lagging chest

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    No offense taken. Everyone is an expert on the internet anyway, and I realize that goes both ways.

    I have had (and seen) the opposite experience as you with dumbbells. To each their own I guess. I would love to see what you're doing differently, but unless you live in the northeast part of the country, that's not likely to happen. Let me know if you are near Southern Maine/New Hampshire.

    Balanced? LOL! I'm a powerlifter, and don't worry too much about balance from an aesthetic point of view. Functionally... yes, for injury prevention and performance, but you know how that goes with your history.

    FWIW, I consider 3 years of training if not a beginner, fresh into intermediate. Ha, 3 years in I don't think I was even at a 200 lb bench yet and thought of 315 as territory of the gods, lol. Beginner, intermediate, advanced... that's just semantics and it doesn't matter, however, it was only because of this classification that I pigeon holed him into what I did, I would not recommend the same for someone with, say, 10+ years of training experience.

    Seems like you have plenty of valid experience. I get the feeling that if we were talking in person we may agree more than disagree. Most of the successful body builders, strength coaches, and powerlifters that I've spoken with or know all tend to believe fairly similar things. Regardless, to each their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJPopovich View Post
    No offense taken. Everyone is an expert on the internet anyway, and I realize that goes both ways.

    I have had (and seen) the opposite experience as you with dumbbells. To each their own I guess. I would love to see what you're doing differently, but unless you live in the northeast part of the country, that's not likely to happen. Let me know if you are near Southern Maine/New Hampshire.

    Balanced? LOL! I'm a powerlifter, and don't worry too much about balance from an aesthetic point of view. Functionally... yes, for injury prevention and performance, but you know how that goes with your history.

    FWIW, I consider 3 years of training if not a beginner, fresh into intermediate. Ha, 3 years in I don't think I was even at a 200 lb bench yet and thought of 315 as territory of the gods, lol. Beginner, intermediate, advanced... that's just semantics and it doesn't matter, however, it was only because of this classification that I pigeon holed him into what I did, I would not recommend the same for someone with, say, 10+ years of training experience.

    Seems like you have plenty of valid experience. I get the feeling that if we were talking in person we may agree more than disagree. Most of the successful body builders, strength coaches, and powerlifters that I've spoken with or know all tend to believe fairly similar things. Regardless, to each their own.
    lol well thats kind of how it goes. After 3 years of training I was very, very strong for my weight class. It shows how we all develop differently. I agree about his experience though, I definitely wouldn't put him in the same category as someone with 10 solid years experience either and would also classify him as most likely an intermediate..just not a greenhorn rookie heh.

    I might make it to Maine to try some Lobster sangys one day
    I also agree with your main tenements as our personal goals are more similar than the OP's. Personally if I was under 220 I would feel anorexic haha. One thing that neither of us can argue with is results...we need to lock this guy in a lab cage for a while
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    I feel like my chest has really just started filling out. For a long time I was mostly a flat bencher. After getting to 315 for 3 sets of 10 and still not seeing the size I wanted, I dropped all my normal chest stuff and just starting hitting incline work. Only incline work.

    I have 3 exercises I love - incline BB, hammer strength incline and smith incline.
    Every chest workout I pick two of them. I rock the first one for as long as I can. 5-10 sets usually - lots of time under tension. I've found that 30-45 seconds with a much weight as I can handle is the way to go. For me that means slower rep speed instead of more reps but I believe (no research to support this) that genetics - specifically muscle fiber %s and limb size - dictate the best way to reach that time under tension.

    Second exercise I just up the reps and drop the weight and rest time. 6-10 sets, really really light weight (like 185 on the bar), and 60-90 seconds rest.

    Thats it. I started getting comments from coworkers after 2 weeks of doing this.
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    Sounds great. Keep up the good work. I'm glad i learned about doing incline first earlier on when i was lifting. After first doing it i just stayed doing mostly incline and did flat bench mostly just for stability and for a wider grip, plus i did lower weights and just did 3 sets of reps between 12-15.
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    The best advice for the poster is to eat more. Eat like a horse and that chest will grow!
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    Despite all this good information and experienced opinions, I have yet to see anyone give him some tips in form. Form is what (is currently) changing everything in my chest development. In fact..my shoulders were getting huge (for my size), and my chest started to seriously lag behind. I had to do something quick before this problem got outta hand. So this is what I did - I changed my form on the bench.

