Chest Training Mistakes : Chest-Training Mistakes and How To Repair Them
Your chest is a paradox. Comprising only one major muscle pair, it would seem to be an easy area to train. Press and flye end of story. But this story is a mystery with unpredictable twists. The pecs are deceptively complex–working them is fraught with pitfalls you’ll likely blunder into workout after workout, year after year. This month, we expose those pitfalls, highlighting the five most common chest-training errors and detailing strategies to avoid them. Take notes; you may be shocked at the number of pec peccadilloes you’ve been committing.
#1 Overreliance on barbell bench presses
-Do sets of eight to 12 reps, only occasionally pyramiding to as low as six reps.
-If you’re curious about how much you can bench for a single rep, use an online calculator and your best 10-rep set to compute your one-rep max.
-If you always do barbell benches first, start with incline presses–with barbells one workout and dumbbells the next. Alternately, cycle eight-week periods during which you do no free-weight benches with eight weeks during which you do benches with barbells one workout and dumbbells the next.
#2 Under training upper chest
-In each chest workout, include at least as many sets of upper-chest work (incline presses and flyes) as you do lower chest work (flat and decline presses and flyes, and dips).
-To focus cable crossovers on your upper chest, perform them with the cables set near the floor, so that you are pulling the handles up and together on each rep.
-Practice posing your upper pecs with hands-on-hips most-musculars or simply tensing. This will build a greater mind-muscle connection, so you can feel this area contracting on targeted chest exercises.
#3 Overreliance on machines
-Do no more than half of your chest exercises with machines.
-If you do mechanical presses, try to choose a unilateral Hammer Strength, FreeMotion or similar machine that approximates the freedom of free weights.
-If you’re not strong enough to get eight bodyweight reps while dipping, use a dip assist machine to lighten your load. (This doesn’t count as a machine exercise.)
#4 Failure to contract
-Lock out on presses. Although your triceps will do much of the work at the end, you can still maximally flex your chest at contractions.
#5 Working the weight, not the muscles
“Work the muscles, not the weight” is one of Jay Cutler’s favorite aphorisms. Working the weight is different than focusing too much on the number of pounds used, and thus going too heavy.
Working the weight is using speed and momentum to pound out reps with little or no regard for the targeted area and it’s a precise distillation of the way many bodybuilders press, flye and dip.
-Feel where you want to focus each set before it begins. For example, tense your upper chest before a set of incline presses to keep your attention on that area.
-Always utilize strict form. This is not only safer, but also better for targeting your pecs, because the sloppier your execution on a chest exercise is, the more that secondary muscles take over.
-Carefully control the negative halves of reps. During presses, take approximately two seconds to lower the weight and one to two seconds to raise it.
1) Treat bench presses as just another chest exercise with reps in the eight to 12 range.
2)Prioritize your upper chest.
3)Do primarily free-weight presses and flyes.
4)Concentrate on the contraction of each rep.