If you’re not like one of those clueless dudes who goes to the gym and trains biceps every day, then you probably want a good-looking physique. Nothing says, “I’m in great shape” like a pair of large pecs and a huge back. In this article, we’ll focus on the former. Chest training is great for developing your pectoralis muscles but it has to be done correctly in order to do so. This doesn’t mean going to the gym and training chest every day. You have to be smart about it. There are, however, certain crimes people commit in their pursuit of big chest. Here are the 3 most common crimes against chest training.
1. Flat Barbell Bench Press
Before you start booing and throwing imaginary eggs and tomatoes at me, allow me to explain. First of all, I love the flat barbell bench press. I think it’s one of the most awesome exercises in existence. It’s fantastic for increasing your strength and proving your manliness. That being said, it’s a common misconception that it’s the best exercise for chest. It’s not and here’s why. In order to do bench press properly and without risk of injury, you have to perform it like a power lifter – shoulders retracted, back arched, elbows slightly drawn in, and heels steadily on the ground. This reduces the stress on your shoulders by limiting their range of motion. It also limits the stress on your pecs, which the whole point of doing chest in the first place. Like I said, flat barbell bench press is awesome for gaining overall strength and if you want that, by all means keep doing it. However, if you’re more interested in looks, you have two options. Either do bench press like a bodybuilder – long grip, shoulders at 90 degrees, and barbell almost at your neck for maximum pecs load; or replace it with dumbbells flat bench press. The first option is almost a guaranteed shoulder injury. The second option has the same activation of the pecs, but has the added benefit of arm movement allowing you to properly target your chest and preserve your shoulders by adjusting your grip. Of course, this way you lose the manliness factor.
2. Ignoring Upper Chest Training
In my observation, most guys at the gym tend to focus on the lower part of their chest, thus overdeveloping it compared to the upper chest and creating some imbalances. We recommend focusing on upper chest training more. Odds are you will end up doing flat bench, push-ups, dips and other lower chest exercises, anyway, so don’t forget to give some love to the upper chest exercises. Inclined dumbbell press is an awesome way to start. Activate that upper chest!
3. Weight over Form
You should be sued for this. Choosing weight over form is never a good idea, but some guys tend to do it, either thinking they will impress the girl working out nearby, even though she’s paying zero attention to him, or thinking they will impress the guys that are working out nearby. Thus they put on more weight than they can properly lift and absolutely ignore form because they have no control over the exercise. Whether we’re talking dumbbells, flies, barbell, or any other exercise, remember that form is always a priority. No one will be impressed by the weight you can lift improperly. Some people might be impressed by proper form, though. However, remember that you’re not there to impress people or prove yourself, so just do a proper work out and go home, regardless of what people “might think”.