First of all, way to go hitting the weights at 46! Hope you see great progress.
Your thread has officially made me hang up my lurker status and actually contribute something instead of just taking in and applying all the great info available here.
I just went through the same situation. I am 35 and started back seriously training around the first of the year. I began lifting back when I was 22 but not as smart as I do now and ended up tearing up my shoulder and needing a couple of surgeries to fix it. After being unable to lift for a couple of years and getting married and having kids, I just plain got lazy and turned into a somewhat fat and out of shape guy who never believed that he could ever get back to where he was in his 20’s. Well I can definitely tell you that the only thing that holds us back is our desire to change. I have made great progress in the past 9 months and am training smarter and better than I ever have. I am close to where I was at 27 when I got hurt. So don’t let your age hold you back, just train smart and don’t get hurt.
I say all of this because before I got hurt, my chest was one of my best body parts, however I noticed that as I started leaning out and growing, I could see that my chest was lagging big time. After much experimentation, I determined that because of my shoulders. I was no longer benching with my arms at a 90 degree angle from my body and instead was tucking my elbows more like a power lifter to take the pressure of my shoulders. So instead of my chest, my triceps were doing all the work. I also noticed my lower chest development was much greater than my upper even though I never do any type of decline work, just flat and incline. The last thing I noticed was that when I was younger, I would bring the bar down to a much higher spot above my nipples, where now I go lower.
After trying many things that failed to help such as lowering the amount of weight and bringing my elbows out and lowering the bar higher up as I use to (which hurt really bad), and trying 1 1/2 reps which is where you do a half way up rep and then a full rep (which I just found awkward) I finally found a routine that I have been using for 4 weeks now and has greatly increased growth in the upper portion and overall thickness of my chest. My pecs are acutally started to look like they used to.
What I am doing is Thib’s OVT for the chest. It goes like this: I always do incline first then flat. You do a total of ten supersets, 5 incline, 5 flat, 10 reps each. The superset consists 5 reps with the barbell for as heavy as you can go to get just 5 reps. You then immediately go to a moderate weight dumbbell and do 5 reps slow and controlled.
On the incline portion you do the barbell with the bench at 45 degrees and the dumbbell portion with the bench at 30 degrees. Remember if you are going as heavy as you can go, you will not be able to increase weight each set but will have to drop the weight as you get fatigued. The main thing is to increase your starting weight each week if only by 5 or 10lbs. I do dumbbell presses on the incline and dumbbell flyes on the flat. Check out CT’s original “Bulk Up, Cut Up” article and look at his chart on the dumbbell flyes. He recommends you go as low as you can and only come up part way. That was different from what I had always done but I found his advice to be accurate to maintain maximum tension on the pecs.
Remember, to keep you elbows straight so that you don’t recruit you arms and shoulders when you do the flyes. You do not have to go heavy on these so injury should not be an issue. Just be sure to warm up good before you start the 10 sets.
The premise of the routine is that you fatigue your triceps and shoulders with the barbell so that when you get to the dumbbells, you can really annihilate the remaining chest fibers that were not activated during the barbell portion.
This has made a huge difference like I said and I can still tuck my elbows when I flat bench to protect my shoulders.
Hope this helps.
Oh yeah, definitely not flaming you at all, but next time it would be helpful to know what your current training routine is and if you have an pre-existing injuries such as shoulders that might be hampering your progress.
Good luck and thanks for giving me a reason to stop the lurking!