Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States
Stats: 5'6", 157 lbs
Rep Power: 0
Being 5'6 I have much different problems obviously but great article all the same! Time to get those flys back in the workout!
Originally Posted by pumplikeeecummings
Hello all, I am new to bodybuilding.com and wanted to give a big hello to everyone. Now onto the points of this article and who is it for.
Currently I hopefully will attain my degree in kinesiology in 2 more years (been going for about 3 years), and there are some things I would like to address and I know some things I mention will cause chaos amongst the people who argue that the chest is one muscle contracting simultaneously (which is true).
Why did I chose to write this article? Well the answer is simple and in the title. Some info on me: I am 6'2 180 (not too big) but at 10 percent body fat. I am primarily an ectomorph, meaning I have a smaller and longer bone structure. I played football as a reciever in highschool, stopped working out for about a year and a half, began riding motorcycles...wrecked after a while, met a girl, she really messed me over, and here wew are 11 months later and in pretty good shape again. Now onto the article.
Why do you have a small chest? There could bbe more than one reason, but this is primarily written for the ecto morph with long limbs. Having longer limbs changes our bio mechanics on lifting weights. Especially on the bench press. Another reason why your chest is under developed is because you are note working them the right way (getting a peak contraction). Many debate that there is no inner, outer, upper, lower or inner chest. And physiologically speaking your are right. The chest is primarily one big slab of muscle that contracts in a synergistic motion, but here is what they are not discerning: if you do not full engage the pectorals (peak contraction) you WILL have uneven development. The inner part of the chest can develop small stabilizing muscle through certain exercises. So for those who say there isn't an inner chest, you are right. For those who say you can develop the inner part of that muscle to its genetic limit (meaning actually engaging those muscles) you are right as well. Its a double sided blade. The reason why trainers recommend close grip bench and pec dec flys is because it engages muscles you DON'T engage during a bench press. Getting a peak contraction. For people like me, you might notice you have longer reach than others so while benching more of your and stress in places on your triceps and anterior deltoids. I can attest to this myself when in football I noticed my arms (triceps) and shoulders began growing like crazy, yet my chest still underdeveloped.
Don't worry onto the good stuff...
How to correct the issue an balance out that chest?
Well for people with longer arms, you are at a disadvantage at certain exercises for crucial chest development like the bench cause the pecs are not fully engaged. For more mesomorphic people, you have no problem developing the chest cause your arms are shorter, and the leverage at which you lift the weight can allow you to fully engage your pecs with no problem. So how do the taller ectomorphs build more mass in the chest? Here are my proven tips that will help you reach your chests genetic potential.
1. Mind muscle connection.
This has probably been butchered to death by bodybuilders, and some people look past it often. The main reason your chest is underdeveloped is not because you are a hardgainer, or because you can't build mass...it is because you are not fully activated what you have. A good way to build mind muscle connection is to lift slowly (3 sec down, 3 sec pause, 3 sec up) and with lighter weights for at least a month or so. It took me 3 years to build up that mind muscle connection, but if you focus on it...you'll get there alot faster than that.
2. Peak contraction.
It is very possible to develop an im-proportionate chest. You hear it all the time, inner chest this inner chest that. Well to put it bluntly...you have a 'inner chest' mass....you just are not engaging to muscles. In order to do that you must focus on squeezing them at the top of an exercise. Try this take a ball place it between your hands in front of you and try squeezing it together as hard as you can fo 10 seconds. That is focusing on your peak contracting. The main function of your chest was designed to bring your arm backward to a front position. If you are tall and benching, you are most likely pushing that bar in a straight line, and the only way for us tall people to engage those pecs is to have a wide wide grip and that can be disastrous to our shoulder...so next up is what exercise to do.
3. The CRITICAL exercises to getting that king kong chest.
Many may disagree with me, and you have your opinions. But I these worked for me cause everyone is different, and for taller people...if you wish to take that chest to the next level your gonna have to go above and beyond. If you wish to stay your size...keep doind what you are doing. Here are the critical exercises for achieving that massive chest you always wanted: HEAVY DUMBBELL FLYS in the 8-10 rep range (for pec thickness), DUMBBELL INCLINE AND FLAT PRESSES 6-8 reps (for mass/heavier weights), PEC DECK MACHINE 10-12 reps (for maximal peak contraction), DIPS 3 sets to failure (for maximal stretch and GH release).
