As a dedicated lifter, you are always looking for ways to build the most aesthetic and complete physique by fixing any lagging or unbalanced body part. Although some bodyparts tend to grow faster than others, there are always ways to fix any problems in your physique, and that is to attack the problem systematically and analytically by utilizing the effective exercises to address the specific areas that needed the most improvement. As such, we would like to discuss improving the typical weak points in your chest.
Problem zone #1: upper pecs
A lagging upper is the most common chest problem that most people have and that is because they focus too much on flat-bench press with little or no upper chest exercise to target the upper pecs in their workout. To truly develop a full balanced chest, you need to work your chest from top to bottom, starting with the upper pecs going down to the middle and lower chest.
- Exercise Solutions: incline presses and incline flyes.
If your upper chest is lagging, focus on incline presses and flyes first in your workout. This allows you to effectively stimulate the muscle fibers of the upper pecs. Set the bench at a 30-degree angle to ensure that the resistance is placed mainly on your upper pecs. A steeper incline will shift the emphasis to the front delts. Another technique is to change the bench angle every set by starting for example at 15 degrees, then going up to 25, then 30 degrees so no part of your upper chest escapes training. Begin with a light warm-up set of 20 reps, then perform three all-out max sets of six to eight reps and one set of 12-15 reps to develop maximum size in the upper pecs. Keep the movement slow and precise on the way down. Use an ordinary lockout at the top. In other words, as soon as you reach full extension, bring the weight back down in one continuous motion. Lastly, work in as many muscle-shocking principles into your routine as you can such as forced reps, rest/pauses, drop sets, etc.
Problem zone #2: inner pecs
Although some people have good size on their pecs, they may still find it difficult to fill in the inner pecs. This is a very difficult area for lots of people to develop. To get the full balance you want in the entire pectoral region, your inner chest needs to be targeted. And for that, you’ve got to perform the right exercises at the right intensity and focus intensely on the inner pecs.
- Exercise Solutions: Cable crossovers, close-grip bench press, and Dumbbell Flyes.
Cable crossovers are very effective for targeting your inner pecs since you maintain tension on your muscles when your hands touch. To get the most out of this exercise, it’s very important to squeeze your pecs, whether you cross the handles or not; this helps create that distinct line in the middle of your chest. You can use dumbbell flyes and barbell presses to work the inner pecs as well. With flyes, bring the weights together at the top and squeeze your pecs hard for 2-3 seconds. On close-grip bench presses, simply move your hands to shoulder width or slightly closer, and keep your elbows out and away from your body. The cable crossover from the low pulleys is another way to beef up those upper and inner pec muscles that extend out from your collarbones. For all these moves, do one heavy working set of six to eight reps and then another three working sets keeping the weight in moderate and shooting for 8-12 reps per set to build that inner chest.
Problem zone #3: outer pecs
If your outer pecs aren’t fully developed, your chest will lack that crucial fullness and width. Well-developed pecs outer pecs add width and density to the whole pectoral region and help define the outside and lower portion of your chest.
- Exercise Solutions: Dumbbell flyes, wide-grip bench press, and dips.
Dumbbell flyes, both flat and on an incline, are the number-one exercises for stressing and building the outer pecs. First, lower the dumbbells as far as possible without risking injury – go for a complete stretch at the fully extended position at the bottom. Then, when returning to the top, stop about three-quarters of the way up to focus all your effort on your outer pecs; bringing the dumbbells together at the top disengages this area. Also, taking as wide a grip when doing barbell incline and flat-bench presses targets your outer chest. Again, lower the bar all the way to your chest, then stop three-quarters of the way up to the top. Dips are great for hitting the outer pecs as well. Go as deep as possible and stop three-quarters of the way up. To perform these moves in your workout, begin with one warm-up set of wide-grip barbell bench presses for 15 to 20 reps. Then use the heaviest weight with which you can complete three sets of six to eight reps and complete three or four sets of wide-grip barbell bench press. Next, perform three sets of eight to 12 reps of the following exercises: dumbbell flyes and dips. Perform each exercise using slow and controlled movements focusing on the outer pecs.