any ideas for upper pecs?

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    any ideas for upper pecs?


    I've heard inclines, but I've tried that. Different inclines, bb and db. Nothings working, that is the only part im lacking. Seems like nothing is there but bone but the rest of my pecs have muscle. Anything I should try?

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    low pulley cable crossovers.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh_5eDyaVIU"]YouTube - aleksfowler.co.uk cable crossover low pulley[/ame]


    if incline barbell and dumbells aren't working though, you may want to pre fatigue your front delts before starting the movement, since your delts are overpowering your chest.
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    I think that's true. My front delts are pretty big compared to even my arms. I thought that they were just responding well, now im thinking im using them too much on the bench. Hmm

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    Not sure if it's going to work, but a buddy in the gym recently told me I should start doing vertical lifts (the incline bench sitting straight up) with the assisted/controlled barbell lift machine (the one most people use for squats).

    I'm going to try the low pulley cable crossovers though!
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    Sinon, I'm not being a ****,.. are you doing inclines correctly? Using a barbell, bring the bar to the top of your chest, feel the stretch of your pecs, then explode that weight up, bring down under control till the bar touches your chest, high, just below your neck. Has worked wonders for me!!!
    Think training's hard,. try losing!
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    You want to know why? It's because it's impossible to target primarily the 'upper' region of the pectoralis major. This is because the muscle fibers which are innervated by a single motor neuron (together a motor unit) are not clustered together--yet randomly spread throughout the entire muscle group (where genetics comes into play). And, once that motor neuron sends an action potential to contract the skeletal muscle fibers which are innervated by that single neuron all of the muscle fibers contract, not just ones in a specific region.
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    I will tell you a favorite exercise of mine for upper pecs. Set your bench to a 45 degree angle. Grasp 2 heavy dumbbells in a hammer grip and press in a triangle movment. Try this sitting with one hand on your pec. You will feel ALMOST every fiber of you pec bieng utilized. I go heavy as hell on these and know that it has contributed greatly to my overall strength and size in my upper(not to mention the rest of it either) pec region. I rotate these with heavy incline bench press.
    Try it out and when you feel like your melon is going to explode push 2 more reps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    I will tell you a favorite exercise of mine for upper pecs. Set your bench to a 45 degree angle. Grasp 2 heavy dumbbells in a hammer grip and press in a triangle movment. Try this sitting with one hand on your pec. You will feel every fiber of you pec bieng utilized. I go heavy as hell on these and know that it has contributed greatly to my overall strength and size in my upper(not to mention the rest of it either) pec region. I rotate these with heavy incline bench press.
    Try it out and when you feel like your melon is going to explode push 2 more reps.
    Not trying to be a d*ck, but no one will ever recruit all of their motor units in any muscle group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    Not trying to be a d*ck, but no one will ever recruit all of their motor units in any muscle group.
    No **** Sherlock, it was more of a generalization. As in feel the difference with your hand between regular dumbbell presses and these. Do the exercise and SEE the difference. I will edit it to say "Almost", like say 80%+ in a trained individual. Happy you precise bastard lol?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    No **** Sherlock, it was more of a generalization. As in feel the difference with your hand between regular dumbbell presses and these. Do the exercise and SEE the difference. I will edit it to say "Almost", like say 80%+ in a trained individual. Happy you precise bastard lol?
    I can be a complete **** if you want to play it like that. And, you're still incorrect. You have to take into consideration on how much actin and myosin are composed within the individual's muscle fibers. Also, the load vs force generation with respect to angular velocity, as well as neural adaptation to specific training methods. Typically, the only individual's that come close to that number are power lifters.

    Why would I do incline presses? That movement is not specific to any sport or lifting style I participate in. And, I know that it is impossible to target that region for bodybuilding purposes.
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    Shoot for gaining overall mass in your pectorals. The best way to do this is to shoot for gaining overall size. You're only going to develop those muscles so far before you have to gain more overall mass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    I can be a complete **** if you want to play it like that. And, you're still incorrect. You have to take into consideration on how much actin and myosin are composed within the individual's muscle fibers. Also, the load vs muscular strength with respect to angular velocity, as well as neural adaptation to specific training methods. Typically, the only people that come close to that number are power lifters.

    Why would I do incline presses? That movement is not specific to any sport or lifting style I participate in. And, I know that it is impossible to target that region for bodybuilding purposes.
    #1 I was being facetious in a joking way with you fuvktard.

    #2 People would only need to do 1 exercise per body part to achieve the look they wanted as a bodybuilder. That just isn't so.

    #3 Actually all fibers of the pectorals major have the same insertion but different origins

    The Pectorals major has two heads: the one whose fibers originates from the clavicle and the one whose fibers originate from the sternum (clavicular and sternocostal, respectively).

    While you can't isolate any part you can TARGET different areas because 1) a fiber doesn't flex all the same along it's whole length and 2) your fibers are arranged into nervous compartments with separate motor units and therefore different parts of the muscle can be triggered according to the needs of the movement.

    #4 Obviously everyone is not created equal. That does not mean that they cannot increase the amount of muscle fiber recruitment used in an exercise by doing a specific exercise or by training themselves to do so. It depends on how you train just as much as your genetics, you do not have to be a power lifter to get maximum MFR.

