Best Overall Chest Development Excercise
- 02-10-2003, 03:46 PM
- 02-13-2003, 02:09 AM
Okay, this is what I was looking for, from Cackerot69 @ wannabebigforums.com
"The existence of the so-called "upper", "lower", "inner" and "outer" pectorals along with the assertion that it is possible to isolate one or more of these to the relative exclusion of the others in training, are among the most firmly entrenched myths in Strength Training and Bodybuilding circles. In fact none of these truly exist as either separate and distinct muscles or regions in a functional sense. Even though it could be argued that there appears to be a structural distinction between the upper and lower pectorals (and some anatomy texts do in fact support this distinction though not all do) because the pectoralis-major does originate from both the sternum and the proximal or sternal half of the clavicle along it’s anterior surface (it also has connections to the cartilages of all the true ribs with the frequent exception of the first and seventh, and to the Aponeurosis of the external oblique muscle), this is considered to be a common (though extensive) origin in terms of the mechanical function of the muscle. Thus the pectoralis-major is in fact for all practical purposes one continuous muscle with a common origin and insertion, and functions as a single force-producing unit. The terms upper, lower, inner and outer are imprecise and relevant only in order to make a vague subjective distinction between relative portions of the same muscle for descriptive purposes. They are vague and imprecise terms because there is no clearly delineated or universally defined border between them.
Further it is not physically possible either in theory or practice to contract one region of a single muscle to the exclusion of another region or regions (as a Biomechanics Professor of mine once demonstrated to a bunch of us smart-ass know-it-all’s taking his course, using EMG analysis). When a muscle contracts it does so in a linear fashion by simultaneously reducing the length of its constituent fibers and thus its overall length from origin to insertion. Even where a single muscle is separated into multiple functional units that are clearly defined such as the triceps (which are referred to as “heads” by Anatomists and Biomechanists), because they share a common point of insertion in order for one head to shorten all must shorten. This only makes sense if you think about it because otherwise there would be “slack” in one when the other shortened, which as we know does not occur. Note that there are some special cases where one head of a muscle must actually lengthen when the other shortens (e.g. the posterior head of the deltoid in relation to the anterior head during the positive stroke of fly’s), the point however is that even in these special cases there is no “slack” because there is in fact contractile activity (whether concentric or eccentric) throughout the muscle.
That is not to say however, that all fibers in different areas, or heads are necessarily shortened to the same degree during a particular movement. Depending on the shape of the muscle, the joint geometry involved, and the specific movement being performed, fibers in one area of a muscle or head may be required to shorten more or less than in others (or even to lengthen) in order to complete the required movement. For example during a decline fly though muscle fibers in all regions of the pectoralis-major must shorten as the upper arm is drawn towards the median plane of the body, because of the angle of the arm in relation to the trunk the fibers in what we commonly refer to as the lower pecs will have shortened by a greater percentage of their overall length than those in the upper region of the muscle by the completion of the movement. Conversely when performing an incline fly there is greater shortening in the fibers towards the upper portion of the muscle than in the lower.
Many proponents of the so-called “isolation” approach to training claim that this proportionally greater shortening of the fibers equates to greater tension in the “target” region than in others, and therefore stimulates greater adaptation; but this is completely at odds with the cross-bridge model of muscle contraction which clearly shows that as fiber length decreases tension also declines due to increasing overlap and interference in the area of the cross-bridges. Some also contend that the fibers called upon to shorten to a greater degree tend to fatigue faster than others and that therefore there is greater overall fiber recruitment in the region where this occurs, and thus a greater stimulus to growth; but there is no evidence to suggest that a fiber fatigues faster in one position than in another in relation to other fibers in the same muscle. In fact it has been shown that Time Under Tension (TUT) is the determining factor in fatigue and not fiber length. In fact fiber recruitment tends to increase in a very uniform fashion throughout an entire muscle as fatigue sets in.
The ability to “isolate” a head, or region of a muscle to the exclusion of others by performing a particular movement, or by limiting movement to a particular plane and thus develop it to a greater degree, is a myth created by people who wish to appear more knowledgeable than they are, and has been perpetuated by trade magazines and parroted throughout gyms everywhere. It is pure non-sense and completely ignores the applicable elements of physiology, anatomy, and physics in particular. Quite simply the science does not support it, and in most cases is completely at odds with the idea.
Regardless of the science however, many people will remain firmly convinced that muscle isolation is a reality because they can “feel” different movements more in one region of a muscle than in others. This I do not dispute, nor does science. There is in fact differentiated neural feedback from motor units depending on the relative length of the component fibers, and this feedback tends to be (or is interpreted by the brain as) more intense when the fibers in question are either shortened (contracted) or lengthened (stretched) in the extreme. However this has to do with proprioception (the ability to sense the orientation and relative position of your body in space by interpreting neural feedback related to muscle fiber length and joint position) and not tension, fatigue, or level of fiber recruitment. Unfortunately it has been seized upon and offered up as “evidence” by those looking to support their ideas by any means available.