    Typically, I would have a normal to wide grip on the bench in any case - flat, incline or decline. When I completed my press, I noticed my shoulders would extent a few inches past my chest and my arms would have a light lockout at the elbows. Basically, because of this particular form - I initiated the outer edges of my pecs, ALL of my front delts, and the last few inches of the press were completely using delts and tri's. Therefore, my arms are 15"+ and shoulders look like bowling balls yet my body weight is only 157lbs or so..(I'm 5'4") Yet my pecs were only decent at the edges near the pit. The inner pecs both lower and upper were pathetic IMO. So I researched and made some changes. To get extra development in the other areas of my chest, I did this:

    1) Instead of wide grip I went to shoulder width grip. This will allow the inner/mid pec zones to be used during the press.

    2) I deliberately pressed my shoulders into the bench as I did the presses. To do this your chest will naturally stick out a little more, creating an arch in your back. ( Not a huge arch tho)

    3) I don't lock out my arms at the elbows. The "lockout" so to speak happens with my pecs by making an ultra-squeeze near the end of the press. All the while, focusing hard on keeping my shoulders below my chest throughout the whole press.

    So there you have it. Narrowing the grip engages parts of the pecs not commonly used on bench. Sticking your chest out and drilling your shoulders into the bench put less emphasis on the delts and more emphasis on the pecs. And finally, refusing to lockout at the elbows saves some gas in the tank for your triceps and again..puts more emphasis on the pecs rather. Try it! I actually use this technique for ALL my chest routines now. Crap I don't need bigger delts! They're good til I hit at least 165lbs, lol. So give it a whirl and let me know how much it pumps your pecs up buddy! My last chest routine was 3 days ago and I'm still very sore from it now. Here's what it looked like:

    Wide-grip Hammer Strength Machine (Heavy) 3x10
    Decline Bench 3X10
    Flat DB Bench 2x8
    Decline DB Flyes + Presses - Burnout set
    Lying Stay Ball Cable Flyes 2X15, 1x10
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    You are correct, but scapular retraction (pinching shoulder blades together) should be done regardless of goals, benching without doing that is begging for an injury. I should have mentioned it, very few people actually lift like that, especially beginners/intermediate. Good catch on your part and good post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion
    Despite all this good information and experienced opinions, I have yet to see anyone give him some tips in form. Form is what (is currently) changing everything in my chest development. In fact..my shoulders were getting huge (for my size), and my chest started to seriously lag behind. I had to do something quick before this problem got outta hand. So this is what I did - I changed my form on the bench.

    Typically, I would have a normal to wide grip on the bench in any case - flat, incline or decline. When I completed my press, I noticed my shoulders would extent a few inches past my chest and my arms would have a light lockout at the elbows. Basically, because of this particular form - I initiated the outer edges of my pecs, ALL of my front delts, and the last few inches of the press were completely using delts and tri's. Therefore, my arms are 15"+ and shoulders look like bowling balls yet my body weight is only 157lbs or so..(I'm 5'4") Yet my pecs were only decent at the edges near the pit. The inner pecs both lower and upper were pathetic IMO. So I researched and made some changes. To get extra development in the other areas of my chest, I did this:

    1) Instead of wide grip I went to shoulder width grip. This will allow the inner/mid pec zones to be used during the press.

    2) I deliberately pressed my shoulders into the bench as I did the presses. To do this your chest will naturally stick out a little more, creating an arch in your back. ( Not a huge arch tho)

    3) I don't lock out my arms at the elbows. The "lockout" so to speak happens with my pecs by making an ultra-squeeze near the end of the press. All the while, focusing hard on keeping my shoulders below my chest throughout the whole press.