    #5 You also get a better ROM training with dumbbells and it helps strengthen the stabilizer muscles.

    #6 The Incline press is a STAPLE movement done by Strongmen,Olympic lifters, power lifters and professional Bodybuilders. What makes you so smart and strong that you can deny that they work for building large amounts of strength and size? Do you have any pictures of yourself?Any records?What is your magic program for growth?

    #7 My post was for the OP,not you if you don't like the exercise STUFU and do something else. No skin off MY nuts.

    #8 Please get your information from somewhere other than FLEX magazine or your russy russ booky wook textbooks.

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    Research done by exercise scientist often contradicts things bodybuilders have proven in the gym. But this can go both ways. As far as I'm concerned, what matters should be the bottom line. What I'm wanting to know when I undertake something is whether or not I'm going to get results out of it, regardless of what's happening from a physiological standpoint. If it works it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't.

    I'd go as far as to say that regardless of what experts in the field of exercise physiology say, incline presses are here to stay. There are a lot of people who swear by it. You could even say that the people who swear by incline presses could have achieved the exact same level of (upper) pectoral development without them, but regardless, no one is going to convince the masses that incline movements are useless all together.

    The best way to figure out if something works for you is to try it for yourself. If you see results from including incline presses in your routine, do them. And if you think you don't need them, don't do them.

    Doesn't seem too complicated to me
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    While you can't isolate any part you can TARGET different areas because 1) a fiber doesn't flex all the same along it's whole length and 2) your fibers are arranged into nervous compartments with separate motor units and therefore different parts of the muscle can be triggered according to the needs of the movement.


    #8 Please get your information from somewhere other than FLEX magazine or your russy russ booky wook textbooks.

    Actually, if you had read my original post it explains why you cannot target specific regions. And, a single muscle fiber is either contracted or it's not 'all or none principal'. While you are correct about the motor units (i mentioned the same thing) the muscle fibers that are innervated by the motor neuron are randomly spread through out the entire muscle group and NOT clustered together. Thereby making it IMPOSSIBLE to target that specific region. I do not read fitness magazines because it feeds information such as you and most other gym science people do which is more often than not incorrect. I have a B.S in Exercise Science going for a masters at the current moment.

    Thanks for playing!
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    Thats a hard area to develop imo, def a weak point for me.
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    Contrary to degrees, practical experience, and muscle mags, the fellow on the right knows how to train upper chest. Note the form and execution. Lol.
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    ^~~~ HAHAHAH! that's awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    Actually, if you had read my original post it explains why you cannot target specific regions. And, a single muscle fiber is either contracted or it's not 'all or none principal'. While you are correct about the motor units (i mentioned the same thing) the muscle fibers that are innervated by the motor neuron are randomly spread through out the entire muscle group and NOT clustered together. Thereby making it IMPOSSIBLE to target that specific region. I do not read fitness magazines because it feeds information such as you and most other gym science people do which is more often than not incorrect. I have a B.S in Exercise Science going for a masters at the current moment.

    Thanks for playing!
    During the incline bench press the pectoralis major (the main chest muscle) contracts entirely, but because you are on an incline the force from the weight is not distributed evenly across the chest and therefore the fibers of the upper "pec" are working hardest. Therefore, this exercise is performed in order to prioritize and build the upper portion of the chest.

    The motor units that make up a muscle are not recruited in a random fashion. Motor units are recruited according to the Size Principle. Smaller motor units (fewer muscle fibers) have a small motor neuron and a low threshold for activation. These units are recruited first. As more force is demanded by an activity, progressively larger motor units are recruited.

    For the muscle, intensity translates to force per contraction and contraction frequency/minute. Motor unit recruitment is regulated by required force. In the unfatigued muscle, a sufficient number of motor units will be recruited to supply the desired force. Initially desired force may be accomplished with little or no involvement of fast motor units. However, as slow units become fatigued and fail to produce force, fast units will be recruited as the brain attempts to maintain desired force production by recruiting more motor units. Consequently, the same force production in fatigued muscle will require a greater number of motor units. This additional recruitment brings in fast, fatiguable motor units. Consequently, fatigue will be accelerated toward the end of long or severe bouts due to the increased lactate produced by the late recruitment of fast units.

    Specific athletic groups may differ in the control of the motor units. Top athletes in the explosive sports like Olympic weightlifting or the high jump appear to have the ability to recruit nearly all of their motor units in a simultaneous or synchronous fashion. In contrast, the firing pattern of endurance athletes becomes more asynchronous. During continuous contractions, some units are firing while others recover, providing a built in recovery period. Inital gains in strength associated with a weight training program are due to improved recruitment, not muscle hypertrophy.

    One thing I wonder about, is if you can answer this. If all muscle groups when worked elicit the same response regardless of the type of exercise performed, how can you attribute the results someone gets from dropping one exercise and adding another to bring up a lagging body part.When the strong part of the body part stays the same size and the weak increases? eg: Bench press for Incline Press to build up a weaker upper chest.

    Question 2. What exercise regimen do you train for?

    Question 3. What does your body look like?

