Building a "well rounded" chest- What exercises are necessary? - AnabolicMinds.com

Building a "well rounded" chest- What exercises are necessary?

  1. Flaw's Avatar
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    Building a "well rounded" chest- What exercises are necessary?


    Magazine after magazine and site after site I read articles about building the "perfect" "well rounded" chest. Hitting the upper, lower, outer, middle. Does it really matter what exercises your doing if your shoulder is making the same movement? Flys, dips, bench, push-ups. The same movement of the shoulders is happening so what exercise gives the ability to target one area better then another? What would make one exercise hit different parts of the chest when really the whole chest is working? It's impossible to activate one single area of the chest at a time. There's tests that can be performed to see how many muscle fibers are recruited in a exercise. I recall decline chest of any sort recruiting the most muscle activation in the chest but this does not necessarily mean your lower chest is going to be bigger then the rest of your pecs. This is primarily due to the range of motion. The truth is the more incline your chest press goes the more shoulders you activate. (increase in shoulder flexion) Eventually your to the point of a easier military press. Flys offer a great range of motion but how you respond to flys often depends on arm length. Long arms will make your bicep and shoulders take over most likely at some point. I personally like push-ups, dips, flat/decline presses, and pretty much don't believe in anything else. If your gonna train the chest get the arms out of it. Your objective is to build chest right? Now dips is obviously a arm workout as well but I like that one for overall upper body strength. How the chest develops will ultimately come down to genetics. So what do you guys think. Exercises targeting different areas of the chest, Are they bogus?
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

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  2. Army Guy's Avatar
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    First I'll attack the Flies. I am a bigger guy with long arms. I had the problem with the Bi's getting involved as well. After watching the Bob C series I was able to change my technique slightly. The DBells aren't extended as far, the elbows bend a bit more. However, this still gives and amazing stretch and I have no interference with the Bi's. I have been doing these this way for a while now and they are great.
    Second: Incline. I am unsure as to why you are feeling the way you do about this exercise. If you are using too much shoulder than there is something wrong. Try dbells. With a nice slow motion keeping the weight in play the entire set, there is a great feeling in the upper chest. I agree with you on the other exercises you like. Last tid bit... variety variety variety. Keep it moving and your muscles guessing.
  3. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Army Guy View Post
    First I'll attack the Flies. I am a bigger guy with long arms. I had the problem with the Bi's getting involved as well. After watching the Bob C series I was able to change my technique slightly. The DBells aren't extended as far, the elbows bend a bit more. However, this still gives and amazing stretch and I have no interference with the Bi's. I have been doing these this way for a while now and they are great.
    Second: Incline. I am unsure as to why you are feeling the way you do about this exercise. If you are using too much shoulder than there is something wrong. Try dbells. With a nice slow motion keeping the weight in play the entire set, there is a great feeling in the upper chest. I agree with you on the other exercises you like. Last tid bit... variety variety variety. Keep it moving and your muscles guessing.


    The only thing i've been able to do with fly's to feel my chest is take two step boards or a large stability ball to support my back to lay on while doing them with dumbells. The key for me is supporting the shoulders not burning out the arms before I even feel it in the chest. This works and I do feel it in the chest but I can't do fly's any other way. Not standing, not cable, not machine.

    The problem I have with my gym right now is they don't allow us to use stability balls in the weight area or step boards there either so I can't do flys that work! Sucks!

    I do miss doing these but magazine claims will tell you that flys give you that "ROUND" pec look. I think that just comes down to genetics on how your muscle is shaped..
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
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  4. Army Guy's Avatar
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    bunk the magazines bro and find out what works the best for you. I've done the ball before and you are right, it works well. It's probably time for some experimenting. Drop your weight to 30s and try all kinds of different angles until you find your "sweet spot" with something else. let us know what you find
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    Just from my own personal experience. I too am looking to "round" out my chest. I used to always start my workout with Flat bench, but I felt my upper chest wasn't growing enough so I started beginning my workouts with incline. I have noticed a big difference in my chest. Keep in mind the clavicular head can make you think your shoulders are getting sore, as it does for me...

