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Tim18Germany

Pecs - Different exercises necessary?

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hey, the pecs are one big muscle arent they? so is it nec. to do different exercises all the time to stimulate different parts? you know, like negative bench press for the lower pecs? is there even such a thing? i tend to do the exercises i like most and can push most in... so is there a difference? my pecs look pumped all the same, no matter what ex. i do. and the soreness is the same too. i get the difference with the abs, cos the muscles are separated, but what about pecs?

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I do think a mix of incline, flat, and reverse-incline bench pressing is important in the long run. At the same time, my philosophy is that any chest exercise is always better than none - meaning, if I haven't done any incline pressing in awhile but only have access to a flat bench today, I'll use that rather than wait another day. I am probably a less-structured lifter than most though - I call it "opportunistic training" and it comes from an acknowledgement that I just have too much unpredictability in my work/personal life to consistently accommodate a rigid training schedule.

Also I've found that lowering the bar to my throat, rather than mid-chest, stimulates a more even spread of the pec muscles and can therefore work well as a comprehensive chest workout if a flat bench is all that is available.

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The pecs are not one large muscle. Each pec is made up of four separate muscles. So it is important to add variety.

When I train, I focus on doing a combination of: incline chest, flat chest, decline, wide chest and flies (inner chest)

And with each of those categories, I train using a variety of techniques: at least one barbell bench bench, one dumbbell exercise, one cable exercise, one isolateral machine and one type of push up

 

So, maybe today's chest day you do...

1. Flat barbell bench press

2. Dumbbell incline press superset with incline dumbbell flies

3. Weighted dips superset with decline push ups

4. Wide-chest isolateral machine press dropset

5. Cable presses superset with cable flies

 

As you can see, you're hitting every important area of the chest while also switching up the means of training them.

 

And maybe the next time you try....

1. Incline barbell bench press

2. Flat dumbbell press superset with dumbbell inner press

3. Decline isolateral machine press superset with flat pushups

4. High-incline switch machine presses dropset

5. Cable flies superset with upper cable crossover

 

Hopefully this helps. To me, it's the best approach because it keeps every area of your chest engaged in a different way each time. Try playing with weight and reps too. It keeps the body guessing and avoids plateaus so you're always growing.

Isn't that the goal anyway?

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To truly lift properly you need to understand how your body is built. your chest has two main parts. Lower and Upper pecs. Both are Pectoralis Major. Some incorrectly call Upper Pecs Pectoralis Minor, This is incorrect. Pec Minor lies beneath Pec Major and is attached to the 3rd 4th and 5th rib. Pec Minor is more involved in expanding the rib cage during breathing.  

Pec Major (Lower) attaches to the Sternum. Pec Major (Upper) attatches to the Clavical. Both pecs then cross over and insert into your upper Humerus Bone. The function of the Pecs is to pull your arms forward and across your torso. The Upper pecs are involved when this pulling motion is also in an upward direction. 

So, Declines and Flat exercises for Lower Pecs, and Inclines for the Upper Pecs. You'll find that you'll not be able to move nearly as much weight with your Upper Pecs, this is simply because it's a much smaller muscle than your bulky Lower Pec. 

Points to remember:

The angle between your torso and upper arms should not be 90 degrees. It should be closer to 45 degrees. In other words, your body should not be making a "T" shape. This is extremely hard on your shoulder joints. 

Keep your shoulders back! Pretend you're Superman. How does superman stand? Shoulders back and down, Chest high. Keeping your shoulders back will put more emphasis on the pecs and less on front deltoids.   

Think of PULLING from your elbows, not pushing with your triceps. During chest movements the primary muscle worked is Pec, secondary is triceps and third is front deltoid. The goal is to use triceps and delts as little as possible. If you think push, you'll activate much more tricep than if you think pull from the elbows. To understand this, think of how you PULL with a cable fly. You should be pulling from your elbows, not your hands. At the end of the day it's physically impossible for a muscle to push, Muscles contract and PULL. If you think PUSH, you're sending the wrong message to your body. 

Take the word "PUSH" out of your vocabulary.

Goal one should be to BUILD a chest. Too many guys with small chests are worried about outer, inner pecs. You need size first, then worry about sculpting. Concentrate on Upper and Lower pecs. Thats sufficient until you've added real size. Don't put the cart before the horse. 

As a bodybuilder, everything should be about form. You're goal is not to move the weight from point A to point B. Your goal is to flex a muscle under resistance through it's range of motion. Don't get caught up in weight moved. Your body doesn't know what number is written on the weight. Your body only knows resistance. Use appropriate weight. 

Regards,

Swolegoal

 

 

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22 minutes ago, swolegoal said:

This is incorrect. Pec Minor lies beneath Pec Major and is attached to the 3rd 4th and 5th rib. Pec Minor is more involved in expanding the rib cage during breathing.  

 

Just a small addition/correction. Pec Minor goes from the above mentioned ribs to the scapula (to be exact, to the processus coracoideus). It should not be involved (at least to a large extent) in breathing at rest, as unless you have your scapula stabilised, it will pull the scapula forward rather than expand the ribs.

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When the ribs are immobilized, this muscle brings the scapula forward, and when the scapula is fixed, it lifts up the rib cage. 

Thanks for the clarification.  

Every day there is more to learn!

Regards,

Swolegoal

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19 hours ago, swolegoal said:

Think of PULLING from your elbows, not pushing with your triceps. During chest movements the primary muscle worked is Pec, secondary is triceps and third is front deltoid. The goal is to use triceps and delts as little as possible. If you think push, you'll activate much more tricep than if you think pull from the elbows. To understand this, think of how you PULL with a cable fly. You should be pulling from your elbows, not your hands. At the end of the day it's physically impossible for a muscle to push, Muscles contract and PULL. If you think PUSH, you're sending the wrong message to your body. 

Swolegoal, thanks a lot for the advice! I havent thought of this, I will try to integrate the mental picture into my next workout. Maybe will make my chest workout better, because even after a hard lift, I don't feel it as much as I would like to.

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On 9/15/2016 at 6:26 PM, acd889 said:

listen to this guy ^  great stuff.  :)

 

Thanks man! I've been doing this a long time. Variety is key.

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On 2016-09-16 at 2:41 AM, swolegoal said:

Think of PULLING from your elbows, not pushing with your triceps. During chest movements the primary muscle worked is Pec, secondary is triceps and third is front deltoid. The goal is to use triceps and delts as little as possible. If you think push, you'll activate much more tricep than if you think pull from the elbows. To understand this, think of how you PULL with a cable fly. You should be pulling from your elbows, not your hands. At the end of the day it's physically impossible for a muscle to push, Muscles contract and PULL. If you think PUSH, you're sending the wrong message to your body. 

Take the word "PUSH" out of your vocabulary.

This is great advice. Never really thought of it this way.

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