    In the real world the proof is in the pudding. People have theories for everything. Do they always pan out the way they think they will? No, they do not.
    A B.S. does not an expert make. I was told by a kinesiologist I was taking a class from a long time back,that the Dead lift did not work the back muscles with the exception of the ES. I asked why is my entire back so large when that is the only back work I do? She said basically that I was a liar. This while she was a marathon runner and looked anorexic and I a 240 pound weightlifter/power lifter. (In order to keep the bar close to you during the pull, your lats are acting isometrically in humeral extension and with a lot of weight,I later learned) I said, so much for that logic and the difference between your books and real world experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    During the incline bench press the pectoralis major (the main chest muscle) contracts entirely, but because you are on an incline the force from the weight is not distributed evenly across the chest and therefore the fibers of the upper "pec" are working hardest. Therefore, this exercise is performed in order to prioritize and build the upper portion of the chest.
    No. Have you doing indwelling and surface electrode electromyography research on pectoralis activation? I have. And, on an incline muscle activity in the pectoralis major was less than compared to a flat bench due to more recruit of motor units in anterior and medial deltoids. I'm not going to repeat myself why it is impossible to target the upper region of the pectoralis major.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    The motor units that make up a muscle are not recruited in a random fashion. Motor units are recruited according to the Size Principle. Smaller motor units (fewer muscle fibers) have a small motor neuron and a low threshold for activation. These units are recruited first. As more force is demanded by an activity, progressively larger motor units are recruited.
    You're correct. Motor units are recruit as needed. First are smaller (muscle fibers numbering less than 10 per motor nerve) this is for fine motor movement. The next gets larger and larger until gross motor movement is achieved. Also note that type I fibers are recruit first before type IIa fibers.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    For the muscle, intensity translates to force per contraction and contraction frequency/minute. Motor unit recruitment is regulated by required force. In the unfatigued muscle, a sufficient number of motor units will be recruited to supply the desired force. Initially desired force may be accomplished with little or no involvement of fast motor units. However, as slow units become fatigued and fail to produce force, fast units will be recruited as the brain attempts to maintain desired force production by recruiting more motor units. Consequently, the same force production in fatigued muscle will require a greater number of motor units. This additional recruitment brings in fast, fatiguable motor units. Consequently, fatigue will be accelerated toward the end of long or severe bouts due to the increased lactate produced by the late recruitment of fast units.
    First, force velocity needed is determined by mechanoreceptors (golgi tendon organ and muscle spindle) which send an impulse to the CNS which then translates the information and sends a signal to the PNS subdivided into the Somatic Nervous System which innervates the motor neuron and an action potential is generated. Force and velocity is the primary factor in determining whether type IIa fibers need to be recruited. Also, lactic acid is primarily formed from type II fibers due to the isozyme LDH which is located in the type II fiber which promotes conversion of pyruvic acid to lactic acid, which quickly dissociates its hydrogens forming lactate and in turn reducing blood pH which causes the 'burning' sensation commonly known with weightlifting.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    Specific athletic groups may differ in the control of the motor units. Top athletes in the explosive sports like Olympic weightlifting or the high jump appear to have the ability to recruit nearly all of their motor units in a simultaneous or synchronous fashion. In contrast, the firing pattern of endurance athletes becomes more asynchronous. During continuous contractions, some units are firing while others recover, providing a built in recovery period. Inital gains in strength associated with a weight training program are due to improved recruitment, not muscle hypertrophy.
    I agree 100%

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    One thing I wonder about, is if you can answer this. If all muscle groups when worked elicit the same response regardless of the type of exercise performed, how can you attribute the results someone gets from dropping one exercise and adding another to bring up a lagging body part.When the strong part of the body part stays the same size and the weak increases? eg: Bench press for Incline Press to build up a weaker upper chest.
    I'll answer this theoretically (because this is impossible, but I'm sure you can comprehend). Incline will still stimulate the pectoralis major as a whole muscle group; however, 'lower' pectoralis major only needs little stimulation to retain neural pathways and recruitment patterns, while the 'upper' chest (theoretically being more stimulated) increases in strength and/or size depending on training methods due to 'increased' stimulation and neural activation.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    Question 2. What exercise regimen do you train for?

    Question 3. What does your body look like?

    In the real world the proof is in the pudding. People have theories for everything. Do they always pan out the way they think they will? No, they do not.
    A B.S. does not an expert make. I was told by a kinesiologist I was taking a class from a long time back,that the Dead lift did not work the back muscles with the exception of the ES. I asked why is my entire back so large when that is the only back work I do? She said basically that I was a liar. This while she was a marathon runner and looked anorexic and I a 240 pound weightlifter/power lifter. (In order to keep the bar close to you during the pull, your lats are acting isometrically in humeral extension — and with a lot of weight,I later learned) I said, so much for that logic and the difference between your books and real world experience.
    I train with olympic lifts such as the clean & jerk, power clean, snatch, and power snatch; and, other lifts primarily for strength.

