Chest muscle doubts

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by imported_electric, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. I know the pectoral is only one muscle (or one for each side) with two heads, clavicular head and sternal head but I noticed my chest has grown much more in the upper part of the pec, specially near the front delt and feel lagging behind in its lower end and specially in the middle where it connects to the sternum.
    I do flat bench and dips which are supposed to work more the sternal head yet I always feel that the mentioned parts are lagging.
    Is there something to do or this is just the way my pec is built and I should suck it up?
  2. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    Could be genetics?

    Try pec dec...or deep stretch dumbell flys after your dumbell bench presses.
  3. Joe.Muscle

    Joe.Muscle Active Member

    To add...most people have the opposite problem...of having too much lower chest developement (man boobs) if you are going to have a problem to have you have the best one.

    Its hard for most of use to have a decent upper chest.
  4. dkm1987

    dkm1987 New Member

    It's pretty hard to seperate these heads (activation) especially during compound movements. But if you have access to cable crossover you can do a test which will help you realize the proper arm angle during cable crossovers.

    A simple test for you.

    Take a rope or band and have it secured on one end.

    Hold the other end in a pronated grip with the rope/band exiting out away from your thumb. Standing parrallel to the anchor spot where you secured it.

    Now using your pecs pull your hand to your side (your arm should be straight and your thumb should be touching your thigh). Place your free hand on your pec that is doing the test. You should be able to feel your pecs activated. Now slowly raise your hand out in front of your body (still pulling towards your midline). You should be able to feel when and at what angle your sternal becomes less of the primary mover and your clavicle head really kicks in. This will give you an idea of what angle your arm should be at during crossovers or what degree incline/decline you can use during bench flies.
  5. <div>
    (Joe.Muscle @ Mar. 18 2009,12:08)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">To add...most people have the opposite problem...of having too much lower chest developement (man boobs) if you are going to have a problem to have you have the best one.

    Its hard for most of use to have a decent upper chest.</div>
    Thanks for the reply Joe. I guess it is genetics, since as Dan pointed out it is hard to separate the muscle heads during compounds (flat bench).
    What annoys me is that my lower chest seems flat, with little distinction where the chest muscle starts so the overall look is that my whole chest muscle is small (not that it is crazy large tho  [​IMG] ). I also would like the striations near the sternum although those are probably more related to BF%.
    Dan, thank you for the experiment suggestion. I'll try that and post the results.
  6. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    electric, here's my 2¢:

    I think it really is a lot down to genetics. My pecs are crap. I just didn't get many muscle fibres in the pec department when they were being handed out by the folks in my DNA. The pec on my right side has a chunk missing too. I call it my deformity. When I was at school, my gym teacher told me I should work on my chest. I did. It made very little difference. My brother, on the other hand, had 'proper' pecs, even when he was a skinny kid. (We both have crappy calves, as far as aesthetics go: short gastrocnemius muscles, long Achilles tendons, narrow soleus muscles. I trained them consistently and regularly for a year; they grew a bit but the fundamental shape didn't change. My misses weighs a lot less than me and has about twice as much muscle on her calves. That sux!)

    I have managed to 'improve' my pecs quite a bit through consistently working them over the last few years but the fact is they will never be what I would really like them to be (not without chemical help and probably not even then - only cosmetic surgery would sort my right pec).

    So, I really think your best bet is to suck it up and keep blasting away at the dips and bench (or your favourite variations) until you have at least a 1.5 x bw bench for at least a few reps. As well as your main compounds, pick a good stretch point movement too. Pec striations will come when you get really lean, as will clearer delineation between lower chest and abs. Stick with the plan.  [​IMG]
  7. Lol, thanks for the slap of reality. I guessed as much but thought it was worth to check with the crowd.
  8. omega99

    omega99 Member

    (Joe.Muscle @ Mar. 18 2009,11:08)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Its hard for most of use to have a decent upper chest.</div>
    Agreed. And I struggle with inclines because due to the shoulder involvement.

