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Thread: Shaping muscle?

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    Registered User GrantC99's Avatar
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    Shaping muscle?

    Sup guys
    I didnt know what category to put this in but heres my question.
    Iv been training for a year or so and its going well. One thing i have noticed which isnt so good is the shape of my pectorals. There slightly fuller at the bottom and rounded. They look fine when my shirt is off but when i wear t-shirts it looks like i have moobs!
    Is there a way to shape them and make them more square or is this just the way im going to grow?

    I do mainly flat bench with bars and dumbs but also raised bench. And flys.
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    Sounds like you are wanting to bring out your upper pecs. Start doing some incline bench focus on squeezing at the top. I love the feeling of dumbbell incline when i bring the weights together and squeeze at the top.
    If the lower pec is fat then i suggest cutting, but i am going to assume that its mostly muscle and you just need to develop you upper pec.
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    If the lower pec is fat then i suggest cutting, but i am going to assume that its mostly muscle and you just need to develop you upper pec.
    Its definitely not fat. Il concentrate on incline bench for a while then. Would shoulder excises help too?
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    Sounds like you've been using bench as your primary chest exercise. Unfortunately, bench press is not an entirely balanced(effective) chest exercise, since it primary hits the outer pecs. It also allows you to compensate for weaker pecs with your triceps and front deltoids. Dumbbell press will give slightly better results, since the elbows can come further in during the motion.

    The key is remembering that your pecs pull your elbows toward the center of your body, toward each other. Bench presses fail to hit the inside of that motion(where the elbows come together), so the exercises that will give a full ROM would be pec dec, and cable or dumbbell flyes. Cable flyes would be my recommendation, since many people consider pec dec to be injury-prone, and dumbbell flyes begin to lose resistance as you reach the top of the motion, the part that works your inner pecs.
    Last edited by Virucyde; 01-19-2013 at 05:59 AM. Reason: Changing effective to entirely balanced, to clarify my bench blaspheming
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    Unfortunately, bench press is not an effective chest exercise, since it only hits the outer pecs.
    Love it when people cancel a 100 years of history with one sentence

    bb.com, a place that turned Deadlift into a forearm isolation exercise

    and a place where 99% of 21 year olds have bad back and knees.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    Sounds like you've been using bench as your primary chest exercise. Unfortunately, bench press is not an effective chest exercise, since it only hits the outer pecs. It also allows you to compensate for weaker pecs with your triceps and front deltoids. Dumbbell press will give slightly better results, since the elbows can come further in during the motion.

    The key is remembering that your pecs pull your elbows toward the center of your body, toward each other. Bench presses fail to hit the inside of that motion(where the elbows come together), so the exercises that will give a full ROM would be pec dec, and cable or dumbbell flyes. Cable flyes would be my recommendation, since many people consider pec dec to be injury-prone, and dumbbell flyes begin to lose resistance as you reach the top of the motion, the part that works your inner pecs.

    bro, do you even understand the human body?
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    Originally Posted by ZoranM View Post
    Love it when people cancel a 100 years of history with one sentence

    I did give the explanation for why I said that. If you want to diss me, please refute my argument instead of just citing broscience.

    It's not that bench can't help your chest, it's that it is inefficient as a chest exercise.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    I did give the explanation for why I said that. If you want to diss me, please refute my argument instead of just citing broscience.

    It's not that bench can't help your chest, it's that it is inefficient as a chest exercise.
    your understanding is very very flawed. If you don't mind me asking, where did you learn this stuff.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    it's that it is inefficient as a chest exercise.
    You're either 16yo, an idiot, started lifting days ago, never heard of what people do in gyms, or read some anatomy article.

    Any way, it's a stupidest thing to refute, so i'll pass.
    bb.com, a place that turned Deadlift into a forearm isolation exercise

    and a place where 99% of 21 year olds have bad back and knees.
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    Originally Posted by ZoranM
    Any way, it's a stupidest thing to refute, so i'll pass.
    Refuting it is as easy as showing me that I'm wrong to say that the primary purpose of the pecs is to pull the elbows toward each other.

    My main point here is to say that as a compound exercise, the bench press fails to hit a full ROM for the pecs, just like most compound exercises fail to hit the full ROM for their respective muscles. I can edit my original post to clarify that if you'd like, because as far as I can tell you guys have stopped reading the moment you see any blasphemous comments regarding the bench press.

    Originally Posted by Xuaxace
    If you don't mind me asking, where did you learn this stuff.
    This is basic anatomy, I'm asking what the muscle is intended to do, and finding exercises that match this purpose. If you want a more experienced lifter's opinion, ATrainer had quite a few posts with the same opinions.