    I agree with you that science is always changing; however, the ideas I've mentioned on this thread have been researched for decades and proven with consistent results. I never claim to be an expert, but I am more experienced in the field than most of the gym rats. Dynamically speaking she is correct about the erector spinae as the only active superioposterior muscle during hip extension during the dead lift (also the rectus femoralis is inhibited, and the semi-tendinosus & semi-membranosus are activated), but statically the latisimus dorsi is also active in stabilizing the barbell (as you mentioned).
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    No. Have you doing indwelling and surface electrode electromyography research on pectoralis activation? I have. And, on an incline muscle activity in the pectoralis major was less than compared to a flat bench due to more recruit of motor units in anterior and medial deltoids. I'm not going to repeat myself why it is impossible to target the upper region of the pectoralis major.



    You're correct. Motor units are recruit as needed. First are smaller (muscle fibers numbering less than 10 per motor nerve) this is for fine motor movement. The next gets larger and larger until gross motor movement is achieved. Also note that type I fibers are recruit first before type IIa fibers.




    First, force velocity needed is determined by mechanoreceptors (golgi tendon organ and muscle spindle) which send an impulse to the CNS which then translates the information and sends a signal to the PNS subdivided into the Somatic Nervous System which innervates the motor neuron and an action potential is generated. Force and velocity is the primary factor in determining whether type IIa fibers need to be recruited. Also, lactic acid is primarily formed from type II fibers due to the isozyme LDH which is located in the type II fiber which promotes conversion of pyruvic acid to lactic acid, which quickly dissociates its hydrogens forming lactate and in turn reducing blood pH which causes the 'burning' sensation commonly known with weightlifting.



    I agree 100%



    I'll answer this theoretically (because this is impossible, but I'm sure you can comprehend). Incline will still stimulate the pectoralis major as a whole muscle group; however, 'lower' pectoralis major only needs little stimulation to retain neural pathways and recruitment patterns, while the 'upper' chest (theoretically being more stimulated) increases in strength and/or size depending on training methods due to 'increased' stimulation and neural activation.



    I train with olympic lifts such as the clean & jerk, power clean, snatch, and power snatch; and, other lifts primarily for strength.

    I agree with you that science is always changing; however, the ideas I've mentioned on this thread have been researched for decades and proven with consistent results. I never claim to be an expert, but I am more experienced in the field than most of the gym rats. Dynamically speaking she is correct about the erector spinae as the only active superioposterior muscle during hip extension during the dead lift (also the rectus femoralis is inhibited, and the semi-tendinosus & semi-membranosus are activated), but statically the latisimus dorsi is also active in stabilizing the barbell (as you mentioned).
    http://www.miotec.com.br/pdf/ISEK2008_0242.pdf


    http://www.edulife.com.br/dados%5CAr...20Peitoral.pdf


    http://www.baymasters.org/MorePower!.html

    http://www.angelfire.com/tx/APATX/ar...nch_Press.html

    An except from an above study
    "The Clavicular Head

    Now we all know that the incline bench hits the upper pecs. Right? Since the upper pecs seem to help to raise the arm, this would make sense. The incline position would put the arm in more of a flexed position than either the flat or decline positions. According to EMG studies this advice seems to be pretty much true. The Barnett study tells us that the incline position produces just slightly more electrical energy in the upper pecs that either the flat or decline positions. However, the flat bench was found to be very close. While the difference between the two was considered insignificant, the slight advantage of the incline over the flat bench in upper pec activation may be just what some of us need to further develop the upper pecs."
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    No. Have you doing indwelling and surface electrode electromyography research on pectoralis activation? I have. And, on an incline muscle activity in the pectoralis major was less than compared to a flat bench due to more recruit of motor units in anterior and medial deltoids. I'm not going to repeat myself why it is impossible to target the upper region of the pectoralis major.



    You're correct. Motor units are recruit as needed. First are smaller (muscle fibers numbering less than 10 per motor nerve) this is for fine motor movement. The next gets larger and larger until gross motor movement is achieved. Also note that type I fibers are recruit first before type IIa fibers.




    First, force velocity needed is determined by mechanoreceptors (golgi tendon organ and muscle spindle) which send an impulse to the CNS which then translates the information and sends a signal to the PNS subdivided into the Somatic Nervous System which innervates the motor neuron and an action potential is generated. Force and velocity is the primary factor in determining whether type IIa fibers need to be recruited. Also, lactic acid is primarily formed from type II fibers due to the isozyme LDH which is located in the type II fiber which promotes conversion of pyruvic acid to lactic acid, which quickly dissociates its hydrogens forming lactate and in turn reducing blood pH which causes the 'burning' sensation commonly known with weightlifting.



    I agree 100%



    I'll answer this theoretically (because this is impossible, but I'm sure you can comprehend). Incline will still stimulate the pectoralis major as a whole muscle group; however, 'lower' pectoralis major only needs little stimulation to retain neural pathways and recruitment patterns, while the 'upper' chest (theoretically being more stimulated) increases in strength and/or size depending on training methods due to 'increased' stimulation and neural activation.



    I train with olympic lifts such as the clean & jerk, power clean, snatch, and power snatch; and, other lifts primarily for strength.