    There is much much debate about being able to isolate parts of the chest. Just try switching up your routine for a few weeks and see if anything changes.
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    The idea is mainly a biomechanical principle in that the chest has several planes of motion. To fully develop the chest, all of these planes must be trained. Chest and back have the most "movement" in that they are used in several planes of motion.
    M.Ed. Ex Phys
  7. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muscledad View Post
    Just from my own personal experience. I too am looking to "round" out my chest. I used to always start my workout with Flat bench, but I felt my upper chest wasn't growing enough so I started beginning my workouts with incline. I have noticed a big difference in my chest. Keep in mind the clavicular head can make you think your shoulders are getting sore, as it does for me...

    There is much much debate about being able to isolate parts of the chest. Just try switching up your routine for a few weeks and see if anything changes.
    Do you think the growth came from just change in routine? Years of training have taught me that when mentally your tired of doing a exercise your body won't respond to it. If you tell yourself.. "god, I don't wanna do pull ups anymore" most likely your not seeing big gains in that area. You go to some dumbell rows then all the sudden BAM! Your lats exploded.

    I've been steadily climbing on my goal to 100lb flat dumbell chest presses. I started in the spring of this year. My goal is 100lbs dumbells 3 sets of 15 reps. I've hit no plateus. This is the exercise I start out with. Then after i'll do one or 2 other exercises for chest depending on my day. I'm seeing steady results. My chest overall feels well rounded. It's difficult as a guy to be satisfied with your pecs. I know very few guys that are.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
  8. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Army Guy View Post
    bunk the magazines bro and find out what works the best for you. I've done the ball before and you are right, it works well. It's probably time for some experimenting. Drop your weight to 30s and try all kinds of different angles until you find your "sweet spot" with something else. let us know what you find
    Yea.. I use low weight on the dumbell flys for sure, 25, 30's. I'm gonna try the incline presses sometime to mix it up and see how that goes. I have been contemplating a burnout set of smith machine incline barbell presses at the end of chest day to throw in too.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
  9. Muscledad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaw View Post
    Do you think the growth came from just change in routine? Years of training have taught me that when mentally your tired of doing a exercise your body won't respond to it. If you tell yourself.. "god, I don't wanna do pull ups anymore" most likely your not seeing big gains in that area. You go to some dumbell rows then all the sudden BAM! Your lats exploded.

    I've been steadily climbing on my goal to 100lb flat dumbell chest presses. I started in the spring of this year. My goal is 100lbs dumbells 3 sets of 15 reps. I've hit no plateus. This is the exercise I start out with. Then after i'll do one or 2 other exercises for chest depending on my day. I'm seeing steady results. My chest overall feels well rounded. It's difficult as a guy to be satisfied with your pecs. I know very few guys that are.
    I understand what you are saying but inclines weren't something new I started doing. I just changed the order in which I did them. It has been very hard for me going from heavy reps in flat bench to lighter weight because I am fatigued in my arms from doing inclines. Im no expert by any means, just thought I would give another option to think about. I have only been lifting about 3 or 4 years and I am still learning everyday.
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    The easiest way for me to notice different chest "activation" is by manipulating the push angle and angle of my stance/back when doing cable crossovers. You can really feel hitting different parts of the chest with the slightest changes. Though it's hard to relate that directly to the different bench angles, it definitely makes it apparent to me that Yes, you can hit different areas of the chest effectively.

    As others have said, light weight and big squeeze are the way to go, IMO.
  11. urbanski's Avatar
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    recent article on t-nation would be good reading for you
  12. dustin06MR's Avatar
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    I want to add to this that muscle.mind connection is very important for all workouts. if you are just going through the motions it will not benefit you as much as really focusing on the squeeze during reps. if you cant feel this by doing cable crossovers you should try holding for a few sec in the flexxed position. more often than not people focus on weight quantity and not proper technique. doing cable crossovers like this, after compound chest movements should light your chest up, i can actually SEE the fibers working while holding for a pause here!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    The idea is mainly a biomechanical principle in that the chest has several planes of motion. To fully develop the chest, all of these planes must be trained. Chest and back have the most "movement" in that they are used in several planes of motion.
    This.