    EDIT: Changed the original post, does the new wording make you guys happy? I said bench press is an "imbalanced" chest exercise, rather than an "ineffective" one.
    Last edited by Virucyde; 01-19-2013 at 06:03 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    This is basic anatomy, I'm asking what the muscle is intended to do, and finding exercises that match this purpose. If you want a more experienced lifter's opinion, ATrainer had quite a few posts with the same opinions.

    EDIT: Changed the original post, does the new wording make you guys happy?
    By your rule of thumb, basically any compound is innefective at building a certain muscle because a compound by definition has a number of muscle working in together to perform a certain movement. E.g the bench press has the pectoralis major adducting the humerous, the front deltoid flexing the humorous and the tricep extention the humorous. WHen you have various muscles working, emphasis do change, and you are right, with a barbell bench, the chest doesn't have to fully adduct the humerous, does that matter much? not really. With a wider grip, the pectoralis major is stretched a lot, remember that more muscle strain is the the muscle is stretched and contracting at the very end of the motion like with a fly actually doesn't add that much hyperthrophy. Sure it is a good movement to finish off but not even remotely necessary

    P.s I haven't done any chest isolation in over two years, my chest one of my strong points right now.
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    While there's a lot of anecdotal evidence to support bench press as a good stand-alone pec exercise, there's also just about as much evidence supporting the idea that you can definitely shape your pecs and create imbalances by failing to train a full ROM. This topic is an example of that.

    I will admit this, that the viability of bench press as a chest exercise really depends on your form. For many newer trainers, bench press primarily utilizes their triceps and front deltoids, since they haven't made the mind-muscle connection with their pecs. At the very least my recommendations for the OP still stand, since if he's having pec problems doing bench, isolation exercises might help him begin using the pecs better throughout the bench.

    Have you ever felt your inner pecs burn after a bench press? I know I haven't, it's always the outside. When I began doing isolation chest exercises, that was the first time I ever had my chest feel as pumped as my forearms do after wrist curls. I know pump isn't an indicator of hypertrophy, but it definitely shows where the work is being done. While you can definitely get big with imbalanced exercises, if we assume that's completely normal and works just as well as a full ROM, why do we worry about getting full ROM on our exercises in the first place?

    So back to the original topic, he has chest imbalances, I figure it can't hurt to try some more balanced chest exercises. At the very least it can help his form on bench press. I guess my other question is what your suggestion for this problem would be. I suppose incline bench could potentially fix his problem, but I also think the problem began as a result of imbalanced flat bench press.
    Last edited by Virucyde; 01-19-2013 at 06:22 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    While there's a lot of anecdotal evidence to support bench press as a good stand-alone pec exercise, there's also just about as much evidence supporting the idea that you can definitely shape your pecs and create imbalances by failing to train a full ROM. This topic is an example of that.
    You are claiming that there are a inner vs outer inbalance, I have never seen this before, people refer me to any example of such inbalance


    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    I will admit this, that the viability of bench press as a chest exercise really depends on your form. For many newer trainers, bench press primarily utilizes their triceps and front deltoids, since they haven't made the mind-muscle connection with their pecs. At the very least my recommendations for the OP still stand, since if he's having pec problems doing bench, isolation exercises might help him begin using the pecs better throughout the bench.
    ofcourse it is all about form, mine is pretty good so my pecs get hit hard. You can not say an exercise is not eficient when it is the lifter that is ****ing it all up. If the lifter can not even figure out how to bench to target his chest properly, there is no chance he will be smart enough to do anything else

    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post

    Have you ever felt your inner pecs burn after a bench press? I know I haven't, it's always the outside. When I began doing isolation chest exercises, that was the first time I ever had my chest feel as pumped as my forearms do after wrist curls. I know pump isn't an indicator of hypertrophy, but it definitely shows where the work is being done. While you can definitely get big with imbalanced exercises, if we assume that's completely normal and works just as well as a full ROM, why do we worry about getting full ROM on our exercises in the first place?
    I feel my whole chest burning when doing presses and why wouldn't it, the muscle is similar to a rubber band, it stretches as a whole.

    Regarding FULL rom... bollocks. There is such a tinny different between between fully adducting the humours and not that is is laughable you are basing your whole argument on this. Hell even when I do dumbbells I do not even bother bringing them together as you suggest, as it really made no difference, the chest barely does anything in that very part of the ROM as the leverages as so optimal, it would probably take dumbbells going much heavier to what you would be using to get any hyperthrophy for that very last part of the movement.

    P.s if you see most bodybuilders, say ronnie, they don't even lockout, the just keep tension on the pec on the lower 2/3 of the movement, why, because of the action of the chest is that, not a ****ty fly movement at the end.


