide apart and slightly elevated. feel the burn!


I like doing some dips at the end of a chest routine as I transition to tricep exercises. Regular dips and Gironda dips.



I would switch it up to DB bench if I were you. Db bench puts majority of the stress on your chest while barbell bench uses alot of anterior deltoid and triceps. . Also I would do dips for your lower chest rather than decline bench. I always felt decline bench did shit for my chest, and dips blew my lower pecs up. Take shorter rest breaks too, and fatigue the shit out of your chest. oh yeah, one more thing, eat more.


I am anterior delt dominant, then tricep dominant, on the bench press. My chest almost never gets worked on the flat bench, or at least I never feel it working.

What works for me:

Suki press
Decline flyes
Decline DB bench
Cable Cross overs (from low angle, say at about hip height starting position)
Suspension push ups (use blast straps hanging 6 inches off the ground)


Thanks for the tips. Pardon my stupidity but what exactly is a Suki Press? All I can find on searches is some Japanese or chinese Water Buffalo pictures.


What is a Suki Press?


Quick question.

That "smith cage", is it a powerrack /smith machine combination.

IE: I can do free weight and smith machine work?


Sorry, just looked up the smith cages. It looks like theres about any configuration possible, for a completely safe and stable "home gym" environment.

Found a couple that have the power rack, smith machine, pulldown/row/pec deck attachment.


Good post. I would add forward-leaning dips to the list as well (if you can do them weighted with a dip belt, even better).