    I agree with you that science is always changing; however, the ideas I've mentioned on this thread have been researched for decades and proven with consistent results. I never claim to be an expert, but I am more experienced in the field than most of the gym rats. Dynamically speaking she is correct about the erector spinae as the only active superioposterior muscle during hip extension during the dead lift (also the rectus femoralis is inhibited, and the semi-tendinosus & semi-membranosus are activated), but statically the latisimus dorsi is also active in stabilizing the barbell (as you mentioned).
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    Wait a minute, you might be saying, it is a fact that you can't change the shape of a muscle with training! Everyone knows that so-called "shaping exercises" are bogus, right? Well, maybe. According to Dr. Jose Antonio and author Mike Meija, there just might be something to that old idea after all. We'll let you decide.


    Bodybuilding or Body Sculpting?

    Back in the days of the Renaissance, mankind was witness to some of the greatest sculptors the world has ever known. Men like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were renowned for their abilities to take a simple object like a piece of marble and painstakingly transform it into a visual masterpiece. Fast forward to today and you'll find that modern technology has made this type of Old World craftsmanship all but obsolete. But there's still one group that appreciates such fine attention to detail: bodybuilders!

    Just walk into any gym and you'll see them laboring over every inch of their physiques, blasting their muscles with exotic exercises performed at all sorts of peculiar angles, all in an effort to ensure the most symmetrical development possible. But can they really sculpt their bodies by isolating specific parts of a muscle? Or is this just wishful thinking and a throwback to the training ideologies of the 1970s?


    A New Look at Regional Hypertrophy

    The idea of whether or not it's possible to target specific areas of a muscle is one that's been hotly contested for years. Many experts in the field of strength training feel that once a muscle has been stimulated to contract, all the fibers that comprise that muscle respond in a uniform manner, meaning that any growth will be proportional throughout the entire muscle belly.

    These experts offer little acceptance to the notion that you can activate different "regions" of the same muscle simply by varying the types of exercises you do. On the other hand, there are those who feel that it's not only possible to target specific parts of a muscle, but that doing so can actually alter the shape of the muscle!

    One such expert is Dr. Jose Antonio. Widely recognized as one of the leading researchers in the country, Dr. Antonio has recently written a comprehensive literature review on the subject of regional hypertrophy. Because the review (which appears in a recent edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research) is rather scientific, he's graciously agreed to allow me to present my interpretation of his findings to a more diverse audience. Among some of more interesting points he addresses are:

    ? Why an individual muscle can't simply be described as a compilation of muscle fibers that run from origin to insertion.

    ? Studies show that you can selectively recruit different segments of a muscle depending not only on the type of exercise you do, but how much weight you use.

    ? There's no single "best exercise" that can maximize the growth potential of a particular muscle.

    In order for you to better understand Dr. Antonio's position, I've categorized his findings into three main areas: fiber type, the compartmentalization of skeletal muscle, and electromyography (EMG) studies.

    Fiber Type: Which Twitch is Which?

    There are two basic fiber types of skeletal muscle: slow twitch and fast twitch, each of which displays vastly different properties. Slow twitch, or Type I fibers, are your endurance fibers. They're highly oxidative (meaning that they rely on oxygen as their primary fuel source), don't develop a great deal of tension, and are extremely resistant to fatigue. Next up are your fast-twitch fibers, which are subdivided into two different groups: fast oxidative glycolytic (FOG) or Type IIa, and fast glycolytic (FG) or Type IIb fibers.

    FOG fibers have both a high oxidative and a high glycolytic (anaerobic) capacity. These are the fibers you use most during activities like basketball or middle distance running. Your fast glycolytic fibers are your little powerhouses. These are the guys you call upon to run a 40-yard dash or lift a maximal weight. They contract forcefully and quickly, but fatigue just as fast. Granted, this is somewhat of an oversimplification of how the various fiber types are classified, but it'll do for the purposes of this article.

    Why do you need to know all this? Because these different muscle fibers are recruited based on your intensity of effort. In other words, how hard you're working dictates which fibers you'll rely on to complete a given task. For instance, according to the usual progression of muscle-fiber recruitment, slow-twitch fibers are recruited before fast twitch fibers. As intensity (or in this case the amount of weight you're lifting) increases, your nervous system begins to recruit fast twitch fibers to a greater degree.

    However, there are certain situations, such as when you're doing heavy negatives, where it's possible to preferentially recruit your more powerful fast-twitch muscle fibers.(7) According to Dr. Antonio, this would seem to suggest that it's possible to selectively recruit different types of fibers depending on the type of exercise you're doing.

    What makes this idea of selective recruitment even more intriguing is the fact that these different fibers are randomly scattered throughout a given muscle. Therefore, if it were indeed possible to zero in on a specific fiber type, the end result would be a non-uniform hypertrophy, which would in essence change that muscle's shape. Admittedly, this is more commonly seen with fast-twitch fibers, which tend to hypertrophy proportionately more than slow twitch, especially at heavier resistances.(1,5)

    However, as Dr. Antonio points out, this doesn't mean you should completely ignore the growth potential of your slow-twitch fibers. There may in fact be a way to train that would enable them to attain similar development. The point is, there's no single training protocol that will consistently produce growth in all your different muscle fibers. That's why it's imperative that you periodically vary the amount of weight you use as well as your set and repetition schemes in order to keep making gains.