    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    So back to the original topic, he has chest imbalances, I figure it can't hurt to try some more balanced chest exercises. At the very least it can help his form on bench press. I guess my other question is what your suggestion for this problem would be.
    his post is far too vague to make any decent assesment

    however improving on his form and progressive overloading tends to do the trick 99% of the time.

    p.s just sounds like he has fat and no upper chest
    Last edited by Xuaxace; 01-19-2013 at 06:37 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    You are claiming that there are a inner vs outer inbalance, I have never seen this before, people refer me to any example of such inbalance
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=outer+inner+pec+imbalance

    Looks like there are plenty of credible sources backing me up on that one, bro.


    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    ofcourse it is all about form, mine is pretty good so my pecs get hit hard. You can not say an exercise is not eficient when it is the lifter that is ****ing it all up. If the lifter can not even figure out how to bench to target his chest properly, there is no chance he will be smart enough to do anything else
    If an exercise's form is complex enough that it takes the lifter away from simple progressive overload, then yes, I can say it is inefficient. Clean and press would be an example of this(as far as general bodybuilding is concerned). Now, I admit that bench press form is not incredibly complicated, but many have problems with it, and if an alternative exercise can resolve that, I see no reason not to suggest it.

    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    I feel my whole chest burning when doing presses and why wouldn't it, the muscle is similar to a rubber band, it stretches as a whole.
    Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, since there are many different attachment points for the fibers and many fibers. It's more like a lot of different sized rubber bands attached at different points.

    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    Regarding FULL rom... bollocks. There is such a tinny different between between fully adducting the humours and not that is is laughable you are basing your whole argument on this. Hell even when I do dumbbells I do not even bother bringing them together as you suggest, as it really made no difference, the chest barely does anything in that very part of the ROM as the leverages as so optimal, it would probably take dumbbells going much heavier to what you would be using to get any hyperthrophy for that very last part of the movement.

    P.s if you see most bodybuilders, say ronnie, they don't even lockout, the just keep tension on the pec on the lower 2/3 of the movement, why, because of the action of the chest is that, not a ****ty fly movement at the end.
    I actually completely agree with you regarding the suboptimal leverages, this was ATrainer's main beef with bench press. The issue is that as the lift approaches the top of the movement, the weight begins resting on the fulcrum. This is why I recommended he do Cable Flyes, since they remove this problem that dumbbell flyes have.

    And Ronnie is on steroids, so I'm not sure that's the best example, since the efficiency of his exercise doesn't matter that much.

    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post
    his post is far too vague to make any decent assesment

    however improving on his form and progressive overloading tends to do the trick 99% of the time.

    p.s just sounds like he has fat and no upper chest
    You're probably right, and this entire discussion is entirely off-base. However, I think I've made my points, and from here we'd probably just be arguing about the facts. In reality, bench press, if done with proper form, can be an adequate chest exercise. I'm getting into the 20% part of the 80/20 rule by worrying about it like I am. I just think bench press isn't entirely optimal for the chest, and I understand if that seems to go against popular "fact."

    I did enjoy the discussion though, thanks for not just calling me a troll and ignoring my comments.
    Last edited by Virucyde; 01-19-2013 at 07:07 AM.
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    [QUOTE=Virucyde;1012386633]http://lmgtfy.com/?q=outer+inner+pec+imbalance

    Looks like there are plenty of credible sources backing me up on that one, bro.

    [quote]

    Mate, you just put inner pec inbalance on google, there are just a bunch of post by newbies that have no ****ing idea of what they are talking about on yahoo questions. I have never seen any seasoned lifter with such problem. I would like to actually see "credible sources"


    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post

    If an exercise's form is complex enough that it takes the lifter away from simple progressive overload, then yes, I can say it is inefficient. Clean and press would be an example of this(as far as general bodybuilding is concerned). Now, I admit that bench press form is not incredibly complicated, but many have problems with it, and if an alternative exercise can resolve that, I see no reason not to suggest it.
    To be honest, if someone has problems with not getting the bench press right, chances are that they will struggle very hard to progressive overload with any type of chest isolation work. E.g like trying to overload on flies and ending up ****ing the movement up by going to heavy and doing so pseudo bench press like a lot of people do in the gym anyway. Any exercise requires a certain level of expertise, If someone can not get the bench down pat, they have no issue benching, there are plenty of reseources out there (so you think you can bench press or diesel crew bench press tutorial)

    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, since there are many different attachment points for the fibers and many fibers. It's more like a lot of different sized rubber bands attached at different points.
    clear example of overthinking. I do the bench press motion and there is tension throughout the muscle, no problem there.