    Also another thing to remember is correct form and the genetic principle. Some people tend not to use the correct form that works BEST FOR THEM to hit a specific area. There is a reason why one BBer will use a narrow grip on presses and another will use a wide grip. If asked, one bodybuilder might say after trial and error, a more narrow grip will work for him, while the other may say the exact opposite. This leads into the second point. Biomechanics explain alot, but one cant forget genetics. Genetically some people are affected by a variety of exercises more differently than others. Some people might get all the recruitment they need from flat presses. Others may get it from incline presses. Point is to find out what exercises work best for you, and alter them if you have to, til you recruit the muscle targeted.
  14. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanski View Post
    recent article on t-nation would be good reading for you
    That was actually a recent article that sparked my thread along with the continuous muscle magazine articles.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
  15. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brk_nemesis View Post


    Genetically some people are affected by a variety of exercises more differently than others. Some people might get all the recruitment they need from flat presses. Others may get it from incline presses. Point is to find out what exercises work best for you, and alter them if you have to, til you recruit the muscle targeted.
    I think you summed it up right there. Find what works for you and stick with it. You can alter the size of muscle by building it but genetics will determine how your muscles will shape out.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
  16. roids1's Avatar
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    Flat bench press is the king for building chest mass. For that reason, I start with it so that I can hit it fresh, using maximum poundages and intensity. I'll follow it with incline BB or DB bench, then cable crossovers for lower pecs. I will change up the exercises every w/o, switching from DB inclines for BB inclines, cable crossovers for decline bench, etc. But, flat BP is a staple for building mass.

    Pretty simple IMO. Just hit it from three different angles with 3-5 sets of each exercise, for a total of 12-15 sets per w/o.
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    Flat bench, I havent Inclined or declined for over a couple of years and my chest is solid. Now I lift PL style too.. Try INcline Low Cable Flyes... but you have to mess with the bench angle to activate different areas.. A low incline and the bench SEAT part two notches up and feet crossed is killer for your upper chest
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    Most pros start with incline DB or BB presses stating you can't have too big an upper chest. Arnold's upper chest was so thick he could place a glass of water on it. I also add incline flyes. You can see my upper chest development with a dress shirt unbuttoned to the 3rd button. Women love it.
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    Pre-exhausting the front deltoids makes my chest do more of the work, though I can't use as much weight. The pump I get in my chest after pre-exhausting the front delts is a lot fuller than normal.

    I like barbell presses because it's usually the chest exercise people can use the most weight with. Other than that, incline and flat presses are good and flyes sometimes. And pullovers for side detail.
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    Yea I'll second pullovers but I find pushups to really help build an excellent base when done to failure at end of workouts- always helps me get sore although doms isn't an indicator of growth I feel i undertrained if I dont get sore.
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    my pecs are disproportionally gigantic. Sometimes I wish they weren't so big in comparison to the rest of my body. I don't do anything but dumbell fly's with 75's and bench/db press. Nothing fancy, no constantly changing routine, etc...

    So, I believe its really related to your genetics. Some people just won't have huge shaped pecs. My genetic mishap is my forearms, no matter what I do, my forearms will NOT grow.

    ------------------------

    When it comes to flat bench DB flys, its hit or miss on form. Think about the motion in your elbows. Rather than just bringing the weights together over your body, think about "trying" to make your elbows touch. This brings your elbows angle down which puts more load on your chest and less on your shoulders than if they are 90* from your body.
  22. Flaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsterbox View Post
    my pecs are disproportionally gigantic. Sometimes I wish they weren't so big in comparison to the rest of my body. I don't do anything but dumbell fly's with 75's and bench/db press. Nothing fancy, no constantly changing routine, etc...

    So, I believe its really related to your genetics. Some people just won't have huge shaped pecs. My genetic mishap is my forearms, no matter what I do, my forearms will NOT grow.

    ------------------------

    When it comes to flat bench DB flys, its hit or miss on form. Think about the motion in your elbows. Rather than just bringing the weights together over your body, think about "trying" to make your elbows touch. This brings your elbows angle down which puts more load on your chest and less on your shoulders than if they are 90* from your body.
    Thanks for your input. I think it's important for guys to realize this. Some men are gifted in this area like you while a vast majority are not. Also if you do have a big chest sometimes you do suffer with lack there of in other areas. I have a huge back and decent chest. I get commented on my back more then anything and really all I have to do is do a couple sets of chin ups a week and it will stay the same size. When I started doing deadlifts it didn't really change the size of my back to much. Just my glutes and legs.


