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Benchpress Chest discussion


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DB Bench-

 

70 x11

70 x9

70 x9

70 x7

80 x3

 

DB Incline-

 

60 x10

60 x9

60 x7

60 x8

60 x7

 

Elevated/Regular Pushups-

 

4x max reps

 

Machine Fly-

 

140 x9

110 x10

110 x10

110 x8

 

Dips-

 

6 x max reps

weighted 45 x3 reps

 

Skull Crusher-

 

45 3x10

 

Pushdown-

 

50 3x10

 

Wow you have clearly surpassed my crappy bench. I don't get my bench problems. My back is strong, my legs are strong, but my chest just isn't there. I was f*&kin with 50 lb db's yesterday for inclines, sigh. I just don't feel it in my chest, I feel it all in my tri's. Any tips for chest?

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I just don't feel it in my chest, I feel it all in my tri's. Any tips for chest?

 

A good place to start is dumbbell flyes. I felt this is what made my chest grow the most. The form is tough at first, but if you keep your elbow bent at the right angle throughout the movement you should feel it stretch pretty well. If you are doing presses, experiment with coming out a little bit wider during the eccentric phase of the lift. Also, focus on keeping your elbows "back"... try to eliminate them from pulling in towards the body which incorporates the triceps more.

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I just don't feel it in my chest, I feel it all in my tri's. Any tips for chest?

 

A good place to start is dumbbell flyes. I felt this is what made my chest grow the most. The form is tough at first, but if you keep your elbow bent at the right angle throughout the movement you should feel it stretch pretty well. If you are doing presses, experiment with coming out a little bit wider during the eccentric phase of the lift. Also, focus on keeping your elbows "back"... try to eliminate them from pulling in towards the body, which will incorporate the triceps more.

 

 

I don't really think that will help him build strength in a bench press, definition, yes.

 

I got my bench up from 135 to 165 in a few months using a 5x5 routine...you might try that. Also, if you want to isolate the chest more, you can do it ronnie coleman style and dont do a full extension of the arms, I never tried that though.

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I don't really think that will help him build strength in a bench press, definition, yes.

 

I got my bench up from 135 to 165 in a few months using a 5x5 routine...you might try that.

 

Just trying to explain how to better isolate the chest to get more pectoral muscle fiber stimulation... which will in turn build a bigger and stronger chest. Zack is right though, getting stronger has alot to do with routine, but, if you're using more secondary muscles than intended your strength and growth with the major muscle group will be hampered. Pressing exercises recruit the tricpes in a big way, where as flyes use little, and focus more on the chest. IMO, form and technique first.

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but, if you're using more secondary muscles than intended your strength and growth with the major muscle group will be hampered.

 

Exactly, I found it better for getting my bench numbers up to stick with barbell bench, rather than db.

 

I do believe DB is better, but to get the weight up, barbell works pretty nice. I have no trouble developing my chest on either though so...

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Zack said:

Exactly, I found it better for getting my bench numbers up to stick with barbell bench, rather than db.

I can't resist putting my .02 in on this one, because I never made serious progress until I switched from BB to DBs... For several years, I made little to no progress doing incline, flat, and decline presses. Dumbell Flys as well. Turns out I was using my triceps and shoulders to move the weight, not my chest. I think some people intuitively know how to stimulate their chest while pressing, and others don't (this would be ME. for SEVERAL years...). I think Troy and Zack are good examples of people who either intuitively get this, or had someone explain it along the way.

 

xveganjoshx said:

I was f*&kin with 50 lb db's yesterday for inclines, sigh. I just don't feel it in my chest, I feel it all in my tri's. Any tips for chest?

This was totally my situation about about a year ago. I had been working out off/on for close to ten years, and even though I had nice back, shoulders, triceps and biceps, I couldn't make substantial gains in my chest. The problem for me was that I never learned to use my chest contraction to move the weight. The way I remedied this, was by reverting to lighter weights, switching to DB pressing excercises almost exclusively, and by using the following techniques:

 

1) I would say the first step is to learn to isometrically contract your chest muscles. For instance, press your palms against each other with your elbows slightly bent, and concentrate on using your chest muscles to press the palms together. Move your elbows up and down slightly, and your palms closer/further from your body, until you can feel a really intense chest contraction. When you're doing this right, you should be able to get a VERY INTENSE contraction in your chest. Get familiar with this contraction.

 

2) Okay, next I would say try incline pressing some light weight... You said you're doing 50lb DBs now, so try maybe 30 or 35 for this. Once you are in position for your first rep, RETRACT YOUR SHOULDERBLADES behind your back, against the bench. Did you get the part about retracting your shoulderblades? Just making sure because I read this about a thousand times from a hundred different places, and I never really explored it.

 

3) So you're set up at the bottom of your press. I would recommend upper arms parallel to floor at this stage in the learning process. Pause, retract your shoulderblades together, and think about contracting your chest, like in the isometric contraction that you performed earlier...

 

4) DON'T CONCENTRATE ON MOVING THE WEIGHT! Concentrate on contracting your chest muscles!!! As you contract them... Figure out how to use the CHEST CONTRACTION to move the weight. This may mean moving your elbows up or down slightly. This may also require you to to keep the weights FURTHER APART at the top of the press. I find it helpful to always keep my forearms perpindicular to the floor.

 

When you find the right combination of "elbow angle" and "width at top of press", you will be able to stop just short of lockout and contract your chest LIKE YOU'VE NEVER FELT BEFORE!!! If you are not experiencing this, please go back to part #1 and begin again...