    Compartmentalization: Divide and Conquer

    Lending further credence to this whole "target training" concept is something known as the compartmentalization of skeletal muscle or, in laymen's terms, the fact that a muscle can be divided into several distinct segments depending on how it's activated by your nervous system. As Dr. Antonio explains, "An individual muscle is more than just a collection of fibers spanning the entire muscle belly with a single muscle-nerve interaction. In other words, different portions of the same muscle can be called into play, depending on the task demands of the situation."

    A perfect example would be your trapezius, the large kite-shaped muscle that comprises a significant portion of your upper back. Because of the way it attaches to your skeleton, the trapezius can be divided into three separate regions (upper, middle and lower), each of which can be isolated by a particular exercise.(1)

    For instance, while an exercise like shrugs will hit the upper region, a rowing movement will more effectively target the middle segment of your traps. Finally, a lat pulldown, which requires you to depress, or lower your shoulder blades, will best work the lower segment of the muscle. This is just one of countless examples as to why it's important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine to ensure the most well-rounded development.

    EMG: A Closer Look

    Still not convinced it's possible to isolate certain parts of a muscle? A look at some of the research might just change your mind. In his article, Dr. Antonio refers to several studies that have used electromyography (EMG) to determine the actions of muscles surrounding a particular joint. EMG measures the electrical activity of a muscle both at rest and as it contracts.

    The fact that many muscles don't exhibit a uniform EMG response during certain exercises suggests that there's a region-specific response to resistance exercise.(2,3) In fact, one study showed that after six months of doing leg extensions, subjects demonstrated a 19% increase in size in both the upper and lower regions of the quadriceps, but only a 13% increase in the middle portion of the muscle!(8) A similar study done on the upper body found that 12 weeks of triceps training produced significant growth in the middle portion of the muscle with virtually no change anywhere else.(4)

    Perhaps the best example of regional specific EMG responses involves abdominal training. For years there's been a running debate amongst fitness professionals as to whether or not the abs can be divided into upper and lower segments. Many contend that since the main muscle of the abdominals, the rectus abdominus, is one long sheet of muscle (it runs from your pubis to the costal cartilages of your 5th, 6th and 7th ribs), that any abdominal exercise you do will stimulate the entire muscle equally. This is factually incorrect!

    It's been clearly demonstrated that the upper and lower segments of the rectus have different innervations, meaning that they can selectively respond to different exercises.(6,9) So, while a crunch will hit the upper region, reverse crunches and hanging leg raises should be included to work the lower abs. (And yes, it's okay to say "lower" and "upper" abs!)

    In addition to the EMG findings cited by Dr. Antonio, there's also an exciting new book that uses a different type of technology to show how muscles respond to resistance training. In his book, Target Bodybuilding, noted researcher Dr. Per A. Tesch uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show not only which muscles, but also which portions of the same muscle are emphasized during a variety of popular bodybuilding exercises.(10)

    The book is designed to help readers take all the guesswork out of training. Want to know how a particular grip affects biceps development? Looking for the best exercise to give your triceps that distinctive horseshoe shape? Or, maybe you're more interested in the effect that foot position has on muscle involvement during squats. Whatever the case, all you have to do is turn to the corresponding page of the book and you'll get an in depth look at the effect each exercise has on your muscles. The book is available through Human Kinetics. You can call them at 800-747-4457.

    Practical Application

    So, just what does all this mean? How can you put this information to work for you in the gym? The way I see it you've got a couple of options. Either you can isolate specific regions of a particular muscle each time you train it, or you try and cover all your bases by blasting the muscle from every angle imaginable in each workout.

    For example, let's say you're training chest. Is it better to focus mainly on the upper segment of the pecs one workout and the mid to lower segments the next? Or should you try and do at least one flat, incline and decline movement every workout? Given the fact that few of us sport perfect symmetrical development, I'd say option one is the best way to go.

    Admittedly, being able to bring those little "problem areas" up to par with the rest of your physique is intriguing, at least to me. No more being ridiculed for sub par lower lat development or weak inner calves. Besides, once you fix these little imbalances, there's plenty of time for a more well-rounded approach later on.

    Final Thoughts

    Putting all this science aside for just a moment, there's also plenty of practical evidence to support the efficacy of target training. Of all the athletes who train with weights, there's no arguing that bodybuilders consistently display the most impressive levels of muscular development. That's because, rather than train to improve their ability to perform in a given sport, the bodybuilder's primary goal is to achieve the highest degree of muscular size, shape and symmetry.

    In doing so, they realize that there's no "best" exercise, no ultimate program that will continually enable their muscles to grow. Perhaps now, the rest of us can begin to appreciate what bodybuilders have known for decades: It is possible to change the shape of your muscles! And who knows, as a result, perhaps create a physique that would make even Michelangelo jealous.

    References:

    1.Antonio, J. Nonuniform response of skeletal muscle to heavy resistance training: can bodybuilders induce regional hypertrophy? J. Strength Cond. Res. 14(1):102-113. 2000.

