Best Overall Chest Development Excercise
02-05-2003 02:09 AM
Originally from ~jAmez~ at BB.com, a great post:
When many ppl talk about the "bench press", they mean the "BARBELL bench press". Many ppl claim the barbell bench press is "king" for chest. Let's examine this claim.
In short, the barbell bench press IS a great exercise to build up a solid chest. However, it is NOT without equals.
The problem with bench pressing with a barbell is that your body's natural "pushing" motion follows an arc.....gripping a barbell forces u to push in a straight line. When the body tries to push in a straight line, this causes a "sticking point" in the lift (1,2).
What happens at this "sticking point"? Well, the load alternates bewteen the pecs, shoulders, and triceps because of the mechanical disadvantage ur body is placed in. EMG studies have shown that the delts and triceps spasm erratically during the "sticking point" as the body struggles to both lift and support the weight in this biomechanically-disadvantaged position (1). In short, tension is taken away from ur pecs.
Experienced lifters who use heavy weights overcome this "sticking point" by generating muscular force at the start of the lift to "explode" the weight thru the sticking point to begin the lift (3). From a bodybuilding standpoint, it has been suggested that "explosive" lifting is counterproductive to hypertrophy because the muscles are not kept under a constant tension (4).
EMG analysis that compared muscle fibre stimulation in the pectorals among chest exercises found that the flat bench dumbbell press was slightly better than the flat bench barbell press, with 87% versus 85% (5). The decline dumbbell press actually finished tops with a reading of 93%.
So as we can see, the barbell bench press is not perfect. BUT IT IS STILL A DAMN FINE EXERCISE IN ITS OWN RIGHT. However, if somebody chooses not to barbell bench press, they should not be ridiculed because this exercise has equals--if not superiors.
It should be noted, also, that muscular analysis has shown that SOME FORM of benching is tops for the pecs, be it with a barbell or dumbbells......so the BENCH PRESS (regardless of "weapon of choice") is at the peak of the chest exercise heap....and if u can perform some benching exrcises without injury, then YA SHOULD!
(1) Elliot, Wilson & Kerr " A biomechanical analysis of the sticking region in the bench press". Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise Vol.21, No.4, pp450-462 (1989)
(2) "Computerized biomechanical analysis of the bench press and the leg press exercises". Universal Fitness Research Department, Technical Report Uni-2, 1974.
(3) Lander, Bates, Sawhill, and Hamil "A comparison between free weight & isokinetic bench pressing". Med & Sci in Spt & Ex. Vol.17, no.3,pp344-353 (1985)
(4) Tesch, Komi, Hakkinen. "Enzymatic adaptions consequent to long-term strength training" Int Journal of Spts Med. no. 8 pp 66-69, 1987.
(5) Bompa and Cornacchia. "Serious Strength Training". Human Kinetics, 1998.
I will try to find another link he has regarding "separate" training of "lower" and "upper" pecs, and how this relates to the sternal and clavical head of the pectoralis major. Some great info, this guys knows his stuff.
02-05-2003 12:16 PM
flat bench db presses did more for me overall but its a toss up with incline...i use 'em both and change up with bb flatbench. i dont know if its the way the incline benches are built at my gym or what but that really bothers my shoulder. when i do incline bb on the smith machine no-problem-o. i also like db because i get a better range of motion and stretch than with a bb.
02-05-2003 01:43 PM
Benz that sounds like an awesome idea. I think im gonna try that. Im not gonna try flat bench dumbells at all because in that article jweave posted they are only 2percent better and i have weak triceps so with dumbell excercises my triceps get hit a lot so i think ill try incline bench then incline dumbell press after that.
Benz, know what excercises arnold prefered for his chest?
02-05-2003 03:48 PM
In response to your comment about db vs bb flat bench Pjorstad, I personally find it much easier to control the db's with only my chest muscles, and in my opinion these db movements would be more ideal if you have weak tri's, so that your tri strength isn't the limiting factor. With a bar I am much more likely to begin recruiting tri's more and more as the sets progress (see Weave's article on fiber recruitment and sticking points). So, I personally feel that db's afford you much better control, hence the possibility for more proper isolation if tri's are indeed a weak point. With db's as well, my range of motion is greater (which is good for the long arm apish freaks like myself) and I can personalize the movement to place less stress on my joints (I find that at the bottom of the movement, if I rotate the db's slightly in almost a "dip" fashon, so that they run more parallel to my body, I am able to keep anterior delts out of the movement to a much greater degree, my wrists/elbows do not suffer, and I can get a much improved sensation with my pecs).
02-05-2003 04:10 PM
Thanks biggin. I have weak chest too but since triceps are a small muscle group and my shoulders are fairly strong in comparison to what they should be for mychest and triceps im probably best to try more dumbell work.
Heres what im gonna do then. Im sticking with flat bench as always as i believe thats a good OVERALL mass builder for shoulders triceps and chest but not really any group in particular. But on saturday im gonna do incline dumbell press then flat dumbel press.
Im on cycle so im working every muscle group 2 times a week. I might not do until my 2nd week because i always get really sore the first week as my blood levels try to peak If im not sore or only very very minor soreness then ill work it again this week.
Thanks biggin for the help.
02-05-2003 05:34 PM
Incline db press did it for me.
02-06-2003 07:18 PM
Personally I'll say Incline DB is the best of the bunch. Always got the best feeling in the chest from it and noticed better gains when prioritizing this area. But close behind these are inc or dec flys. I believe DB flys without the upper part of the motion(where the chest rests) are pretty damn decent movment. They give my chest an incredible pump and are great for the whole mind muscle thing.
But exercize selection is a real person choice.
02-08-2003 03:50 PM
i found just changing my grip on the flat bench helped out a helluva lot on my chest...
i don't have dumbells except for one adjustable one that accepts olympic plates... and it won't do it by itself on presses; i need another one
(don't ask, it was a christmas present and someone thought there were two in there )
02-08-2003 06:40 PM
how so? I mean, from what grip to what? Sage Originally posted by Bean i found just changing my grip on the flat bench helped out a helluva lot on my chest...
02-08-2003 08:57 PM
hell yeah, incline db still leading the way... this is interesting stuff. yeah bean do tell about your grip change
02-10-2003 03:46 PM
i personally will never ever use a bench again..nothing does it for chest like dips..imo..upper body squat!!!!!!
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
the whole time i've been working hard to gain weight correctly since last February i've been gripping at the each line on the barbell; this is a VERY wide grip for my bodysize... 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? Sage Originally 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
Personally I like flat bench dumbs
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
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