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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

5 Things To Avoid When You’re Training Chest Muscles

You want a chest that fills out your t-shirt. We get it. Join the club. But when your chest doesn't grow, things can get very frustrating.

You're not alone in this struggle, either. Everyone wants a physique that is athletic, strong and chiseled. In other words, a body that lifts well and looks even better. Unfortunately, achieving ‘that look’ only comes with hard work. There are no shortcuts.




Anyway, the chest – which mainly consists of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor – is a notoriously difficult muscle to build. But it's not impossible, providing you follow our advice and avoid these silly mistakes.

Check out these five reasons why your chest isn’t troubling your shirt buttons.

Just Bench Pressing

 Another very common mistake which is made on chest day is solely doing pressing movements. This could be a barbell bench press, incline barbell bench press, dumbbell press etc. The point is all of these movements are pretty much identical and aren’t really ‘testing’ or giving your chest a proper all-round workout

Bench press is certainly an excellent exercise and there are many brilliant versions of it; however, they shouldn’t make up the entirety of your chest workout. If you’re lifting purely for strength, e.g. powerlifting, then you’re probably going to just be performing bench press – so it’s okay to not include isolation exercises. However, if you’re looking to build muscle mass then you should look at some other exercises

 For example, by isolating your chest with exercises such as dumbbell flys or cable crossover, then you will be hitting your chest from different angles, activating more muscle fibres and thus allowing yourself to build more muscle.

Neglecting Upper Chest

 In order to build a full, aesthetic chest muscle, you need to work your entire chest. To do this, you need to concentrate on the upper and lower portions of your chest

Simply put, you can put more emphasis on your upper chest by including incline movements into your chest routine. Likewise, to put more emphasis on your lower chest it would be beneficial to perform some decline work.

 It’s important to note that you cannot isolate your upper and lower chest like you can isolate whole muscles. The visible chest muscle is just one muscle, although you can develop different portions of it by doing different exercises.

 Remember, just by including a few incline exercises for a few workouts, it won’t magically give you an amazing upper chest. It’s important to keep at it for a long period of time and keep your body fat relatively low to see the progress you have made.

 Furthermore, if you are performing incline exercises (for example,) and you’re performing them later on in your workout, then you are never going to be able to hit them with as much intensity. Instead, you should switch up your routine by sometimes hitting incline first when you have the most energy. This way you prevent your upper chest lagging behind.

Overusing Machines

This is another common mistake which I see being made on a daily basis. For one reason or another, many lifters seem stuck to the machines in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, they have their uses, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your workout. In fact, it should be quite the opposite.

I would stick to work with barbells and dumbbells, then implement in a one or two ‘machine’ movements such as a fly or hammer strength press.

 This way you are able to build up more of your stabiliser muscles – which are used when you lift free weights – but not when using a machine. Furthermore, you can hit your chest from different angles with free weights; however, machines are stuck in one arc, and one motion.

 One good use for machines is as a finisher, since you can easily do drop sets, or neurological overload sets, to completely fatigue your chest and totally finish it off. It’s easy to drop the weight and complete another set without faffing around taking weight off, or adding weight onto a bar.

You're Not Resting Enough

Come on guys, you know this, right? You know that your gains are made away from the gym, more often that not, fast asleep with a belly full of protein.

Without adequate R&R, your muscles will never grow. In fact, working out too hard and too often on the same body part could stunt muscle growth and actually break down tissue that you have already worked so hard on to build. #FFS.

We know it can be tempting to rock back up to the gym and hit the barbell the day after a heavy workout, but if you aren’t fully rested and your muscles haven’t totally recovered, you could fall victim to overtraining, which may result in sickness and even injury, delaying your gains even further. God loves a trier. But don't try too hard.


Constantly blitzing yourself in the gym without adequate rest will lead to overtraining and burnout. How to best avoid it? A good rule of thumb to follow: after a hard chest workout, wait at least 48 hours before training the same muscles again. Simple.

Form

The dreaded F-word. Form is important when it comes to any exercises or muscles.

Given how popular chest day is, many people forget to leave their ego at the door when they enter the gym and decide to try and lift as much weight as they possibly can.

On bench press for example, you should use a weight that you are comfortable with for your working sets, gradually increasing the weight for progressive overload. If you are only performing half reps or need a spotter to help you with most of them, then you should lighten the weight.

 Read up on how to perform each exercise properly – for example: bench press form – and get someone to critique your form. You will thank yourself for it later.

Jay Cutler once said ‘Work your muscles, not the weight’ This is very true, especially when it comes to training chest.

 You should concentrate on contracting your muscles rather than just moving the weight.
 
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