Have you ever seen an elite powerlifter with small pecs? Neither have we. So yes, a guaranteed way to build bigger pectorals is to push a lot of weight on the bench press on a consistent basis. But it’s not the only way to build muscle. In fact, using moderate weight in your training routine as well as being diligent about how often you change exercises and methods of resistance are three other crucial factors in continuous progression. With your pecs, that means swapping in other exercises for standard compound movements like the bench press, incline bench press, and decline bench press.
Doing so will target the upper and lower pectorals from different angles and force them to adapt to new stresses. In turn, this will stimulate growth. Need some help identifying new moves? Try these three and be sure to start with light weight:
Reverse-Grip Smith Machine
Tips: start light and get a feel for the movement; it’ll feel awkward at first.
Get into position as if you’re going to perform a standard bench press on a flat bench. Grasp the bar at shoulder-width with your palms facing you (hence the name “reverse grip”). Lift the bar and keep it steady above your chest with your arms extended; slowly lower the bar to your chest, pause when the bar has reached your chest, and then press the weight back up. That’s one rep.
One-arm Smith Machine Bench Press
Tips: this movement will help you determine if you have muscular imbalances.
Center a flat bench inside of a Smith machine setup. Lie faceup and grip the bar with a wide overhand grip; remove one hand from the bar. Bend your arm slowly and lower the bar toward your chest (your elbow should point down at the bottom position). Once the bar reaches your chest, press it back up to the start position and squeeze your chest at the apex of the movement.
Smith Machine Bench Press Throw
Tips: this exercise will help develop strength and explosive power.
Center a flat bench inside of a Smith machine setup. Lie faceup and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip with the bar just above your lower chest. Once the bar hits your chest, explosively push it toward the ceiling. Throw the bar as high as possible, catch it, and then execute the next rep.
Related: Perfect Overhead Triceps Extensions
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