Bringing Up A Sub-Par Chest

bringing up a sub par chest

Bodybuilders love to bench press. It’s a movement which allows one to demonstrate his strength, and pump up most of the upper body at the same time. Chest, triceps, and shoulders all receive stimulation from this very useful movement, and body mass grows as a result of its use. In some individuals, however, the movement does lead to problems in chest development. Whether it be due to short arms, chest shape, muscle insertion locations, or just plain lifting technique and feel, many bodybuilders develop great shoulders and triceps, but poor triceps, as a result of using the bench press.

When this occurs, it can be an irreversible problem. Great bodybuilders such as Lee Priest and Kevin Levrone, and more recently Phil Heath, all have suffered from a genetically narrow chest, which causes their triceps and shoulders to grow from chest movements. As a result, they possess some of the best arms and shoulders in the history of the sport, coupled with a torso that looks like it belongs on an NPC middleweight.

If you’re new to bodybuilding and you’re beginning to notice an imbalance, you should ease back on the benching. There are many other chest movements which can build the chest up without placing as much emphasis on the shoulders and triceps. Dumbbell presses, dips, butterfly machine, hammer strength movements, pullovers, and other are useful for isolating the chest. You won’t gain as much mass as you would with straight benching, but you will grow your chest.

If you’re an intermediate bodybuilder and you see your triceps and shoulders overpowering your pectorals, it’s definitely time to act! Stopping the problem now will mean you’ll place better at shows and grow without any imbalances, which could lead to injuries and time away from the gym. Saturate the inner chest with dumbbell flyes – flat, incline, and decline – at the start of every workout. Push-ups are also useful for feeling the tension of the inner chest. Most importantly, work on feeling the inner chest tense up with every repetition you do. If you are able to flex that area, blood will rush there from your other body parts, causing inner pectoral growth.

Advanced bodybuilders should already possess a decent level of mass, and will just need to focus their resources into isolating the pectorals. Adjust your training to focus upon isolation movements which succinctly target the chest without involving the shoulders or triceps. Begin your chest day with cable crossovers and incline dumbbell flyes. After 7 or 8 sets of these, your chest will be on fire and your triceps and shoulders will not yet be stimulated to any meaningful degree.

Finally, you should be realistic in your expectations for improvement. There will always be some people, such as the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, who possess a thick and wide chest from the age of 14. There will always be others, such as the aforementioned Phil Heath, who will look narrow due to their bone structure no matter how they train. Use the methods listed above to develop the best chest you are capable of building.