I am working out and notice the new lady gym instructor hanging around.
It’s quiet, and she seems bored. She introduces herself and all that, and it turns out she knows all about biomechanics.
Pretty cool stuff.
She can see that I have got dominance in my upper body pushing structure; too much working of the chest is in pulling my body forwards. I thank her for the tip, but she’s not done.
She starts showing me exactly where I’m going wrong, and that means stroking my chest.
Is she for real?
I already understood what she meant, but what am I supposed to do, tell her to get lost?
Build your chest muscles for a more touchable chest
Just look around the gym and you’ll see that for most guys its most likely chest day.
The quest for a bigger chest is all about the desire to create a more attractive body.
It’s an excellent reason, but a look around will tell you just as quickly that it’s not going according to plan.
Where does it all go wrong?
One of the leading causes is not recognizing the difference between the chest development of a powerlifter or strongman type, and that of an attractive body. Let’s face it; some of these guys take things too far.
“OK, who wants to tell him he’s got it all wrong?”
For a lot of guys, it is all about focusing on doing big numbers on the bench press. However, this isn’t a guarantee of a great looking chest.
Since the focus is the pectoralis major, it tends to lead to the middle and lower portion of your chest developing at a faster rate than the upper portion.
For many of us, this results in that all too familiar droopy pec look. That means moobs (man boobs)!
If your chest is not developed the right way, the slightest gains in body fat tend to create the droopy look.
The problem with the mechanics of the flat bench press
The bench press is a compound move, and that means the effort you are putting in is being spread around.
That is great if you’re trying to lift as much as possible, but for me trying to improve the look of the chest…..not necessarily so good.
Strongman or super-good looking man?
You need to decide what look you want to have.
For many, it’s a contentious issue, and it’s one on which you will have to make up your mind, so please do.
Test it out for yourself and see where the results come.
Certain body types are not as well suited to the “big lifts.”
If you like me you fall into this camp, then knowing how to make use of isolation exercises in the right way will help you get most out of it.
(If I were using the flat bench press I would first pre-exhaust my chest muscles so that I get more stimulation over and above the triceps and deltoids.
It’s an advanced technique I was reminded of reading some article over the weekend.
How to Build Chest Muscles the Right Way
The trick is to get a “gladiator chest.” It’s a square looking chest with even development from the bottom up to the collarbone, an armor-plated look rather than the bulky, droopy breast like appearance which makes you look fat in regular clothes.
Here are my tips to make it happen:
Focus on the Upper and Outer Pectorals
These areas are the key to the square and masculine look; the aim is to achieve an even development all over rather than having the lower PEC noticeably thicker. It’s challenging, but that’s is why we are in this game. The trick to developing these areas is to focus on them. So focus on them.
Most guys need to develop the upper chest so that it is a more even surface from the top to bottom of the chest rather than the typical thick in the middle, thin at the top scenario. I’m in this camp.
For you, it might be a case of needing to fill out the outer pec, which when developed serves to give you a full looking chest as it fills in the area around your armpit. (Use chest flyes and get a good stretch; go slow).
Go Incline on the Bench
This is my default setting. To add mass in my upper pec I concentrate on incline work, in the 8-12 rep range, to promote sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
This targets the upper chest to fill in that hollow area around the collar bone. Incline flyes are great because they take the triceps out of the equation, so my chest takes all the strain.
Since I train at home without a bench, I use this variation (off the edge of a bed!)
“You don’t need pretty equipment to build chest muscles.”
Use Push-up Bars
They offer you a variety of angles you can use and experiment with to get a better workout.
The great thing about working with bodyweight is that it takes the weight on the bar out of the picture. Since ego is a big reason for not isolating the chest properly, this will help you work out to build your chest the right way.
I also use the decline push up in place of the incline bench press. You can see an example here:
Focus on Strict Form
Keep the pressure on by avoiding a full lockout in press exercises, and squeeze and contract your chest muscles.
I have also found that twisting the weights (when using dumbbells) is a great way to maximize the contraction.
Rotate your palms from facing one another to facing upwards, and squeeze and hold. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you feel it.
Remember, it’s not what you lift but what you get out of it; learning to get more out of less can be the key to your treasure chest.