    So there you have it. Narrowing the grip engages parts of the pecs not commonly used on bench. Sticking your chest out and drilling your shoulders into the bench put less emphasis on the delts and more emphasis on the pecs. And finally, refusing to lockout at the elbows saves some gas in the tank for your triceps and again..puts more emphasis on the pecs rather. Try it! I actually use this technique for ALL my chest routines now. Crap I don't need bigger delts! They're good til I hit at least 165lbs, lol. So give it a whirl and let me know how much it pumps your pecs up buddy! My last chest routine was 3 days ago and I'm still very sore from it now. Here's what it looked like:

    Wide-grip Hammer Strength Machine (Heavy) 3x10
    Decline Bench 3X10
    Flat DB Bench 2x8
    Decline DB Flyes + Presses - Burnout set
    Lying Stay Ball Cable Flyes 2X15, 1x10
    Thumbs up n thanks to everyone. This turned into a really great thread. So much information. Sorry for late response just started using Am again n loving it!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by UGHQTempus View Post
    I feel like my chest has really just started filling out. For a long time I was mostly a flat bencher. After getting to 315 for 3 sets of 10 and still not seeing the size I wanted, I dropped all my normal chest stuff and just starting hitting incline work. Only incline work.

    I have 3 exercises I love - incline BB, hammer strength incline and smith incline.
    Every chest workout I pick two of them. I rock the first one for as long as I can. 5-10 sets usually - lots of time under tension. I've found that 30-45 seconds with a much weight as I can handle is the way to go. For me that means slower rep speed instead of more reps but I believe (no research to support this) that genetics - specifically muscle fiber %s and limb size - dictate the best way to reach that time under tension.

    Second exercise I just up the reps and drop the weight and rest time. 6-10 sets, really really light weight (like 185 on the bar), and 60-90 seconds rest.

    Thats it. I started getting comments from coworkers after 2 weeks of doing this.
    I have had the same experience. I love to work the incline.It is a great way to develop mass. Great post I think everyone can benefit from taking your approach.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
    Despite all this good information and experienced opinions, I have yet to see anyone give him some tips in form. Form is what (is currently) changing everything in my chest development. In fact..my shoulders were getting huge (for my size), and my chest started to seriously lag behind. I had to do something quick before this problem got outta hand. So this is what I did - I changed my form on the bench.

    Typically, I would have a normal to wide grip on the bench in any case - flat, incline or decline. When I completed my press, I noticed my shoulders would extent a few inches past my chest and my arms would have a light lockout at the elbows. Basically, because of this particular form - I initiated the outer edges of my pecs, ALL of my front delts, and the last few inches of the press were completely using delts and tri's. Therefore, my arms are 15"+ and shoulders look like bowling balls yet my body weight is only 157lbs or so..(I'm 5'4") Yet my pecs were only decent at the edges near the pit. The inner pecs both lower and upper were pathetic IMO. So I researched and made some changes. To get extra development in the other areas of my chest, I did this:

    1) Instead of wide grip I went to shoulder width grip. This will allow the inner/mid pec zones to be used during the press.

    2) I deliberately pressed my shoulders into the bench as I did the presses. To do this your chest will naturally stick out a little more, creating an arch in your back. ( Not a huge arch tho)

    3) I don't lock out my arms at the elbows. The "lockout" so to speak happens with my pecs by making an ultra-squeeze near the end of the press. All the while, focusing hard on keeping my shoulders below my chest throughout the whole press.

    So there you have it. Narrowing the grip engages parts of the pecs not commonly used on bench. Sticking your chest out and drilling your shoulders into the bench put less emphasis on the delts and more emphasis on the pecs. And finally, refusing to lockout at the elbows saves some gas in the tank for your triceps and again..puts more emphasis on the pecs rather. Try it! I actually use this technique for ALL my chest routines now. Crap I don't need bigger delts! They're good til I hit at least 165lbs, lol. So give it a whirl and let me know how much it pumps your pecs up buddy! My last chest routine was 3 days ago and I'm still very sore from it now. Here's what it looked like:

