There’s no need to plug the merits of a ripped chest. It’s the benchmark for a strong core and an aesthetically pleasing physique. It’s no wonder that guys grind away at their pectorals in the gym, with varying results. If you want to build a chest like a champion, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.
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Tri-ing Too Hard
Beware your tricky triceps. During presses, it’s easy to recruit too much triceps action by allowing your elbows to travel too close to your torso.
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Be careful if your workout schedule indirectly hits pecs around your chest day. Maybe try arms one day so you hit triceps, which assist pecs in press movements—the other day shoulders, where your upper pecs will help a lot too. The main key is that you do NOT train those muscle groups back-to-back with your pecs day.
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Mind Your Weight
You pick the right basic moves and you can pile on a lot of weight. The problem could be that your weight is so heavy you need to use your shoulders and triceps more than your pecs to lift it up; if that’s the case, you might need to go lighter. Also, try turning the flat bench into a decline bench by raising your butt off the bench, it will help you develop nice lower pecs, not high, round Arnold pecs.
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Your Wires Are Crossed
Cable cross flyes can easily turn into a press if you’re leaning all your bodyweight into them. What’s more, the bad form makes it easier to bounce the weight during the peak contraction. There’s a better way to do presses: with press movements.
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Know Your Weak Links
You have weak links that stop you from progressing. For instance, weak rear shoulder muscles like infraspinatus and teres minor. These help the shoulders stay where they’re supposed to (pulled back). You might have a winged scapula, which means your shoulder blade is flaring out due to weak subscapularis or serratus anterior. A solution for the latter is to do a lot of great pushups.
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Make sure you use dumbbells as well as barbells. You always have a dominant side, which will take over most of the work from the weaker side of your body. A great way to achieve strength increases is by prioritizing this before bilateral work.
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Feel the Burn
Don’t let your mind drift away during workouts, you’ll forget to feel the muscle. You should picture your chest muscles contracting as you push through your set. Remember, mind is matter.
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Back Them Up
The antagonist to the pecs is the big, wonderful latissimus dorsi. You need to keep the lats strong, but also flexible so they don’t inhibit your pecs strength.
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How steep is your angle on your incline bench? If you’re up too straight, you’ve just marred Chest Day with a front shoulders workout. Put your bench on a 30° angle and feel the difference.
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Don’t Depend on Machines
Don’t let your ego keep you glued to machines. Yes, you can use more weight on them than with free weights, but you also recruit fewer of the stabilizing muscles leading to imbalances. Machines are supplemental to free weights and should not be used as a replacement unless you end up at a hotel gym where the only option is a machine. In that case, do tons of pushups and one-arm pushups to balance it out.