Its Chest Day!!
Our chest is a large muscle group and to build a well balanced chest we have to train the muscle from different angles. There is a big misconception that incline movements train only the top portion of the chest, while decline only trains the bottom. This is completely false! The function of our pecs are to pull our arms forward and across the body. When we do this ALL muscle fibers are working. So yes when you train on an incline bench you are targeting the upper pec fibres, however the lower pec fibers are still working as well, just not as hard.
With that out of the way I will review how to train the chest using the 3 different angles.
From what I’ve noticed most people in the gym have an underdeveloped upper chest. Clearly this is a result of not focusing on it. A well developed upper chest helps to show the separation between the chest, neck, and shoulders.
Its my philosophy that at least 1 if not 2 incline movements should be done during each chest workout. I almost always do at least 4 sets of an incline dumbbell fly or incline dumbbell press. I prefer dumbbells to bars with upper chest as it allows me greater control when trying to isolate the chest muscle.
Here is a list of the most popular Incline chest building exercises:
Incline Dumbbell & Barbell Press Incline Dumbbell Fly Incline Smith Machine Press (Great when you want to go heavy and don’t have a spotter available to you) Hammer Strength Incline Press High Cable Flys Pec Deck Machine
Decline Movements will help you to target the lower pecs. Focusing on the lower chest will help you get that thick well rounded chest. Its the first part of the chest that starts to show separation, and the part of the chest most dense with muscle fibres. Once again there should be at least 1 if not 2 decline movements in each workout. While I do feel that I can get a better contraction with dumbbells, I still occasionally opt to use the decline bench press as well.
Here is a list of the most popular Decline chest building exercises:
Decline Dumbbell & Barbell Press Decline Dumbbell Fly Decline Smith Machine Press (Great when you want to go heavy and don’t have a spotter available to you) Hammer Strength Decline Press Low Cable Flys Pec Deck Machine
Although the flat bench press can be very effective, many bodybuilder will not do it for two reasons:
Many people including pro bodybuilders believe that flat bench is very hard on your shoulders and rotator cuff Some people believe there is no need to flat bench if you do incline and decline
I believe both. Whether I am right or wrong, that’s my philosophy. I have personally seen great gains since excluding the flat bench press. At one point I absolutely hated chest day due to the shoulder pain I would get halfway through my workout. Now I no longer have that pain during my workouts.