When I began weightlifting, I was always focused on getting my chest bigger and stronger. I guess watching so many Arnold Schwarzenegger movies back in the day added to my chest envy, so I started lifting with an old school bench set that my dad had purchased for our martial arts school. At the age of 13, I would be there 30 minutes before school started so that I could hit a few sets on the flat barbell press. I know my approach was premature and misguided, but those were my humble beginnings in weight lifting .
As I grew older (and thankfully smarter), I learned more about the anatomy of the chest and what I could do to enhance it. The chest is comprised of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major covers over 80% of the chest, and is the stronger pusher in terms of performing a press. We get more action from the pectoralis minor when hitting a deeper stretch in a fly movement or an over-exaggerated stretch in a press motion.
I see many injuries that occur with this muscle group when there isn’t a proper warm up and zero acclimation to a heavier load, which is more than the muscle can handle at that given time. Fortunately, Charles hasn’t had this issue, and it is because we approach chest training with more isolated movements and use of time under tension. Depending on rep speed, we will cut the max load down by 50% on the weight being used. This allows control and more range of motion for us to reassure we are incorporating all we can of both pectoralis major and minor, as well as preventing any unnecessary shoulder involvement that could also wreak havoc on rotator cuff.
We also try to alternate between a press and a fly movement. A press movement would be our starter as we acclimate and warm up our chest. Then, we would follow up with more time under tension by performing a flat fly movement. After the chest has got plenty of blood flow and mobility, we then will add some band work with control of both the eccentric motion and the max tension part of the movement. This will present fatigue very quickly, which is the goal by our third exercise. The final exercise we will still focus the tension aspect minus the band plus hitting a different angle.
A common myth is that we have a lower pec, and that is simply not true. The development of the lower aspect of the chest is predominantly the loss of body fat. I’m not saying that dips and low pec machines are a waste, but we can’t specifically tighten up the lower portion of our chest with these particular exercises.
Come train with me directly at Hew Health and let’s get your chest the strongest it’s ever been!