Chest workout mistakes

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The chest is a very complex muscle group. You may think that it is easy to make it grow. You think doing a few bench presses and some other type of exercise will suffice. But you need much more than that to achieve real development!

Developing your pecs is like a puzzle. If you want to achieve real results, you have to “attack” your pecs with different exercises and repetition patterns, from several directions. Here’s a list of what not to do during your chest workout:

Too many bench presses

“How much do you bench”? – you know this question all too well, right? For some, the number of bench presses is the indicator that shows how dedicated one is to bodybuilding. As a result of this fixation, many people focus only on their pecs to develop their chest muscles. If done right, bench presses are great for chest muscle development. However, if you do too much of this exercise type, you can easily end up over-exercising, which can lead to deformed chest muscles. Moreover, overdoing low-rep exercises can result in injuries, too.

The bottom line is:

  • vary the number of reps: do rounds of 10-12, then 4-6 reps.
  • If you really need to know your one-rep max, consider calculating it instead of wasting a whole workout on finding it out.
  • It’s also a good idea to mix weight training and barbell exercises. This way, you can avoid stagnation by exerting loads on your muscles from different directions – and your rotator cuff can also finally get a break.

Too many machine exercises

Another common mistake is to say: “I only train my pecs with machines”. The majority of people with this attitude only work out with machines for everything, not just for their chests. Real progress, however, will require free weight exercises.

The bottom line is:

  • you should primarily use free weights during your exercise
  • minimise the number of machine exercises
  • if you decide to train with machines, use the ones that involve free-weights, if possible

Not paying enough attention to the upper chest muscles

Those who focus almost exclusively on their pecs while working out and do bench presses most of the time generally don’t pay enough attention to their upper chest muscles. We are talking about the part between your collarbone and the middle of your chest. If you give the upper chest muscles the attention they deserve, your figure will be much more impressive and respectable.

The bottom line is:

  • start your workout with an incline press exercise
  • incorporate at least one upper chest exercise in your workout
  • if you pose at the end of your workout – and practice the “most muscular” pose in particular – you will find it much easier to develop this area

Neglecting the auxiliary muscles in the upper body musculature

It is a well-known fact that triceps strength is a huge factor when it comes to chest exercises. On the other hand, the significance of back strength on the development of pecs is rarely taken into consideration. Your back is the direct antagonist of your pecs.

If you don’t train your triceps properly, you will soon realise that the hardest sets exceed your abilities. If you skip your back workout, your body will simply refuse to develop your chest muscles. Your body strives for balance. It’s simply impossible to bench press 120, while you can’t even move half of it with your back muscles. You must work on your back muscles if you want to develop your pecs!

The bottom line is:

  • you should spend an equal amount of time on working out your chest and back muscles (Editor’s note: this is debatable, since the back is a much bigger muscle group)

Let’s sum up what we learned today:

  • do not put more emphasis on developing your chest muscles than on any other muscles, or, to put it differently, pay at least as much attention to the other muscle groups as your pecs
  • make sure to train your upper chest muscles as well
  • avoid machines – free weight exercises are much more efficient when it comes to moving muscle fibers
  • focus on squeezing your pecs, not on tossing the weights around
  • remember: You also need to train your back and triceps muscles hard!

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