Chest Workouts: How to Get Results
Chest workouts are usually performed at the beginning of each week when targeting specific large muscle groups during each workout session. They are typically followed by back training, shoulder training, and then leg workouts to finish off the week. However, you may find yourself up against a challenge many others face, which is slow progress with muscular growth and definition in the pectoral (chest) region. Let’s take a look and see what might be the cause of this problem.
Improper use of chest muscles
Laying down on a bench and pressing up a set weight might seem like a simple movement, but during compound training with chest workouts you have a lot of different “gears” working together. In order to get the best results with your bench press (regardless if you use dumbbells, a barbell, or other forms of resistance) it’s critical to utilize proper form.
Keep the bottom of your feet planted at all times shoulder width apart from one another, or slightly greater if you have longer legs.
Your hands should be placed so when you bring the weight down, your lower arms are at a 90-degree angle from your upper arms. You then lower the weight until the bar is about 1″ above your chest (or even a little lower if you are using dumbbells) at about the nipple line. This will bring your elbows down slightly past your back for maximum use of your chest muscles.
Your spine should evenly divide the bench into half, which means you are dead center and face little risk of falling off the bench. Shoulders should be rolled back and chest should be extended. This body position will ensure the exercise targets your chest muscles and will help prevent injuries.
The role of the triceps in your chest workouts
The common objection to the bench press is that the chest muscles are not being isolated because arm fatigue often becomes the limiting factor. This is because the triceps are not strong enough to support the amount of weight necessary to train your chest muscles. Focus on building up your triceps so they have the endurance needed keep up with your chest muscles, in order to get the results you seek.
Mix up your chest workouts
Muscles respond best to changes in exercise movements and the amount of resistance utilized. If you don’t change things up, muscles become accustomed to the training and growth comes to a halt. One effective technique is to mix up barbell and dumbbell use every few weeks. For example, perform bench presses for a month using a barbell, and then switch to dumbbells the following month for the same exercise.
Another method is trying more weight. Many people tend to stick with a constant amount of weight for a long period of time. Instead, work with a personal trainer or workout partner to find out how much more you can lift with a low number of repetitions or a single rep. Challenging yourself to lift more and break through plateaus will help you move your chest workout up the weight scale, and get your chest muscles growing again.