T Nation

Reducing Pec Emphasis on Bench?


I was wondering if this might be a good idea to try.

My chest has always been big in comparison to my shoulders and arms, and when I bench, I tend to think my chest is doing most of the work.

I mainly do DB floor press, but was wondering if anyone thinks its a good idea to go a little lighter, and do my bench with elbows tucked in and minimal shoulder adduction.

So basically the Db bench press would consist of shoulder flexion and elbow extension.

Also, the positioning of the DB's could be altered. Naturally I tend to bring them just below nipple height on the way down, and then at the top bring them just below chin height.

If I were to bring them lower, like more toward the bottom of the ribcage I think my shoulders would get hit more.

I remember reading something on the Westside site about doing this with barbell bench as it would save your shoulders in the long run, but that might be something different.

What do you guys think?


Try shoulder presses and close grip bench.

Normal grip bench is SUPPOSED to be a chest movement.


so you want to bench to develop the triceps and delt?...
Why just not bench? Or why not only do maintenance on chest and progress everywhere else.

Also, what's the point of DB floor presses? That's benching on the floor, right? That just seems really non-optimal in many ways.


Not sure about the deltoids, but using a closer grip should shift emphasis to the triceps. Try and increase the incline for the delts (at least 45 degrees).
I've also heard about positioning the arms closer to the body, which I'm guessing would again help take the stress off the chest.

I say go with close grip benches and front presses + ditch the regular bench for a while.


Do you think your legs tend to do most of the work when you squat?

ya know i think most other people have this problem as well.


drop the bench (shock,horror) and focus military and/or high incline presses instead for a few weeks/months and see how you go.


Focus on closed grip bench press, skull crusher, military press...


Did you actually ask this as a SERIOUS question, or are you just trying to get a discussion started?

If you want to minimize stimulus to the pecs, narrow the grip, and keep your elbows tucked in.

Dude - what in the hell do you think DB floor presses are going to do? It's all pecs on a floor press, no matter where you put your elbows.

That's like doing front squats and bitching because your legs are too fucking big.

  1. There is no such thing as having legs/pecs that are too big.

  2. What do you expect if you are doing a fucking isolation exercise?


That was a bit harsh.
And although there isn't such thing as having chest or legs too big, there is such thing as having them disproportionately bigger than everything else which is what he was referring to.

This made me chuckle though.


It wasn't harsh at all considering the question in the first place.

I am willing to bet that if we saw a pic of this guy's upper body, no one would think his chest was so huge that he needs to stop working it for a while. Part of the reason for that is it is really difficult to build a solid chest without having triceps and even shoulder development (even biceps) right along with it.


I'd ask for the guys routine, progress etc and try to help him out, but ... ya know... it's dankid.
Can't really take him seriously now, can we?


If you start using a barbell you can try and rip it apart, so to speak, to increase tricep activation. Like they do at Westside. Tucking in your elbows more would help as well, but easier to do using a barbell than dumbells.

To be honest though if you want to do a pressing exercise that doesn't emphasise your chest, why not just do military presses?


RJ, how are you positioning your arms so that you only feel floor press in your pecs? I feel it more in my tris than anywhere else. But then again, I tuck hard on everything.


Personally, I also feel that my chest is too big in proportion to my shoulders and arms.

There's no reason to stop working your chest though, surely you want to be moving forwards everywhere?

In addition to that, I don't understand why you want to change the bench press from being a chest exercise that also works shoulders and triceps into an exercise for the shoulders and triceps. You don't have to bench at all to stimulate them adequately. But seriously, don't avoid working your chest... keep benching


Myself included. In fact, I do the floor press on tri's/shoulder days.


x2 I thought one of the reasons floor pressing is popular in plifting is that it helps to teach you to tuck your elbows. If I don't tuck hard it's painful on the back.


X3. I always thought they were meant to strengthen the triceps primarily.


I always thought the concept was similar to that of a box squat... and that it was great for triceps mostly when adding chains, and or just using touch and go.


I see what you mean. I always did mine touch and go with very tucked elbows. Usually had sore triceps after doing them that way.


I might have jumped the gun calling DB floor presses an isolation exercise.

I do one arm DB floor presses. I don't see how anyone can do single arm DB floor presses and not feel like their pecs are about to explode. I don't even know that I have shoulders or tri's after 3-4 sets.