Muscle shape is a function of genetics and degree of overall development. As you develop a muscle towards its potential, it does change in appearance (generally for the better) but always within the parameters defined by its inherent shape. A person who tends to have proportionately more mass towards the upper, lower, inner or outer region of his or her pectoralis-major will always have that tendency, though it may be more or less apparent at various stages in their development, and in most cases appears less pronounced as overall development proceeds. That is not to say that training a muscle group from multiple angles is totally without value. In fact we know that even subtly different movements can elicit varying levels of fiber recruitment within a muscle in an overall sense (i.e. in terms of the percentage of total available fibers) due to differences in joint mechanics, and neural activation patterns, as well as varying involvement of synergistic and antagonistic muscle groups involved. So by all means experiment with different angles in your training, but don’t expect to be able to correct so-called “unbalanced” muscles this way, or to target specific areas of a particular muscle. Work to develop each of your muscles as completely as possible and shape will take care of itself. If you want to worry about “shaping” you should pay more attention to the balance between different muscle groups and work to bring up any weak groups you may have in relation to the rest of your physique."
Keep in mind he's not saying not to vary your exercises, but rather a better explanation of why "isolation" of the chest isn't what alot think it is.
- 02-16-2003, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by sage
how so? I mean, from what grip to what? Sage
i found by changing my grip furthur in to just slightly wider than shoulder-width (how its supposed to be), my max press went up 20lbs, and over the span of several weeks my chest started getting bigger than ever... before it just sat stagnant...
i now do 4 sets of flat and 3 sets of incline... on my incline barbell i grip REALLY wide to focus hard on the shoulders... and its helping... i just don't know how many sets to do on my upcoming fina cycle
02-21-2003, 08:14 AM
serious? dips are great, fantastic, wonderful....but is really dips the only chest exercise you do? SageOriginally posted by wojo
i personally will never ever use a bench again..nothing does it for chest like dips..imo..upper body squat!!!!!!
02-21-2003, 03:47 PM
Biggin said the other time he prefers incline DB because
I was wonderin, is muscle development truly a product of or genetics? I used to think it was lifting style, but now I'm not so sure. Let me explain.This is partially due to my arm length, partially due to personal preference, and partially due to the fact that my lower pec area easily outpaces anything near my clavicle.
I'm am so jealous that Biggin said his lower chest outpaces everywhere else. For as long as I have ever lifted, no matter how much decline press, decline flies, dips, lower cable cross, upper cable cross, etc., my lower chest has NEVER been close to the rest of my chest. Meaning, there is never a line, and it is always sloppily blending into the rest of my torso. HOWEVER, my upper chest has always been perfect, completely square, easily defined, pumped, and naturally full. This means, if you see only my upper chest, you'll think my chest was in excellent shape, but if you saw the lower, you would think my chest needed major shaping.
Because of this, I have always tried to experiment with every possibility to build both mass and shape. The only thing I can NEVER make myself change though, is that I will always do my favorite and foremost effective excercise first - incline DB. Since I began lifting, I have religious performed this excercise even when all else changes, and I always do this one first.
My question is, is it because of my upper chest work ethic since day 1 that there is a huge discrepancy? Or is it just a coincidence. For some people, certain PARTS of certain muscles are completely inconsistent. Because of how my muscles are, it is hard to convince me there is not as great a *distinction* between upper, lower, outer, and inner as the "myth" has it. If on a scale my upper chest is 10 out of 10, (my innerchest is also very good, a 9), then my lower chest is a 1 and my outer chest is hardly better than a 2. (I never did a day of butterflies or an excercise *focusing* on inner chest.)
The same discrepancy exists for my lats and traps. While it is uncommon, I do behind-the-neck pulldowns first, since the first day I lifted. Today, my traps and rhomboids are good regardless of what I do, even if I ignore them for awhile. However, my lats never have shape, length, width...even if I do every lat excercise I can think of, then mix them up.
Does anyone out there have uneven development in major muscle groups (while working out methodically with the right techniques long-term - switching up the routines, and short-term techniques - varying intensity, etc.)???????
P.S. To make my point, I will try to find a camera and crop out my upper chest, and lower chest separately. You will think they're from different people. I want to know if I it's *just* me. It's kind of like some people can't get their calves in proportion with their quads...only for me it's disproportionality in the same muscle. I now skip flat db or bb and only do decline press, dips, flies, and or cables, all for lower or outter chest. Still can't get it looking close to the rest of my body.
