Nothing screams ultra-masculinity like a set of majestic pecs. Because of this, we all love training chest muscles and believe we are really good at it. But are we? The truth is that building this popular muscle requires smart tactics and a superb training program adjusted to individual needs, because more often than not, lifters are not getting the most out of their chest workouts. Many guys will blame their genetics for their failure to sculpt a great chest, but it’s more likely that the real reason is their fixation on flat bench presses and dumbbell flyes, while ignoring a vast number of more effective exercises.
Whilst it’s arguably the most popular muscle to train due to the nature of the exercises and the excellent pump you get, many lifters are not getting the most out of their chest day. Simply focusing on your chest and hitting it with most weight possible won’t cut it – pushing your pecs into new growth can be a real challenge that can only be tackled with great techniques that will ensure every muscle fiber gets completely exhausted, thereby intensifying the gains.
Read the article below to learn the common mistakes that usually rob lifters of achieving their fullest
#1. Too Much Bench Pressing
Focusing solely on pressing movements is perhaps the most common and one of the most debilitating mistakes lifters make when trying to develop their pecs. Whether it’s a barbell bench press, incline bench press, flat bench press or the classic dumbbell flyes, if you’re overdoing it, it won’t work. All pressing movements are identical in the way they target your pecs and cannot be used to give your chest a full workout.
Mix things up with proven isolation exercises, try using machines, and make sure to hit your chest from as many different angles as possible by employing different grips. Don’t forget – full range of motion is key to activating as many muscle fibers as possible.
#2. Avoiding the Upper Chest
Lifters who fixate on bench presses usually have a weird habit to undertrain their upper-pec region and deny themselves the possibility of building a thicker, fuller chest. When properly trained your upper pecs, or the area from your clavicles to halfway down your chest, will give your torso a higher appearance and really complete that masculine, strong and healthy aesthetic you’re looking for.
The easiest way to prioritize your upper pecs is by doing more incline work, while exercises such as the decline press will emphasize your lower pecs. Even though you technically can’t isolate your upper and lower chest, there are exercises that will help you to effectively target either part.
#3. Overdependence on Machines
Are you one of those guys who just seems stuck to the machines? If yes, you definitely want to take some time off and dedicate to free weight training. Machines are incredibly useful, for sure, but for great results, you should avoid over-depending on them. Needless to say, free weights need to make up the majority of your workout. This type of training will build your stabilizer muscles, including all core muscles, which will allow you to work with higher weights and reap more gains.
In addition, you will be able to change different angles and maximize resistance. Don’t shy away from the barbell – you can use it for a myriad of both classic and modern serious-growth-inducing exercises. When it comes to the machines, though, you can always leave room for a couple of machine flyes or hammer strength presses in your chest routine. Machine exercises also work great as workout finishers to completely fatigue your chest, for example with brutal drop sets.
#4. Neglecting Proper Form
You’ve probably heard this a billion times, but we simply can’t stress enough the importance of proper form and technique for strength training. There’s a great reason why learning these things is considered the starting point of every athlete’s journey, and if you don’t take them seriously, you’re at risk of painful injuries that will keep you out of the gym for extended periods of time, lack of progress and inevitable plateaus. Among other things, smart training includes impeccable form that you will continuously improve and upgrade, including the amount of time spent under tension, the angle of movement, the range of motion and many other factors.
Doing exercises with good form will help you get the most out of your training by properly and thoroughly stressing each muscle group and protecting you against injury. Bad form leads to poor results without exception and therefore should never be sacrificed in the name of heavier weights.
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Keep these 4 blunders away from your gym sessions and you should have a solid base for building the mighty pecs of your dreams. Good luck!