Chest Exercises

Question & Answer

Targeting Lower Pecs

Dumbbell Decline Bench Press

Could you tell me the best way to work out the underside of my pecs?

The commonly recommended exercises are Decline Bench Press and Chest Dips, although some suggest a flat bench is just as effective. Conversely, some bodybuilders have reported Bench Press does little for their chest development, opting instead for dips and decline bench. In any case, it may be advised to stick to the basics until you reach an advanced stage before you begin specializing - changing your basic chest exercises every month or two. This may include decline one month, chest dips the second month, and flat bench the following month. If this area is still under-par after you've laid the foundation for your development, then consider including Cable Standing Flies or Decline Flies on a more advanced split program.

Check out our forum, there you can ask our more experienced visitors to your questions.

Chest Exercises for Women

Which chest exercise would aid in firming and lifting my breasts along with increase cleavage with low neckline sweaters?

Women's Chest Exercises

Generally speaking, after the age of 20, we can lose 1/3 lb to 1/2 lbs of muscle mass and gain 1 pound of fat each year. The exercises for the chest can restore muscle mass under the breast tissue. If the restoration of muscle mass is accompanied by a decrease of fat, there may be no net change of girth, but a toning effect. Both an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat will result in this toning effect. Although, this may not really restore the natural sagging of the breasts that occurs with age, particularly if you have ever nursed your children. As you know, the breast is an organ surrounded by fat tissue. Exercises for the upper chest may yield somewhat an illusion of upper breast cleavage. Products like the Wonder Bra or in extreme cases, reconstructive surgery will yield more dramatic effects. Realize plastic surgery does not need to include implants. Certainly, I urge you to at least try an exercise program including chest exercises.

In the beginning, most any basic chest exercise you feel comfortable with can be recommended. Later, more effective exercises become the ones that are less familiar. Even the best exercise can lose its effects over time. Change your exercises every month or two. Pick one basic exercise for the Chest (General) and one exercise for the upper chest (Pectoralis Clavicular). If you are using a split program and specializing on the chest, add an auxiliary exercise for the chest. Continue to perform an exercise for every major muscle.

Also, your chest may appear fuller with proper shoulder girdle posture. Protracted shoulders can make the chest appear flatter. Including a rowing movement in your weight training program and exercising through a full range of motion (very mild stretch during chest exercise) will help maintain an ideal shoulder girdle posture. Also, be aware of other postural deficiencies that may influence the overall aesthetics of the body.

Also see related Question and Answer.

Chest Dip and Triceps Dip Differences

Weighted Chest Dip

I'm a little curious to know what is the difference between the Chest Dip and the Triceps Dip? For Chest Dip we should bend forward more or so?

You should be able to see from the instructions the differences include the grip on the bar and the positioning of the arms and legs. On the Chest Dip, you place your hands diagonal on the bars to facilitate the elbows flaring outward, whereas, on the Triceps Dip you have a more standard grip on the bar. On Chest Dip, you bend your hips and knees whereas, on the triceps dip, your hips are straighter so your body will be more upright.

Asymmetrical Chest

Since I have been weight training I have noticed my left pec is growing faster than my right. I have also noticed the right side of my collar bone is slightly higher than the left side. Do you think this could be the cause and if so do you have any ideas on targeting that muscle better.

Consult a sports medicine physician, orthopedic specialist, or a qualified physical therapist if you have had an old injury that has altered your range of motion, posture, or muscle function. They may prescribe specific stretches and exercises for postural muscles. Alternatively, you may consider seeking a physiotherapist that practices ART (active release technique) or posturology.

Make certain your exercise form is close to symmetrical on your bench, incline, and shoulder press. Have a few spotters look at your form for differences on each side. If there is a difference, use only the weight you can manage in a symmetrical form, increasing only when you are able to manage near symmetrical form. You will need continuous feedback to correct your form at first. Incidentally, most studies have demonstrated that extra sets do not develop significant differences in muscular size or strength so an additional set of the exercises you are currently performing will probably not be that effective.

Most people have subtle differences between their right and left sides. I have a similar chest asymmetry with the right scapula slightly anterior. In addition, I even have 2 abs on one side and 3 abs on my other side. Next time you see a bodybuilding publication take a close look at the difference between these individuals' right and left sides. Even those bodybuilders who are noted for their symmetry have differences. They just know how to hide it. If thinking about competing in bodybuilding, understand you will look more symmetrical in asymmetrical poses.

Also, see Structural Symmetry.

Bench Press Arm Position

I greatly enjoy your site and go through the directory any time it's time to change my routine a bit. However, I'd like to know your thoughts on the form demonstrated in the dumbbell bench press page:

I've read on a number of other sites that it's bad for your shoulders to keep your arms flared out like that, where your torso and biceps are in a T position or close to it, and that you should instead keep your elbows tucked in closer to 45 degrees.

I did eventually develop shoulder problems though I don't know if it was from this. I modeled my form after the picture and found out that that form is probably bad when researching possible causes. This doesn't mean that it definitely caused it, it's just one of the suspects.

Regardless of my personal experience, since there could be many factors that contributed to it, what are your thoughts on the form shown in that picture? Is it acceptable or should it be changed and elbow positioning notes added to the page? I can try to dig up some of the articles I found if you like.

Thanks for your email and kudos. This bench press analysis article will answer your question. As you can see, it is not really a simple answer. However, I believe this explanation will offer some insight to your question. If your shoulder is not better by now, you may want to find a physician who specializes in shoulder orthopedics or a physical therapist familiar with shoulder biomechanics and weight training injuries. Also, determine and address and biomechanical deficiencies referenced in the article.

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