Chest Training Mistakes
Many guys I’ve spoken to have issues building their chests up, most commonly blaming their genetics for this shortcoming. Mindlessly performing the same flat bench press and dumbbell flyes year after year will not net you the chest you desire. Below are the 4 biggest chest training mistakes that are being made, chances are you’re making at least one of these… no worry! There’s a solution to each of these mistakes offered.
Not Contracting At The Top Of Each Repetition
Don’t focus on just moving the weights up and down, at the top of each repetition it is essential to get that full contraction – squeeze the chest together. In order to get a full contraction I recommend locking out on your dumbbell/barbell presses, yes the tricep will play a minor role in the top end of the repetition, however it is by far the easiest way to get the maximum chest flex/contraction possible.
Over Reliance On The Flat Barbell Bench Press
When you get in the gym to train your chest do you go straight to the flat barbell bench press? If so you’re not alone – this is by far the most commonly performed ‘chest’ exercise… yet the actual chest stimulation from the flat barbell bench press is far less than that of other exercises.
Don’t get me wrong, the barbell bench press is great for building strength, but if you’re primary goal is to build and sculpt an aesthetic chest this exercise is not for you.
The ideal flat bench press form involves having your back arched, heels firmly planted onto ground and shoulders drawn back to limit the range of motion. This is perfect form for a power lifter as the potential risk of shoulder injury is greatly reduced, but a reduction in pectoral stimulation is also a result of this.
I recommend limiting or even removing the flat barbell bench press from your routine and instead focusing on the dumbbell variations.
Neglecting The Upper Portion Of The Chest
Naturally the upper portion of the chest is thinner than the bottom portion, therefore upper pectoral training should come as a priority, although this is an area than the majority of individuals fail to work on. Instead of focusing on your flat presses first I highly recommend starting your chest workout with the incline dumbbell press. By building up your upper chest with more incline work you will give your chest a ‘fuller’ look which will tie in the chest with your deltoids and traps. Ideally you should be matching the number of sets you are performing for the upper chest with that of the lower chest.
If you need some inspiration to get that upper chest popping be sure to check out Franco Columbo.
Choosing Weight Over Form
In order to work the complete chest you need to perform complete repetitions. As Jay Cutler says “Work the muscles, not the weight” this means you need to select a weight that is not too heavy for you to properly control. If the weight you are using is too heavy it will become quite obvious as you will be using momentum and bouncing the dumbbells/barbell in order to complete each repetition. Instead of focusing on your ego and putting up the big numbers I recommend you drop the weight a bit and instead focus on performing a 2 second eccentric (negative) on each repetition with the weight taking 1-2 seconds to be locked out when performing the concentric (lifting) portion of the repetition.
When performing a pressing movement the barbell or dumbbells should be lowered as close to touching your chest as possible, don’t be one of those guys that doesn’t even break parallel on each repetition – the only person you are cheating is yourself.
I hope you have found these chest training mistakes and recommended fixes useful. Now go out there and build a steel plated chest!
What’s Your Favourite Chest Exercise? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!