    2.Barnett, C., V. Kippers, and P. Turner. Effects of variations of the bench press exercise on the EMG activity of five shoulder muscles. J. Strength Cond. Res. 9:222-227. 1995.

    3.Glass, S.C., and T. Armstrong. Electromyographical activity of the pectoralis muscle during incline and decline bench presses. J. Strength Cond. Res. 11:163-167. 1997.

    4.Kawakami, Y., T. Abe, S.-Y. Kuno, and T. Fukunaga. Training-induced changes in muscle architecture and specific tension. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 72:37-43 1995.

    5.Kraemer, W.J., S.J. Fleck, and W.J. Evans. Strength and power training: Physiological mechanisms of adaptation. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 24:363-398.1996.

    6.Lipetz, S., and B. Gutin. An electromyographic study of four abdominal exercises. Med. Sci. Sports 2:35-38. 1970.

    7.Nardone, A., C. Romano, and M. Schiepatti. Selective recruitments of high-threshold human motor units during voluntary isotonic-lengthening of active muscles. J. Physiol. 409:451-471. 1989.

    8.Narici, M. V., H. Hoppeler, B. Kayser, L. Landoni, H. Claasen, C. Gavardi, M. Conti, and P. Cerretelli. Human quadriceps cross-sectional area, torque, and neural activation during 6 months of strength training. Acta Physiol. Scand. 157:175-186. 1996.

    9.Sarti, M.A., M.S. Monfort, M.S. Fuster, and M.D. Villaplana. Muscle activity in the upper and lower rectus abdominus during abdominal exercises. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehab. 77:1293-1297. 1996.

    10.Tesch, P.A. Target Bodybuilding. Human Kinetics, Champaign Ill. 1999."
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    http://apt.allenpress.com/perlserv/?...-4287(2000)014[0102%3ANROSMT]2.0.CO%3B2&ct=1

    http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/physi...ebuilding2.pdf

    Main Source: ANTONIO, JOSE. 2000: Nonuniform Response of Skeletal Muscle to Heavy Resistance Training: Can Bodybuilders Induce Regional Muscle Hypertrophy?. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 102113.

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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    No. Have you doing indwelling and surface electrode electromyography research on pectoralis activation? I have. And, on an incline muscle activity in the pectoralis major was less than compared to a flat bench due to more recruit of motor units in anterior and medial deltoids. I'm not going to repeat myself why it is impossible to target the upper region of the pectoralis major.
    The studies I have here seem to contradict you on the upper portion of the pectoralis.


    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    I'll answer this theoretically (because this is impossible, but I'm sure you can comprehend). Incline will still stimulate the pectoralis major as a whole muscle group; however, 'lower' pectoralis major only needs little stimulation to retain neural pathways and recruitment patterns, while the 'upper' chest (theoretically being more stimulated) increases in strength and/or size depending on training methods due to 'increased' stimulation and neural activation.
    It is not impossible according to your peers. It definitely affects the upper pecs more...not by much..but it still does. The decline as you will read had the greatest recruitment overall, but not in the upper portion.

    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    I train with olympic lifts such as the clean & jerk, power clean, snatch, and power snatch; and, other lifts primarily for strength.
    I like the way you train, although, for the OP's question your training is utterly irrelevant to what he wants. Not a way to increase strength or power but to build up size on a specific weak muscle. Do you have any experience in bodybuilding or sculpting where your experience and not textbook knowledge of focusing on hypertrophy has been achieved? Actually used your body as a guinea pig?

    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    I agree with you that science is always changing; however, the ideas I've mentioned on this thread have been researched for decades and proven with consistent results. I never claim to be an expert, but I am more experienced in the field than most of the gym rats.
    I agree that you have knowledge. That you are not stupid. That we have different theories based on different ideas. If you read the articles and have access to the data I have presented(this is only a small amount I admit,there is much more but it suits my purpose)I'm sure you will see that I am not the only one to think the way that I do. That they too look at it in a scientific way and are much more educated in their individual fields than either of us.
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    That's funny, because research I've witnessed and participated in myself contradiction something you just pulled up on the internet. Believe what you want, to each his own. I'm not wasting anymore time debating with you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    That's funny, because research I've witnessed and participated in myself contradiction something you just pulled up on the internet. Believe what you want, to each his own. I'm not wasting anymore time debating with you.
    Did you actually read the articles? Are they not from published works and articles by your soon to be peers? You have no respect for the credentials and objective science of other people? The links are obviously from the internet although I could go and scan the pages from the references I listed and send them to you OVER the internet and it would be the same thing, so thats a moot point. The fact that it is so easily availiable on the internet (articles and reference points) was just to prove a point on that the information is there. I will believe what I want haha I always do until proven wrong. This has been fun chum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    Did you actually read the articles? Are they not from published works and articles by your soon to be peers? You have no respect for the credentials and objective science of other people? The links are obviously from the internet although I could go and scan the pages from the references I listed and send them to you OVER the internet and it would be the same thing, so thats a moot point. The fact that it is so easily availiable on the internet (articles and reference points) was just to prove a point on that the information is there. I will believe what I want haha I always do until proven wrong. This has been fun chum.
    I perused through the articles. We could go back and forth endlessly, so there is no real reason to continue this debate as it will not change either of our conception of exercise physiology. I have respect for others which oppose my own beliefs, but I do not advocate their findings when I, myself, have found them to be incorrect.
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    Try different angles on your inclines and make sure you are getting a very deep stretch w/ each rep.

