T Nation

Pec shape

Ok, instead of my pecs being ‘plate like’ and
flat, the muscle tends to bulge in the middle
part of the pec.
Is this genetics or bad lifting form from years
ago, before I knew better?
Given that, any suggestions as to which chest
exercises I should be doing to possibly correct it or exercises I shouldn’t be doing to make it worse?
I’ve currently stopped doing flat bench and
started doing declines, inclines and weighted dips.
Any tips/advise appreciated.

I got the same deal bro. THick in the middle. I am curious to hear what the critics might suggest.

I had the same malady. When I was in high school- I used to come home and bench press every day- and I rarely, if ever, did incline press. After about 5 years of neglecting the incline press- I had big full d-cups for breasts. Needless to say- this was not my intention. So- I ceased benching and took to incline work exclusively. After three years of incline only work- I was able to even out my pec muscles and get them looking manly again. Of course- you can probably shorten that time horizon by using some Androsol.

The sternal head of the pectoralis major is one muscle, controled by the same group of motor units. Unless my biology/phisiology classes are failing me now (it has been a while since college) I believe that it is impossible to grow the middle part of your pec, or bottom part of your pec as you see fit. Genetics shape your pec. You can’t change the shape of your bicep, make you calf muscle longer etc.

I have to disagree, ironbabe (sorry :-)): By moving your arms in different planes, you can induce a greater stretch and greater tension in one part of the muscle; surely you can feel the pull in the upper pec when doing incline flys? The entire muscle is still getting worked, but as a general rule, the muscle (or part of a muscle) that gets the most stretch incurs the most microtrauma, and therefore the most stimulation of growth. I can tell you that my upper pecs are sore as hell today from doing incline work, while the middle and lowers just feel a little tired.

I was ALWAYS taught that muscle shape was genetically determined. Size, on the other hand, is a function of genetics AND training. The old standby justification was that if you look at pics of Arnold, Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, etc. or ANY elite bodybulder early in their career, you would see a smaller man with the same muscle shape (i.e. long muscle bellies, biceps that inserted DEEP into the elbow, just basically the same overall shape, but smaller). Arnold’s fantastic arms were a product of genetics and training, and juice, not some secret protocol that only he was privy too. For the record, despite years of training, I have never seen anyone significantly alter the overall shape of any muscle no matter how they train. Then again, conventional wisdom isn’t infallible, and today’s truths often turn out to be tomorrow’s superstitions. If anyone out there has seen someone, including themselves, alter the shape of a muscle through training, could you please let us know?

Ironbabe is correct! you CAN NOT change the shape of a muscle. no one ever has and no one ever will change the shape of a muscle (without tearing it that is). the pec minor may get sore when you do inclines but thats just because of the stretch that it is put thru not the WORK it performed. if you never did db pullovers lying across a bench, do them, the next day the long head of your tri’s will be sore. why? 'cause they were stretched , they wont grow from it but if you are one of the people that live for sore muscles go for it on tri day so the next day you can “think” that your tri’s are growing

While the deltoids have only three muscles it has be shown that there are at least six (I’m pretty sure it was six) different “sections” that can be emphasized. I’m not sure how pratical that is, but it’s something I wanted to toss out.

I personaly have found my chest resembles This when I am bulked up but when I diet down a nice square pec appears, so if your body fat is high it may be creating a different shape due to the subcutaneous adipose - just a guess!