T Nation

The Weakest Link

I’ve been wondering for quite some time now, how the body works when doing a lift where one has a clear weak point.

For example, I’ve never had a big or strong chest, yet my arms had no problems growing at all. The benchpress never made my chest grow much.

How does the body prioritize muscles for a lift? For the bench, the main muscles involved are the triceps, pecs and ant. delts. If the pecs are not very strong, which of the following scenarios occur?

a) All muscles are evenly activated, compared to their strength. The weak chest might not lift much of the weight, but it is still activated 100%. Lack of growth could be related to genetics.

b) The chest is activated less. The body will always attempt to use the muscles that are most suited for the task. As such, the chest is activated less, grows less and enters a “vicious cycle” that requires some isolation work to repair.

c) The chest, being the weakest link,is always activated 100% during a lift trying to keep up with the triceps and the delts. Since the body is only as strong as the weakest link, the triceps and delts are not activated to their full potential.

Well, C doesn’t make much sense to me given what my own imperical experience tell me. I’m definitely leaning most towards B as being the correct answer, but what are your thoughts on the matter?