    When I do inclines it works best for me to use a very very low angle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtp217 View Post
    Try different angles on your inclines and make sure you are getting a very deep stretch w/ each rep.

    When I do inclines it works best for me to use a very very low angle.
    I would recommend this as well, when I do mine I like to follow it with dumbbell pullovers for a great chest workout. I also like to hold it at the bottom right before the press and I've noticed my chest getting great size since I started back up doing it again. I'm not going to post any dam web articles but rather you just give it a try for a week and report back your individual findings. Best of luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtp217 View Post
    Try different angles on your inclines and make sure you are getting a very deep stretch w/ each rep.

    When I do inclines it works best for me to use a very very low angle.
    Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. I like to give the muscles a squeeze when I'm at the top of the lift. I usually do dumbbells. Lately though I've been doing more flat barbell bench and less everything else, just because flat bench lets you use the most weight. I'll do 5 or 6 working sets for bench, and then maybe a few sets of incline, and maybe some pullovers at the end. Then really stretch everything out!
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatsaRoid? View Post
    I would recommend this as well, when I do mine I like to follow it with dumbbell pullovers for a great chest workout. I also like to hold it at the bottom right before the press and I've noticed my chest getting great size since I started back up doing it again. I'm not going to post any dam web articles but rather you just give it a try for a week and report back your individual findings. Best of luck.

    No doubt the pause at the bottom stretches, and is the key in my opinion to feeling it in the muscle. I mean do a couple of sets that way, you will be sore in your UPPER pecs moreso than ever!!!
    Think training's hard,. try losing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by russy_russ View Post
    I perused through the articles. We could go back and forth endlessly, so there is no real reason to continue this debate as it will not change either of our conception of exercise physiology. I have respect for others which oppose my own beliefs, but I do not advocate their findings when I, myself, have found them to be incorrect.
    The second part is true,we could. I did not say peruse though. I said read. I highly doubt that you researched the references I left.These are factual studies by superiors in your education,experience and fields of study.They have hard data to back up their claims. I have yet to see hard data to back up yours. Perhaps you can submit in your next post a PDF. file of the studies that you have conducted,how and in what way you went about it. With which machines and what the results were.Where and with whom so that all can see any opposing data that exists and make an informed decision based on the comparison. Was any of your work published? Perhaps I can find it and post it myself.
    P.S. One study by yourself is hardly objective science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonscott View Post
    No doubt the pause at the bottom stretches, and is the key in my opinion to feeling it in the muscle. I mean do a couple of sets that way, you will be sore in your UPPER pecs moreso than ever!!!
    I honestly feel lowering the weight down slow with a pause before exploding up has increased my bench dramatically. In December I posted a youtube vid of me incline benching 300 2 reps and now a week ago I flat benched 370 and inclined 330 5 reps. I'm not really maxing anymore but trying to do the most weight for reps for a strength contest me and some friends are going to do.
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    Pushups with your feet higher than your head. Seems to me they'd be called decline pushups but...Exhaust front delt like what was said earlier. I usually do body weight exercises after workout, like an exhaustive set.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatsaRoid? View Post
    I honestly feel lowering the weight down slow with a pause before exploding up has increased my bench dramatically. In December I posted a youtube vid of me incline benching 300 2 reps and now a week ago I flat benched 370 and inclined 330 5 reps. I'm not really maxing anymore but trying to do the most weight for reps for a strength contest me and some friends are going to do.
    Nice numbers,.. the negative is where the growth happens, then explode up!!! I'll get there someday!!!
    Think training's hard,. try losing!
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    Im doing inclines right, im just not seeing much growth, at all, strength is going up a bit. Maybe I should change the reps. Im trying that low pulley crossover tonight tho. Ty

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastRonin View Post
    The second part is true,we could. I did not say peruse though. I said read. I highly doubt that you researched the references I left.These are factual studies by superiors in your education,experience and fields of study.They have hard data to back up their claims. I have yet to see hard data to back up yours. Perhaps you can submit in your next post a PDF. file of the studies that you have conducted,how and in what way you went about it. With which machines and what the results were.Where and with whom so that all can see any opposing data that exists and make an informed decision based on the comparison. Was any of your work published? Perhaps I can find it and post it myself.
    P.S. One study by yourself is hardly objective science.
    I wouldn't post information solely based on my own research. I've read countless articles on research studies which have obtained similar results to my research. Those also come from people higher in educational experience than myself at the present time (PhD).
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    Thanks for the guys who actually had suggestions. The other dudes, I hope you can resolve your differences. Either way, were all brothers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinon View Post
    Thanks for the guys who actually had suggestions. The other dudes, I hope you can resolve your differences. Either way, were all brothers.

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    did you get a decent upper pec workout this time?
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    To be honest yes I did. I didn't even have to wait till the next day to be sore. Tomorrow is going to be fun. Lots of stretching

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    awesome! that's all that matters.
  

  
 

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