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Bodybuilding Exercise Technique Guide: Best of the Chest

Blast through any plateau with these unique chest exercises!
Views: 1.976 Created 09/09/2009

A thick, hard, cut chest is right up there on the list of most bodybuilders, both pro and amateur.  Unfortunately, there is so much bad info out there when it comes to properly stimulating the pecs that chests like I just described are becoming rare these days.

The first key to building the chest you want is to select movements that powefully activate the chest motor units.  The first exercise that springs to mind for most body builders when they think of pectoral exercises is the barbell bench press.  But the bench press is not a great chest builder unless you happen to have the optimal leverage for it.  On top of that, most people perform the bench press incorrectly.  If you put together poor leverages and poor technique it is no surprise why you feel the bench more in your front deltoids and triceps than in your chest!

I am going to show you three of my favorite chest building exercises.  It is important to keep in mind that if these are done with poor technique you are short-changing your muscle gains and may be setting yourself up for injury.  To prevent this from occurring make sure to get some technique tips from an expert so that you can build the pecs you want without getting hurt.

Paused Bench Press
I know I just finished saying that the flat bench press is not the best chest building exercise, but there are certain variations that work the chest rather well, assuming you perform them correctly.  The paused barbell bench press is one such variation.  By pausing the bar at the chest for 1 to 5 seconds before pressing it back up you kill the stretch reflex and lose any stored elastic energy you created during the eccentric.  This will make pressing the weight back up much more difficult, but it will also force your pecs to produce a huge amount of force in order to launch the bar from your chest back to the starting position.

Incline DB Bench Press
One of the typical complaints of body builders is not just their overall chest size, but their upper chest size in particular. Incline presses are a great solution to this because they target the upper portion of the chest, which gives the appearance of a more full chest, without giving you man boobs.  The use of dumbbells is a good idea here as they allow for a deeper stretch in the bottom of the exercise.  This deep stretch stimulates a lot of underused motor units in the pectorals which can jump start new growth to occur.

Cable Crossovers
Even though variations of the bench press are all well and good, to really isolate on the chest you need to work on the flying motion.  This can be done with a variety of exercises, but I really prefer cable crossovers here because of the constant tension the pulley gives you during the complete exercise.  The key is to concentrate on a good stretch at the beginning and keeping constant tension on the chest during the movement.  This is a great finishing exercise to any chest workout.


Remember that while these exercises are fantastic for building powerful pecs, they must be done with the proper technique in order to get the most benefit.

See video and get tips on paused bench press and other exercises in the free body building exercise technique guide

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