Chest Training Tips...

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Bigmikey, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Bigmikey

    Bigmikey Internet Pacifist.

    I get asked, often, "how do I do this" or "what do you do for that". Well I was asked today "what do you do for chest?" by someone who was having trouble getting their chest to respond to training and felt it was their weak spot. I thought I'd carry that conversation over here as there may others who struggle with the same problem

    First and foremost I always look to bench grip when people tell me they are having trouble with their chest. Often people are using a grip thats too narrow. The narrower the grip, the more emphasis is placed on the Triceps and less on the chest. I typically recommend going as wide as you can when doing barbell bench press (unless you WANT to place the load on the triceps) for two reasons: 1) it shortens the distance the bar travels, decreasing the amount of time under load for each rep and allowing an INCREASE of weight to be moved or an increase of proper reps and 2) it makes the role of the triceps as minimal as it can be and places the majority of the work squarely on the chest.

    Likewise, however, if Triceps are the lagging part of the puzzle, switching to a more neutral grip will force them to work harder during each rep and add a fair bit of stress to them making for extra growth!

    Another thing I recommend is using dumbells. Dumbells can provide a wonderfully painful way of pushing your chest to that next level of development be it strength or size you're after. But presses alone wont do the trick. The problem with presses is that the Triceps usually fail before the chest does. Your chest is STRONG, it really is, even on the most board-chested of you. Look at how much bigger it is compared to triceps? It's MEANT to move weight and it can take a pounding.

    Ever watch someone get stuck benching or have it happen to you? Notice how its always in about the same place? That bar comes up, off the chest and then just BAM - sticks like glue for a second before it sloooooowly begins its descent onto your chest again, lol. The point at which this occurs is the point where the triceps are largely on their own. The chest really hasn't kicked in fully yet, and the front delts arent' doing much more than applauding and offering moral support. The triceps are usually the weak link in any successful bench attempt.

    So, how do you take the triceps out of the equation if your chest is suffering? Well, I recommend combining two exercises into one. By supersetting DB presses with DB flies you can push your chest MUCH further than with presses alone.

    NOTE: Before someone runs out and breaks themselves in half trying to do flies with the same weight they do presses with, please understand that dropping weight as needed is KEY to getting enough good reps out of the flies. Pushing a heavy weight and only getting 2 or 3 reps isnt going to cut it. So drop a bit and get another 6-8 solid reps.

    Another trick for you gym goers is Incline Cable Flies. This exercise is AWESOME for upper/outer chest development. The reason being, there is no real let-off point where the weight is neutral in the hands. Those cables are literally PULLING your hands down. So now its not like a static weight at all! Plus, not having dumbells to worry about allows you to really push yourself to failure, giving that chest as much punishment as it can take! I swear by this exercise for stubborn chests.

    And much like the BB bench press, let those arms open wide and low, really stretch them out. Keep the elbows pointed at the ground the whole time to ensure you're not torquing the shoulders any, and just spread your wings you beautiful little peacock you!


    But seriously, if anyone is suffering from a lagging chest there are some GREAT tips to help get it back on track. I think next I'll tackle stubborn triceps and complete the circle.... thoughts?

  2. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    When I was a BB I worked almost exclusively with the DB Press and DB Flys and with great success.

    I also feel many sacrifice a good look for the want of a heavy lift and a decent flat bench press.

    It only takes an inch or so on the upper chest to lift your t-shirt away from the body and create the illusion of a much larger chest.

    Slow, squeeze at the top of the motion and mental muscle was my approach. Strict form too is important. No good wriggling just to get the bar up.
  3. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    i got a great response from doing 'flye aways' for my upper/over all chest development.

    on an incline bench i did a set of strict flyes, when i fatigued (note i did NOT say failed) i went straight into bent arm flyes, again when i fatigued i went straight into presses with no lock out.

    my experience in training primarily for hypertrophy is very limited though so take it what its worth.
  4. Katsu

    Katsu Banned Banned

    Mate please when you train chest your putting immense pressure on your triceps say with benchpress why would you want to go as wide a possible you want to go just wider than shoulders. In fact training chest with as many grips close, wide, shoulder.

    Lagging triceps close grip bench press is king

    listen you want chest to fail first out of the deltiod, chest, triceps, trio what you do is flyes weaken them and isolate them first then do set on chest then like magic they fail first.

    you talking rubbish by the way almost right is still almost wrong
  5. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I am willing to bet Mikey is considerably better put together than you are, and stronger too - so if its all the same ill take his advice over some trolling no mark
  6. Bigmikey

    Bigmikey Internet Pacifist.

    Lol.... here we go. The problem with your theory is that in two DECADES I've never known anyone to get a monster bench (and, hand in hand) a monster chest from flies first. The reason? Unless you're doing flies with 100 pound dumbells you simply cant put enough load on the muscles for a great enough duration to spur true growth. You'll have a nice, shapely, perky chest, but it really wont be much stronger than it is. Why? Because flies are universally considered a SHAPING exercise. You do them light, you do them RIGHT and you squeeze at the top and you'll get a nicely shaped set of B cups.

