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  1. #1
    Registered User ChuckersT's Avatar
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    Bench Presses working my Chest???

    Ive been lifting for 8 weeks. When I am doing bench presses, close grip and wide grip, I feel it a lot in my arms, but dont really feel it in my chest at all. Is this normal? Is my chest getting a workout?
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    49 going on 36 PurmaBulker1984's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ChuckersT View Post
    Ive been lifting for 8 weeks. When I am doing bench presses, close grip and wide grip, I feel it a lot in my arms, but dont really feel it in my chest at all. Is this normal? Is my chest getting a workout?
    Your chest is getting a workout. Your arms may be the weakest link, so they fatigue first. In which case they will catch up.

    Or your form really sucks, you can post a video to rule that out.
    160 lbs and jacked is about as impressive as D cups on a 300lb woman
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Triceps give out first, or sometimes forearms. But to fix it, do pec flyes first, either 1 set and move on immediately to bench press (sub 10 seconds rest), or a normal 3-4 set of pec flyes first. Then bench will feel a lot better on your chest.

    This is called pre-fatigue, and in time you will figure out how to pre-fatigue just enough so your chest and triceps give out at the same time.
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    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Close grip work the triceps more.
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    For bodybuilding and hypertrophy purposes the BP is not the ideal movement for the chest.
    If you do do it make sure you maintain some type of arch in the low back/rib cage.
    Staying perfectly flat engages shoulders and triceps more.
    Keep upper arms out away from the body at or almost a 90 degree angle.
    This allows the upper arm (from elbow to shoulder) to move in a position to contract the pecs better.
    But with a bar you stop short of a full contraction because of the locked hand position on the bar.
    DB's would be a better choice if pec development is your goal.
    With a barbell you can though handle heavier weights which has some stimulation on the pecs but for the most part it's a synergistic effort by many muscles to move the weight,a compound movement.
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    Registered User tonyarmstrong's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    For bodybuilding and hypertrophy purposes the BP is not the ideal movement for the chest.
    If you do do it make sure you maintain some type of arch in the low back/rib cage.
    Staying perfectly flat engages shoulders and triceps more.
    Keep upper arms out away from the body at or almost a 90 degree angle.
    This allows the upper arm (from elbow to shoulder) to move in a position to contract the pecs better.
    But with a bar you stop short of a full contraction because of the locked hand position on the bar.
    DB's would be a better choice if pec development is your goal.
    With a barbell you can though handle heavier weights which has some stimulation on the pecs but for the most part it's a synergistic effort by many muscles to move the weight,a compound movement.

    I agree with everything here. Dumbbells are pretty key when really trying to focus in on the chest. When I can't get my mind/body connection working perfectly, sometimes I try to do a more chest focused exercise prior to benching.... cable or dumbbell flys for example. This way I can feel the stretch and blood start to work into my chest. Then when I go back to benching, I feel my chest activating more and the mind/body connection is firing.
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    Registered User Johnez's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    Triceps give out first, or sometimes forearms. But to fix it, do pec flyes first, either 1 set and move on immediately to bench press (sub 10 seconds rest), or a normal 3-4 set of pec flyes first. Then bench will feel a lot better on your chest.

    This is called pre-fatigue, and in time you will figure out how to pre-fatigue just enough so your chest and triceps give out at the same time.
    Damn good tip, and convenient for when waiting for the bench to open ha. Thanks.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Johnez View Post
    Damn good tip, and convenient for when waiting for the bench to open ha. Thanks.
    Cool man, leg extensions before squats do a similar thing, or bicep curls before lat pull down.
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  9. #9
    Never accept defeat! backinthegymbro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    For bodybuilding and hypertrophy purposes the BP is not the ideal movement for the chest.
    If you do do it make sure you maintain some type of arch in the low back/rib cage.
    What's your opinion on incline bench? Flat back or arch as well?
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    49 going on 36 PurmaBulker1984's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by backinthegymbro View Post
    What's your opinion on incline bench? Flat back or arch as well?
    always arch
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  11. #11
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Yes^^^ same applies to the incline.
    Try to keep the shoulders back and chest arched and maintain that position as much as possible.
    Also keep the head back not forward or chin to chest position.
    If your head /neck bend forward the upper back usually follows and you flatten out.
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  12. #12
    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Therman practically looks like he's doing a flat press the way he arcs:

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    'Retract the scapula' is an absolute MUST to remember when doing chest exercises, especially bench press. If you don't, your shoulders will play a far bigger role and we do not want this! Before you do your chest exercises, really try to pull your shoulder back and down. That way, the pec's function, which is to bring the upper arm in towards the middle of the body, really gets activated. If you do not retract your scapula when you press, there'll be too much front delt involvement and this will a) contribute towards the front delt giving out and limiting your reps and 2) your front delts getting too big relative to your chest leading to a bad look
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    Originally Posted by richard99cook View Post
    'Retract the scapula' is an absolute MUST to remember when doing chest exercises, especially bench press. If you don't, your shoulders will play a far bigger role and we do not want this! Before you do your chest exercises, really try to pull your shoulder back and down. That way, the pec's function, which is to bring the upper arm in towards the middle of the body, really gets activated. If you do not retract your scapula when you press, there'll be too much front delt involvement and this will a) contribute towards the front delt giving out and limiting your reps and 2) your front delts getting too big relative to your chest leading to a bad look
    Do you tense upper or lower trap? I find lower trap is more recommended but tensing upper trap gets me to do more weight?
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    Originally Posted by TrojanHorse0 View Post
    Do you tense upper or lower trap? I find lower trap is more recommended but tensing upper trap gets me to do more weight?
    Nothing to do with trap - squeeze shoulder blades together=lats do that work
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    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Mid traps and lower traps work in retracting the scapula and rotating it back/down, respectively.

    I'd think upper traps work more when your elbows are flared, which is more and more advised against.
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    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by richard99cook View Post
    Nothing to do with trap - squeeze shoulder blades together=lats do that work
    The lats don't attach to the scapula, they attach to the humerus. The traps attach the scapula to the spine.
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    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    The lats don't attach to the scapula, they attach to the humerus. The traps attach the scapula to the spine.
    I think he might have been presuming upper traps since that's the only part of the traps that people directly train.
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    What helped me feel my chest better during exercises was learning how to flex my chest.

    Try to do a bench pressing motion while standing upright infront of the mirror. Retract your scapula like people already suggested (I had a weak connection with my back muscles aswel, which prevented me from bench pressing correctly.. which in turn didn’t make me feel my chest working) and then try to squeeze your chest as hard as possible.

    The function of the chest muscle is to bring your upper arm closer to your torso, in short. Keep that in mind.
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    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Well if you can bench more than you can press overhead, then the fact that you can't feel your chest is frivolous. I doubt this is EVER a case where people are only using their shoulders or something if that's even possible.

    If you're able to do a pullup then you're working your lats.
    If you're able to bench 1.5 times your OHP then you are using your chest.
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