    Wide-grip Hammer Strength Machine (Heavy) 3x10
    Decline Bench 3X10
    Flat DB Bench 2x8
    Decline DB Flyes + Presses - Burnout set
    Lying Stay Ball Cable Flyes 2X15, 1x10
    Have you tried changing the order of the exercises? Another suggestion would be the variation of grips, with dumbbells can stimulate growth. Instead of wide grip db press. Turn the grip parallel, it will work the interior of the chest. Decline push ups , and weighted dips. Mix it up to max out.
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    hey hungry4more, i had this problem in my early years of lifting, one thing you might want to try is the mind/muscle connection, it is where you use a wieght where you resist the wieght on the way down and contract your chest muscles all the way up, this method is mostly used with dumbells and cable and machine work, if you find yourself using more of your arms and back and not resisting and contracting the musce group you are trying to work and get bigger your probably using too much wieght, although heavy weights are good at times for a change of pace and to shock the muscle from time to time, using the mind/muscle connection with the muscle group is very important, using heavy wieght all the time can lead to injury and your just gonna build your arms and shoulders rather than your chest, also remember your nutrition, this is equally important to build up those muscles. change your routine from time to time, lke doing your incline dumbell presses, falt bench presses but change the last exercise with dips, flyes, cable crossovers, pullover,etc. or change from starting with incline presses first to flat bench presses first and alternate from each workout, leave your ego at the front door! dont go into the gym just to lift the heaviest things possible! your just gonna waste your time! yeah its impressive but your not gonna get anywhere but tired. i woud like to post my email to talk to you more in depth and to keep in touch withyou more to track your progressand try to help you out as much as possible but my rep power isnt high enough.
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    If you have large shoulders and a small chest, your problem is purely bench form. You should be pinching your shoulder blades into the bench, using a grip a few inches outside your shoulders, and make sure you keep your elbows tucked in toward your body at roughly 45 degrees. If you are flaring your shoulders out, then not only are you incorporating more deltoid, but your putting your rotator cuff under alot of stress, which is prob why you started the other thread regarding your rounded back.

    You need to re-learn how to bench press is my best guess, once I did this personally, my chest blew up
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    Quote Originally Posted by Movin_weight View Post
    If you have large shoulders and a small chest, your problem is purely bench form. You should be pinching your shoulder blades into the bench, using a grip a few inches outside your shoulders, and make sure you keep your elbows tucked in toward your body at roughly 45 degrees. If you are flaring your shoulders out, then not only are you incorporating more deltoid, but your putting your rotator cuff under alot of stress, which is prob why you started the other thread regarding your rounded back.

    You need to re-learn how to bench press is my best guess, once I did this personally, my chest blew up
    I agree completely. Work on the form , and the growth will follow. I took my son off the bb flat bench and went dumbells exclusively until his form got better. Now his chest is blowing up and he sees the results.
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    Quote Originally Posted by musclehead24
    hey hungry4more, i had this problem in my early years of lifting, one thing you might want to try is the mind/muscle connection, it is where you use a wieght where you resist the wieght on the way down and contract your chest muscles all the way up, this method is mostly used with dumbells and cable and machine work, if you find yourself using more of your arms and back and not resisting and contracting the musce group you are trying to work and get bigger your probably using too much wieght, although heavy weights are good at times for a change of pace and to shock the muscle from time to time, using the mind/muscle connection with the muscle group is very important, using heavy wieght all the time can lead to injury and your just gonna build your arms and shoulders rather than your chest, also remember your nutrition, this is equally important to build up those muscles. change your routine from time to time, lke doing your incline dumbell presses, falt bench presses but change the last exercise with dips, flyes, cable crossovers, pullover,etc. or change from starting with incline presses first to flat bench presses first and alternate from each workout, leave your ego at the front door! dont go into the gym just to lift the heaviest things possible! your just gonna waste your time! yeah its impressive but your not gonna get anywhere but tired. i woud like to post my email to talk to you more in depth and to keep in touch withyou more to track your progressand try to help you out as much as possible but my rep power isnt high enough.
    Thanks man good stuff just pm me if ur Rep isn't high enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by Movin_weight
    If you have large shoulders and a small chest, your problem is purely bench form. You should be pinching your shoulder blades into the bench, using a grip a few inches outside your shoulders, and make sure you keep your elbows tucked in toward your body at roughly 45 degrees. If you are flaring your shoulders out, then not only are you incorporating more deltoid, but your putting your rotator cuff under alot of stress, which is prob why you started the other thread regarding your rounded back.

    You need to re-learn how to bench press is my best guess, once I did this personally, my chest blew up
    Thanks man really appreciate all ur posts. It's nice to talk to people who actually have a wealth of information under there belt. I can't even tell you how many successful trainers I talked to that could tell me Jack. So I think with all this new information and tips I'm finally on to the right path.
  

  
 

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