02-21-2003, 06:55 PM
i voted for flat bb.... reason why i said this is because it is a good compound exercise.. i tried goign without it for a while and only doing upper and lower as separate isolative exercises.. but after a while i noticed my chest was growing kind of wierd.. when i moved back to flat bb as well as the other two it seemed to make my chest more symmetrical.. as far as packing on mass i think incline db is pretty damn good
02-24-2003, 11:06 PM
03-13-2003, 02:02 PM
external rotator cuff exercises. yes i know this seems weird, but here's why: most of us have extremely weak external rotators and if we were to strrengthen them to proper levels, we would not have muscle imbalances which prevent our chest from growing and getting stronger. i personally have an extremely strong back, but weak extrenal rotators and i found that focusing on this has helped my bench (which is my pick for best exercise if all other muscles are in balance). oddly enough my friend also found this helpful even though his back muscles are weak. his results were phenomenal, similar (actually better) than the article from which i got this from:
what you are looking for is the may 14,1999 article by charles poliquin titled achieving structural balance
yes i know that t-mag usually sucks, but this is from before they sold out and any of the articles in their archieves by charles poliquin, ian king, paul chek, and charles staley are good (i don't bother with the others, but if one wanted to, just remember that biotest owns testosterone (t-mag) and you may have to ignore some hype).
03-16-2003, 03:37 PM
Never again will I do a BB movement for chest - I stopped them a year ago. I stick to flat DB press and dips.
My chest is growing like crazy..
05-03-2004, 07:09 PM
05-05-2004, 01:10 AM
05-08-2004, 11:16 PM
05-12-2004, 06:14 PM
I once saw a list of exercises.. and a rating of the amount of muscle fibers they recruit and how much hypertrophy comes from each one. I don't know how accurate it was.
But decline barbell bench press was the highest for chest
05-13-2004, 01:24 PM
I'm a sucka for the flat barbell.....I don't think you can go wrong with some incline dumbell presses though
05-24-2004, 12:10 AM
weighted dips and decline barbell press
and i concur with its chest-focus... the decline hits my pecs like you wouldnt believe... i get off a volume group of declines, hit the military presses and then dips and i am WASTED...
05-30-2004, 07:37 PM
FLAT BARBELL BENCH PRESSES HERE! For some reason people are scared to admit they use this exercise WTF?? Its not a part of the big three lifts for no reason.
Last edited by COLOSSUS; 06-02-2004 at 08:54 PM.
05-30-2004, 07:41 PM
05-31-2004, 03:08 AM
06-27-2004, 04:50 AM
i do mix of exercises.............
6 sets of flat bech
6 sets of incline bench
6 sets of deline bench
3 sets of incline dumbels
and finaly cross cabel cheast flys
06-27-2004, 07:55 AM
07-07-2004, 10:09 PM
Dumb newbie question: Most of you guys seem to prefer incline dbs. I usually start of with the flat bb presses and then move to incline and decline db presses. Is that okay?
07-08-2004, 05:38 PM
god bless the hammer strength dip machine..god i love that piece of equipment..althought the nautilus is great too
07-13-2004, 09:56 AM
07-16-2004, 04:59 PM
My favorite chest movements are pretty simple:
Dips, no added weight until failure
07-19-2004, 02:00 PM
definitely agree on the flat bench db flyes... nothing gets the inside of my chest like thoseOriginally Posted by bigpetefox
07-27-2004, 04:12 PM
I find changing my grip on the bench works as well, I used to powerlift, and some habits do die hard, now I still have the muscle to lift more weights than your average girl But bench press,
07-27-2004, 04:20 PM
I was surprised to see inclined dumbbell on top. I do flat dumbbell and voted inclined barbell,but guessed inclined barbell was voted #1,because of the heavier weight used.
07-31-2004, 12:28 PM
u guys that like flyes should try this.try using one arm at a time and bringing ur arm across ur chest little over the middle then back it off then begin ur other arm towards the middle of ur chest and a little over(this would work good with cables) this takes a little practice but will def feel a much bigger contraction which is what u really want imo
07-31-2004, 12:32 PM
08-12-2004, 10:06 PM
I have never realu understood how incline presses can work your chest as effectively.
Everyone knows that the higher the incline the more you utilise your shoulders.
So what does thie mean?
Flat presse ( primarly chest)
Incline ( priomarly shoulders and chest)
Now seeing as you are incorportaing another major muscle, the weight on inclines should go up stubstantialy, should it not?
it should , unless the emphasis is being taken off the chest. That is the problem with inclines. I remember reading a study ( i am sory not to quote it ) that talked about chest effort on flat/incline/decline.
It talked about incline havily taking the effort off the chest and I think flat press gave something like 30 - 40% more stimualtion ( how they quantify this is anyones guess).
Everyone thinks it puts more effort on the upper chest and in away this is true, but its realy just taking the effort of the lower chest.
So flat presses were best for upper and lower chest, while Inclines were better for shoulders, equal fopr upper chest and worse for lower chest.
Only reason i would use Incline as a primary mover is if my lower chest was overly developed or i realy wanted to work on shoulders.
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