    Just for the sake of it I tried things I haven't done in a long time yesterday on my chest day. Now I was overly sedated and felt really weak but I started out with my usual dumbell presses on the floor. I failed to hit my reps of last week but like I said It was a off day. So anyway I decided to experiment. I did cable crossovers with the cables attached high. I haven't done them in who knows when. I did the lightest I could on the stack. 30lbs on each side. 3 sets of 10 reps. I focused on squeeze and I was trying my hardest not to activate the front delts. I seemed feel the burn on my upper outter pec. A small area. No where else really except minor bouts in my delts and arms. Was interesting. Then I decided to finish off with smith machine incline presses. 90lbs of 3 sets of 15. I still don't know about incline presses. It was a bad day but I find it very difficult to "feel" it in my upper pecs alone. More of a angled shoulder press. I will have to try it again I guess on a good day.


    T-nation just put out a article that I really like on training for taller guys. Mentions Floor presses. I am a huge fan of floor/board presses. It takes out the arms and shoulders greatly to focus on the chest. Taller guys with longer arms definetely have to train differently.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
  23. phL8Tme's Avatar
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    I like most of the comments on incline bench. I to used to start with flat benching but switched it up. I also change the width of my grip. At each level of incline, And I'll work my way down from almost a military press, I will use a shoulder width grip and then one much wider! Its like doing flys and you will be sore. CAUTION, you may have to drop some poundage at first when switching to a wide grip.

    I also do incline bench flys, weight varies, but elbows are only slightly bent. I will do 1 set of 8-10 depending on how I feel, at every position/angle.

    One thing I see lots of people missing @ the gym is decline presses, and decline flys! Dont skimp on these for a lerge, protruding rounded looking chest.
  24. Flaw's Avatar
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    I've been mixing it up lately from all the input and I haven't had much success with incline. Tried incline smith machine with light chest activation but a lot of shoulders and arms. Later with a friend did barbell incline bench press and it was very very uncomfortable. The Bench seemed very small and it felt like I the bar was a foot behind my head on lift off. It felt completely like a shoulder press once I got it off and it destroyed my front delts and my neck muscles. My friend who is short 5' 7" seemed to have good chest activation but not me. I was struggling on dips at the end cause my front delts were done from basically military pressing 135lbs and I've never gone that heavy before. My neck was sore for days.

    So I don't know about incline. I may try dumbell incline fly's or presses as my last option.

    I tried some standing cable flys with some "tree hugging" techniques and that worked really well having the cables up high. So, so far not a whole lot of progress but I'm happy to like standing fly's again. I just needed the right angle and technique.
    ôLord, whom shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life"- John 6:68

    WHAT has science offered?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flaw View Post
    I've been mixing it up lately from all the input and I haven't had much success with incline. Tried incline smith machine with light chest activation but a lot of shoulders and arms. Later with a friend did barbell incline bench press and it was very very uncomfortable. The Bench seemed very small and it felt like I the bar was a foot behind my head on lift off. It felt completely like a shoulder press once I got it off and it destroyed my front delts and my neck muscles. My friend who is short 5' 7" seemed to have good chest activation but not me. I was struggling on dips at the end cause my front delts were done from basically military pressing 135lbs and I've never gone that heavy before. My neck was sore for days.

    So I don't know about incline. I may try dumbell incline fly's or presses as my last option.

    I tried some standing cable flys with some "tree hugging" techniques and that worked really well having the cables up high. So, so far not a whole lot of progress but I'm happy to like standing fly's again. I just needed the right angle and technique.
    I would stick with it for a lil while and mess around with different grips,( i do my grip very wide on incline ). If you are not used to doing incline, it should feel very uncomfortable, but the more you do them, the muscle memory kicks in, and you'll be able to control the weight better, as well as the tension to the targeted area.

    You could also try a superset technique I used to do a few years back when I first got into college, every time I felt my chest development was plateau'ing. Grab some DB's for flys, and put them beside the bench you will be doing presses on. Hit a set of presses, and after that set, no rest, hit a set of DB flys. Rest, then repeat for a few more sets. You wont be able to do as much weight but your chest will feel ungodly sore the next day.
  

  
 

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