    I've experienced some decent lower chest growth with decline dumbell presses. I can really isolate and feel the lower chest work during the movement. Probably one of my favorite exerscises, but one I don't really need  [​IMG]
  9. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    My pecs have always been my worst bodypart, flat dumbbell presses really isolate them well
  10. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I have the same situation as electric. Cable crossovers with the pulleys set high, starting out as an &quot;X&quot;, and pulling towards a point in front of me, a bit below the jewels, has pumped the lower pec, but I still get no growth there.
    Crazy thing; I can pull most any pec deck with the whole stack and usually a 45 pinned on it for reps. Or do dips with plenty of extra weight.
    And my bench sux.
  11. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    You can isolate the calvicular head by doing push presses.  I can pull the book out of somewhere if Dan wants me to but I saw this in an academic text, at the university library, on EMG studies of muscles in different lifts.  During strict humeral flexion the clavicular head is activated exclusive of the sternal.

    Omega99:  As for the incline bench, EMG studies are mixed as to whether inclines activate the clavicular moreso than flat bench.

    Dan:  I know EMGs have their limits.  But until someone from the NSCA gets an MRI machine....

    Electric:  All studies I have surveyed conclude that decline presses preferentially activate the sternal head.  Flyes are the same movement as declines, namely humeral adduction.  Make sure you do your dips correctly by placing your chin into your sternum, looking down, and keeping your legs straight and slighlty in front of you.  Make yourself look like a banana.

    Unfortunately the studies say that improving the &quot;inner pecs&quot; is a no-go.  I have agonized over this.  I can find no rationale for how it could happen.

    Last line of thought:  Some people have started doing bodyweight flyes.  Do this by getting a set of gymnastic rings and hook them onto a power rack.  Get in the pushup position with your hands in the rings and...flye!  The need to stabilize the joint elicits greater motor recruitment some people say.  That's all that I know on this.
  12. lcars

    lcars New Member

    flat dumbells are excellent, i prefer them to barbell, you can get more stretch and a more natural position. weighted dips also are excellent for chest developement, including inner and upper chest developement.

    as dan said use the rope/band and you will discover which part of the chest is activated.

    overall i think it comes down to genetic factors. good luck! [​IMG]
  13. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Well guys, one thing for sure is that this lowpec flattening effect will get worse after 50 and more difficult to fix, so fix it now.
    Another thing is that you don't see PL'ers with small pecs for the most part. By changing my bench position, using the feets, and admittedly doing 8 sets of bench each workout, my tiny peckies are definitely suffering DOMS.
    So developing an arch, getting more &quot;declined&quot;, and the overall tightness of the PL bench gives me hope for some development in the nether regions at last. It definitely has a different feel and more power. I had to raise the weights as well, a bit early.
  14. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    When I was younger I did supersets for chest: A set of flat press followed by a set of incline presses followed by a set of decline presses followed by a set of dips, and repeat. Usually around 4 times. Sometimes I would do dumbell flyes instead of a press. If I could go back I would have dropped the declines. You get bigger pecs but they start to droop. Because this method worked for me I am inclined to use high volume for a bodypart and I am inclined to recomend it to somebody else.

    It has been my observation that some people exhibit larger shoulder structure and narrow pecs while others have smaller shoulder structure and wider pecs. I am the later. People with the narrower pecs may benefit from flyes moreso than presses because during presses the front deltoid region is capable of assisting the pecs substantially. I am only speculating here.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I know the pectoral is only one muscle (or one for each side) with two heads, clavicular head and sternal head...</div>

    Very true. But this does not mean the pec cannot be shaped. The pectoralis is a multi-pennate muscle. Its fibers run in multiple directions. I don't know if anyone here has an engineering background but modeling the pec via free body diagram in three space with vectors will demonstrate that sections of pec fibers can be stressed more than others depending on the direction of the load vector. This is also very true for the trapezius and the deltoid.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I do flat bench and dips which are supposed to work more the sternal head yet I always feel that the mentioned parts are lagging.</div>

    If you are doing dips correctly and the load is progressing than the bodypart is coming up. You only need to persist. If you must, go to declines.

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