    Arnold was a big fan of flies... AFTER bench. He'd routinely destroy chest after heavy bench by running the rack doing flies. Franco was the same. Even guys like Ronnie coleman use a modified dumbell press over flies. Why? Because they can't afford to NOT have the biggest and strongest chest possible. If your theory was right, FLIES would be the great staple, and not bench press. But its not, is it?

    But lets set the BBers aside. Walk into any power lifting gym in the country and I'll give you 10 bucks for every guy over 250 that's doing flies as part of their regular workout. Likewise, you give me 10 for every one NOT doing them. Then give me another ten for every guy in there who tells you "Big chest? Wide grip bench."... its ok... I'll wait. Take your time. I'll get my paypal information ready for you.

    I wont come at you the way you came at me with comments like "maybe thats how they do it on Trollonia, you're home planet" or "Little guys always like to take a pot shot at the big guy in the room" etc... because my father always said "never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience". Wise man, dad was. Instead I'll say flies are a great exercise for the right place and given the right set of goals. If you truly want MASS in the chest then you need to do a MASS building exercise and flies are NOT on that list.

    Read up a bit more my rambunctious friend, break the 275 lb BW ceiling, blow past my 455 raw bench, no spot and then we'll talk. If you're doing that with FLIES... it may be a while... but like I said, I'll wait.... :)
  7. NinjaPlease

    NinjaPlease Ninjas always say Please.

    Good post. :)
  8. Bigmikey

    Bigmikey Internet Pacifist.

    Just in case anyone is curious. This was taken about 6 months ago, when I was till training HKD, right before my surgery. I'm small here, for me, but I think it still proves I'm not a little fella... lol...

  9. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Pwnd is the correct phrase I am led to believe!
  10. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    I can't see Mikey's goodies! :(

    All I get is "you're not authorised to view this image".
  11. Katsu

    Katsu Banned Banned

    I could'nt cars less about your 455 raw bench obviously your like to brag about what you can do what I meant in my post was flies first then straight into benchpress pre-exhaustion.

    You know so you creating a weak link in the chain everybody knows flies is no mass builder purely for shaping that's pretty basic stuff I'm no power lifter and I don't train like a power lifter and I'm no troll either I just disagree what you said.
  12. Katsu

    Katsu Banned Banned

    like you know me why do you feel like you need to get involved ?
  13. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Because its a public forum son - sorry if that wasn't explained clearly to you
  14. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Probably because you are acting like an eejit.

    Wind your neck in a bit and things may go a little smoother for you on here.
  15. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Can't see the photo either!

    Do I want to? You're not wearing one of those dodgy g-strings that body builders wear are you Mikey? :)
  16. Katsu

    Katsu Banned Banned

    Ok dad yeah I'll try and behave from now on
  17. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Good lad!

    In seriousness I am sure you have much to share - you just might want to look at how you share it!
  18. Katsu

    Katsu Banned Banned

    sorry I doubt I have any Martial Arts knowledge I find it interesting no offence meant in any posts I can be a bit abrupt I will tone it down from now on.
  19. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    It's all good! ;)

    I can be a right jackass when the mood takes me!
  20. Bigmikey

    Bigmikey Internet Pacifist.

    You really need to tone down the way you come at people and then maybe you wont come off as a troll. I have more time in the fitness industry than I bet you have doing most anything else. And it's not bragging when its true. Stating facts is simply that. I can back up what I say all day long. I have pics to prove it. Do you?


    See, pre-exhaustion is a great weider principle, which I've written about, in detail. I am a fan. HOWEVER, as a rule, flies aren't the best method of doing that. Presses would be better than those. So while I agree with the principle, I disagree with the exercise chosen. You simply can not apply enough load to create a great enough overload scenario and its only through overload that true growth is accomplished. But you're missing the basic point here: Flies, even pre-exhaustion, wont help a lagging bench or lagging chest as DIRECTLY as a wider grip bench will.

    Narrow grip = tricep, wide grip = BIG, STRONG, WIDE chest. If you dont believe me, try it. It's that simple. I recently decided to stop criticizing things I haven't tried yet until Ive given them my personal best attempt. It's changed the way I look at things. I lay that challenge at your feet. If you dont agree, give it a try. See what happens. Get a nice wide grip. Dont be STUPID about it. I mean it has to be within reason. Reaching all the way out the bearings wont do any good. I generally like to keep my fingers near the end of the knurl. It lessens the distance the bar has to be moved and that conserves energy for better lifts. A nice squeeze on the way up, a slight pause at the top to really contract those pecs and then lower again. A shoulder width bench is simply too narrow to be effective at placing the bulk of the load on the pecs. Thats not my opinion, thats physiological fact. It goes all the way back to Arnie and the boys. Argue with them if you want, lol... if THEY Change their mind, I might change mine :D
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012

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