T Nation

Pectoral Development

Hi,

I’m having a hard time getting any definition in my pectorals. I’ve got decent development in the lower part, but no cut in the middle and no bulk in the actual pecs themselves.
I do compound lifts - barbell bench, dumbell presses, etc., supplementing them with some isolated work too.

Could it be my age? I’m 46. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,

You could try Thib’s HSS Chest routine: http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1236824

[quote]Lorne wrote:
Hi,

I’m having a hard time getting any definition in my pectorals. I’ve got decent development in the lower part, but no cut in the middle and no bulk in the actual pecs themselves.
I do compound lifts - barbell bench, dumbell presses, etc., supplementing them with some isolated work too.

Could it be my age? I’m 46. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,[/quote]

A few things:

I believe you are using the word definition to mean simply overall development. Actual defintion is the “see through” characteristic of the relative absence of bodyfat under the skin.

Assuming that’s the case, you didn’t mention sets/reps etc. How haevy and hard you’re working. Also it’s tough to understand how you could actually have developed your “lower” pecs and nothing else without a steady diet of almost exclusively decline work. Even bad form wouldn’t cause this one wouldn’t think.

On flat benches if your able to move the weight at all without dropping it it would hit the overall pecs to one degree or another.

Further assuming you’re in passable overall health, at 46 you’re not a spring chicken, but certainly not over the hill. If you fish around this site you’ll find many lifters your age and older, sometimes by quite a bit, who have and are making impressive progress. I’m 42 and growing and getting stronger all the time.

Lastly for now, you didn’t mention other body parts. If you actually did have a systemic problem of some kind it would manifest itself all over and not just in your pecs. I can’t help, but suspect that there’s some missing info here.

Checking CT’s article as suggested would be a good place to start though. Hang around here and read A LOT. The answers are here for the taking.

–Tiribulus->

BTW, what you eat, how much and when will profoundly affect growth, but overall growth, not just in specific regions of your pecs.

  1. Get way stronger. I don’t know many super strong bench pressers with weak pec development

  2. Do incline presses first. They work the overall pecs more than bench press.

  3. Weighted dips and push ups in between benches allow you do go very deep (if you can do them without pain), thus working the pecs very effectively. You didn’t say how strong you are. If you aren’t strong enough to do weighted dips, start off doing band assisted dips then regular dips, finally onto weighted dips.

If you aren’t strong enough to do push ups in between benches, start off with knee push ups then push ups then push ups in between benches.

Lorne,

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!

I’m not sure how much muscle you can develope at 46 but I know Ed Corney was 46 and still able to compete so… there’s hope.

Now I can give you my hypertrophy routine but you may have to modify it a little to suit you. If not, try CT’s HSS 100 Chest specialization or something that consists of dropsets, stripper sets or supersets.

My routine starts off with push ups for a pre exausting exercise. I do as many as possible in 2 minutes. Take a rest for a few minutes. Now I do giantsets.

4-part giantset. use a weight you can max no more than 10 times. for dumbbell presses and flyes.

PART 1 - slight 10 degree incline dumbbell presses (neutral grip with a hard squeeze at the top) immediately to next part with no rest(7 reps)

PART 2 - slight -10 degree decline dumbbell presses (neutral grip with a hard squeeze at the top) immediately to next part with no rest (7 reps)

PART 3 - Slight 10 degree incline dumbbell flyes(concentrate on the top part of the movement and get a hard squeeze at the top)immediately to next part with no rest (7 reps)

PART 4 - Slight -10 degree decline dumbbell flyes(concentrate on getting a full stretch at the bottom of the movement and only bring the dumbbells within 2 feet of each other) (7 reps)

After all exercises are complete rest from 1-2 minutes

Complete 1-4 sets, depending on your ability.

Do 1 to 3 times a week, depending on your ability.

I have a Weider bench I use for this, all 4 exercises. I use 4 dumbbells, 2 for the presses and 2 for the flyes. I just switch around after doing the incline and hit the exact opposite angle on the same bench without making any adjustments, it goes quick.