 

Once you learn to use your chest contraction to move the weight, you will probably have to go lighter on all your chest excercises. This is hard to deal with from a ego standpoint, but if you really learned the points outlined above, you will be rewarded very shortly.

 

I spent several years working out with VERY LITTLE improvement in my pressing excercises. I was stuck flat pressing 55lb DBs and Incline Pressing 45lb DBs for A LONG TIME. I never could get past 175lbs doing BB flat press. I tried different routines and set structures, but until I learned how to move the weight using chest contraction, no substantial progress was made.

 

FYI, I am now Incline Pressing 90lb DBs and Flat Pressing 85lb DBs. Obviously I am not saying to this to brag, since these are not particularly impressive weights. I am just saying that in about a year of practicing the above techniques, I have made a whole lot of improvement.

 

Hope this helps,

-Chris

Edited by LongTimeVegan
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Maybe this is completely besides the point but...

How many triceps(or ones that involve tri) and how many chest exercises do you do weekly? Maybe your triceps are still a bit fatigued when benching thus they get hammered before chest does? Or maybe not enough chest exercises?

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Zack said:
Exactly, I found it better for getting my bench numbers up to stick with barbell bench, rather than db.

I can't resist putting my .02 in on this one, because I never made serious progress until I switched from BB to DBs... For several years, I made little to no progress doing incline, flat, and decline presses. Dumbell Flys as well. Turns out I was using my triceps and shoulders to move the weight, not my chest. I think some people intuitively know how to stimulate their chest while pressing, and others don't (this would be ME. for SEVERAL years...). I think Troy and Zack are good examples of people who either intuitively get this, or had someone explain it along the way.

 

xveganjoshx said:

I was f*&kin with 50 lb db's yesterday for inclines, sigh. I just don't feel it in my chest, I feel it all in my tri's. Any tips for chest?

This was totally my situation about about a year ago. I had been working out off/on for close to ten years, and even though I had nice back, shoulders, triceps and biceps, I couldn't make substantial gains in my chest. The problem for me was that I never learned to use my chest contraction to move the weight. The way I remedied this, was by reverting to lighter weights, switching to DB pressing excercises almost exclusively, and by using the following techniques:

 

1) I would say the first step is to learn to isometrically contract your chest muscles. For instance, press your palms against each other with your elbows slightly bent, and concentrate on using your chest muscles to press the palms together. Move your elbows up and down slightly, and your palms closer/further from your body, until you can feel a really intense chest contraction. When you're doing this right, you should be able to get a VERY INTENSE contraction in your chest. Get familiar with this contraction.

 

2) Okay, next I would say try incline pressing some light weight... You said you're doing 50lb DBs now, so try maybe 30 or 35 for this. Once you are in position for your first rep, RETRACT YOUR SHOULDERBLADES behind your back, against the bench. Did you get the part about retracting your shoulderblades? Just making sure because I read this about a thousand times from a hundred different places, and I never really explored it.

 

3) So you're set up at the bottom of your press. I would recommend upper arms parallel to floor at this stage in the learning process. Pause, retract your shoulderblades together, and think about contracting your chest, like in the isometric contraction that you performed earlier...

 

4) DON'T CONCENTRATE ON MOVING THE WEIGHT! Concentrate on contracting your chest muscles!!! As you contract them... Figure out how to use the CHEST CONTRACTION to move the weight. This may mean moving your elbows up or down slightly. This may also require you to to keep the weights FURTHER APART at the top of the press. I find it helpful to always keep my forearms perpindicular to the floor.

 

When you find the right combination of "elbow angle" and "width at top of press", you will be able to stop just short of lockout and contract your chest LIKE YOU'VE NEVER FELT BEFORE!!! If you are not experiencing this, please go back to part #1 and begin again...

 

Once you learn to use your chest contraction to move the weight, you will probably have to go lighter on all your chest excercises. This is hard to deal with from a ego standpoint, but if you really learned the points outlined above, you will be rewarded very shortly.

 

I spent several years working out with VERY LITTLE improvement in my pressing excercises. I was stuck flat pressing 55lb DBs and Incline Pressing 45lb DBs for A LONG TIME. I never could get past 175lbs doing BB flat press. I tried different routines and set structures, but until I learned how to move the weight using chest contraction, no substantial progress was made.

 

FYI, I am now Incline Pressing 90lb DBs and Flat Pressing 85lb DBs. Obviously I am not saying to this to brag, since these are not particularly impressive weights. I am just saying that in about a year of practicing the above techniques, I have made a whole lot of improvement.

 

Hope this helps,

-Chris

 

Great post!!!

 

I work with a trainer now so she's good at pointing out when I'm using my shoulders (too much). Your explanation of how to concentrate on contracting chest muscles is really good. I retract my shoulder blades and pull my shoulders down and back before any chest exercise. It's really helped me to concentrate on my chest.

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When you find the right combination of "elbow angle" and "width at top of press", you will be able to stop just short of lockout and contract your chest LIKE YOU'VE NEVER FELT BEFORE!!!

 

A very good post, and I think that this part needs special attention. For me, how I feel my chest being used with dumbbell work is very much determined by the elbow angle and width at the top of the press. If I press with the DBs perpendicular as in a barbell style, my shoulders and triceps do too much work. If I press with palms in, it's primarily triceps (which I intentionally want most of the time, but that's a different story ), but if I want to feel like my chest is doing the bulk of the work, I need to hold the DBs at a 45 degree angle. Anything else and I'm always feeling like my triceps and/or shoulders are too active, so the angle can REALLY make a big difference. I'm not a great bencher by any means, don't expect to be, but when I want to feel like my chest is being used as much as possible, I do need to take the angle into consideration as you've stated here. Good stuff!

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