T Nation

Shoulders Tiring Before Chest


Hey everyone my delts tire before my chest does in dumbell chest presses whether it be flat or incline. Im presuming this is a form problem .


I don’t think so , they’re just stronger. Do 3-4 sets of flies to failure before your presses and you’ll feel your chest working


Thankyou appreciate it


How did you come to the conclusion that your shoulders are tiring before your chest?


while I do agree with the pre-exhaust method, I wouldn’t be doing sets of flies to failure as my first exercise.

I’m actually not a huge fan of dumbbell flies to pre-exhaust the chest anyway. Tough on the ole shoulder joint. I wouldn’t be going deep into a loaded stretch position for a first exercise.

I also personally feel like I get a better pre-exhaust (if such a thing can even exist) from exercises like the pec dec which overload the peak contraction, rather than the stretched position. When I pre-exhaust my chest, I don’t really go into a stretch at all. I just concentrate on squeezing the peak contraction.

Just my own personal take; not saying you’re wrong or anything.


Because thats what gives out before my chest does. Example :10 reps of dumbell flat bench press. Couldve done 20 if my chest was being stimulated properly but shoulders are mainly being used so they end up getting fried instead of my chest


I still don’t get what you are saying. How do you know your shoulders give out first?

Can you describe your set up and how you bench?

What do you mean by “if my chest was stimulated properly”?


So when doing a dumbell bench press the main goal is to work the chest right?
Which means the chest should be fatiguing before the shoulders.
What i mean is my shoulders take over and fatigue first


sit with a dumbbell on each leg, close to the knee then go back onto the bench and use the momentum to get each dumbbell into the correct position then start the reps? Is that the setup you mean


Arms at a 45 degree angle


could try having your elbows a bit further out and really slow your eccentrics.

Putting a plate or two under the bench to put it on a slight decline can help too


First of all, your shoulder blades should be back and down during the set. Your upper back should be arched. This pushes your chest up. Do not lose your arch. Once your chest caves, you won’t be able to fully activate it and other muscles start taking over.

Second, your elbows should start flaring once you start pushing the weight up. This is how you use your chest. If you are only lowering to 2/3 of the range of motion, i.e, around 2 inches above your chest, you don’t have to tuck your elbows so much.

Third, when you lower the dumbbells during warm ups, pause for a 1 count when you feel the stretch in your chest at the bottom. Use your chest to explode the weight up by contracting hard. Just do this during your warm ups to get into the groove and do normal reps for your working sets.





I lower to 1 inch above chest.


Just start the flaring at the bottom and don’t tuck your elbows too much. The dumbbells should rotate according to the angle of your elbows. Remember to keep the chest high.


Cheers what part of the chest should i hold the dumbells at? I see so many conflicting videos etc on form that it confuses me.


Lower to near your nipple line, raise them back up to over your shoulders at lockout and flex the chest.


Cheers @dt79 i appreciate it alot man!


I should have said machine flies but was too lazy lol… Yeah , I hate dumbell flies , so tough on my shoulders


Dont worry about it as long as your numbers are going up.
-Until you’re say 17yo/ benching 100s for reps you really dont need to worry about what isolated muscle groups you think you do or dont feel