    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    I actually completely agree with you regarding the suboptimal leverages, this was ATrainer's main beef with bench press. The issue is that as the lift approaches the top of the movement, the weight begins resting on the fulcrum. This is why I recommended he do Cable Flyes, since they remove this problem that dumbbell flyes have.

    And Ronnie is on steroids, so I'm not sure that's the best example, since the efficiency of his exercise doesn't matter that much.
    I use ronnie as an example because he has the famous 200lb db press video that everyone has seen. Regardles, most bodybuilders train the same way when doing bench press movements. They do 3/4 of the movement, focussing on constant tension at the bottom of the movement, where most tension is place through the muscle. I have done the same for a long time and have gotten great results from it. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH STEREOIDS.

    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post
    You're probably right, and this entire discussion is entirely off-base. However, I think I've made my points, and from here we'd probably just be arguing about the facts. In reality, bench press, if done with proper form, can be an adequate chest exercise. I'm getting into the 20% part of the 80/20 rule by worrying about it like I am. I just think bench press isn't entirely optimal for the chest, and I understand if that seems to go against popular "fact."

    I did enjoy the discussion though, thanks for not just calling me a troll and ignoring my comments.
    To be honest, your discussion seems to be more about that isolation is better than compounds. Both have their place.
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  16. #16
    Registered User repsandsets's Avatar
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    Op - there are three things possibly going on:

    1. Body fat - but you've ruled at out, so...
    2. Lower chest over developed relative to upper chest, in which case work in more exercises hitting your clavicular pectorals
    3. Genetic - there's a great variety of pec shapes we're born with - some more square, some more rounded. Some more separated in the middle. Some more angled at the sides. No amount of working out can change this. I'm not happy with the shape of mine, but I think as they get bigger, they look better anyway, so just keep doing what you're doing.
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  17. #17
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    Wow didnt think this would cause such a debate.

    Originally Posted by Xuaxace View Post

    his post is far too vague to make any decent assesment

    however improving on his form and progressive overloading tends to do the trick 99% of the time.

    p.s just sounds like he has fat and no upper chest
    I dont think its my form, my grip is usually shoulder with apart sometimes il have them a little wider or closer together to mix it up. My shoulder blades are pulled back the whole time and my back straight not arched. I also mentally think of my chest muscles during the workout - iv been told this helps.



    [QUOTED by repsandsets]
    3. Genetic - there's a great variety of pec shapes we're born with - some more square, some more rounded. Some more separated in the middle. Some more angled at the sides. No amount of working out can change this. I'm not happy with the shape of mine, but I think as they get bigger, they look better anyway, so just keep doing what you're doing.. I'm not happy with the shape of mine, but I think as they get bigger, they look better anyway, so just keep doing what you're doing.

    By the looks or your picture you have the same sort of shape, slightly rounded and separated in the middle. Il carry on doing what im doing but concentrate on raised bench for a bit.
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    Originally Posted by Virucyde View Post

    This is basic anatomy, I'm asking what the muscle is intended to do, and finding exercises that match this purpose. If you want a more experienced lifter's opinion, ATrainer had quite a few posts with the same opinions.
    If atrainer, Coleman or even God himself was to say that bench press is ineffective, it would still be BS. The fact that you changed the word means nothing. Whatahell does an 'imbalanced' exercise mean?

    You somehow turned all this into inner chest debate or emphasizing the muscle, for no reason. Yes we know that it can be done. There may be nothing harder in bodybuilding, even though it is possible, than to make something of a non existing inner chest. Esp. for beginners. Recommending a cable fly instead of a bench press is such a nonsense, I don't even... You ADD stuff to pressing. No exercise is 'completely balanced'. If we were to to disect every chest exercise, talk ROM, max. resistance etc., there would still be no exercise that is more effective than some sort of bench press.

    Bodybuilding is NOT anatomy. If I throw in a wording like Neural activation, poof. What says in a book that muscle does suddenly goes away in some cases.

    Sometimes BP does what happened to OP. Moob like look. First step then is a strong upper chest emphasis, via incline bench pressing. And not forget bench, do cable flies.
    bb.com, a place that turned Deadlift into a forearm isolation exercise

    and a place where 99% of 21 year olds have bad back and knees.
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  19. #19
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    Dumbbell flys, incline dumbbell bench press, wide grip incline/decline barbell press, weighted dips, low pulley cross-overs.
    Personally, I have seen the best chest development (shaping) in doing heavy incline dumbbell flys, incline cable flys (slow negatives), and low pulley cross-overs (drop-sets).
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