4. Proper form.
Now I gave you the exercises, but you can still mess everything up by having bad form. Here are the tips from my own training experiencing in making the chest have maximal tension and contractions/as well as properly performing each exercise to reap the full benefits.
HEAVY DUMBBELL FLY: The reason this will be your main exercise is because all the tension is stressed on the chest. The key to proper form is this exercise is squeezing the dumbbells together at the top. Remember when going this heavy on a fly...DO NOT go past 180 degrees. This is not going to be used as a stretching exercise. Worry about bringing to weights to the sides under control, bringing them up slowly, squeezing the weights together at the top as if you were smooshing something together with both your hands.
DUMBELL INCLINE/FLAT PRESSES: the main thing I see people messing up when doing presses with dumbbells is that they use their arms to press the weight. In order to activate the pecs, you MUST arch the weights to the sides. Almost like a fly...but not nearly as wide. Pressing straight up will use way to musch shoulder and triceps effort and thus not letting you use those beautiful pecs. Also, focus on squeezing at the top. With the presses, you will be able to use more weight and thus gain more mass.
PEC DEC MACHINE: For me, this machine was a gift from god. While this machine is not used for building mass...this is your chance to start really activating those pecs to the max. In order to performs a pec dec machine fly to its full capability, you MUST hold at the top for 3 secs. After a set, I guarantee you will feel those tiny stabilizer muscles in your chest burning, and this is what will give your chest a litt more full look and when you flex you will be able to see striations. Akso don't forget to keep the eccentric and concentric part of the exercise under control.
DIPS: The reason I added dips into the mix is to get a really good stretch on the chest. Like the great Austrian Oak said himself...stretching it vital to growth. When you stretch your fascia, you allow that muscle to grow even bigger. Use this exercise to get that good stretch. Dips are also good for growth hormone release due to the high reps many people can dish out. Just remember to lean forward, keep your elbows tucked, and go down till your arms are parallel to the ground.
AND THAT IS IT!
Why dumbbells for most exercises?
Dumbbells allow you to recruit those tiny stabilizer mucles, allow for a more controlled range of motion, and you don't require a spotter.
Evidence that a program like this works:
the video I am about to post is of a guy that helped me gain mass on my chest. Basically me and him had the same exact problem (and many of you have the same problem we had). Small chest, but still strong.
Enter the following into the last part of youtube url
(Sorry I can't post cause I have no previous posts )
Skip to 2:30, and you will see his im-proportionate chest development, and then wait till he reveals the after photos from doing a routine like the one I have shared with you.
So in conclusion to anyone who says there is no inner chest, upper chest, outer chest, lower chest...agree BUT...if you don't properly work out the chest through a full ranch of motion, you will not activate all those muscles on the inner and upper parts of the chest. So I would have to disagree and say YES....there is an inner 'part' chest, and upper 'part' chest. Different exercises different angles of the chest. For example incline presses due infact put more stress on the upper part of the pecs. Decline puts more stress on the lower part of the pectorals, and exercises that allow you to deep stretch, will grow width, and maximal peak contractions fully engage the small fibers on the inner part of the chest.
Great article and sums all the problems of us tall people gaining chest mass and definition. I also only work with dumbbells for pectoralis, as it really gives a better effect than working on bench-press.
Loved the article but have a question. While slower motion exercises help build muscle, don't they shorten explosion for sports where one would need to move a muscle group fast? For ex. I am 6'3, have the same body type as you and do want to build a bigger chest but I play tennis and do martial arts so I don't want to get slow.
I am a newbie and I am not trying to correct you. Serious question.
I am going to try using that ball method before chest days to get the contraction feeling. Hopefully it will help out. Chestlet is a toughy. Thanks for the article, "newbie to a guy with 1,730 posts. Hell yeah"