The bench press, the ultimate chest training piece of equipment or so that’s what we’re told as teenagers growing up. It continues through high school and college too, everyone wants to know how much you bench press. It would be cool to answer that question but why bother? Why care about how much you bench press? A big bench press just means you can bench press a lot of weight, it doesn’t equal a big chest.
Let’s get that through our head right away. Our chest training doesn’t have to revolve around the bench press if we want a big chest. For one, most people will end up pressing with their shoulders and triceps which leaves their chest underdeveloped. Secondly, most people have terrible posture which just tightens their pecs up and leaves the chest understressed.
A dumbbell chest press on the other hand, is very effective in any chest training routine because a dumbbell chest press allow you to rotate your shoulder backwards during the pressing movement. Most people don’t force their shoulders back while they train their chest. This makes the shoulder round forward and causes the shoulder to fatigue before the chest. A dumbbell chest press forces you to get a deeper stretch on the pecs.
So you don’t need to do barbell movements in your chest training to build big pecs.
Personally I think people are way too obsessed with using cables in their entire training but for chest training I think cable are optimal. Simply because cables allow you to keep the muscle under tension during the entire range of motion. You lose tension on the top of a dumbbell fly but with cable movements you don’t since cables match our strength curves as close as anything in the weight room.
Use Back Off Sets
At times, we focus on using too much weight in our chest training which, as stated above, works our shoulder over our chest. The best way around this to add a back off set or two into our chest workout where we add higher rep work in. So by performing a few sets of 15 to 20 reps with a slow and controlled movement we can make sure that we have hit our chest enough to cause growth.
Stretch After Your Sets
Due to both posture and chest training, our pecs will more then likely be very tight. In addition the fascia, which connects muscle to muscle, of our chest will be very tight as well and will limit the growth potential of our chest. So after you’ve performed all of your chest work, grab a pair of light dumbbells and lay flat on bench and allow your arms to fall back like they would in a fly. Except this time, hold the position for 60 seconds. This not only stretches the chest but also opens up the fascia which allows for more overall chest growth and better chest training.
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