Just about every guy at the gym is trying to grow a stronger, more defined chest. Many are hitting their chest workouts 1-2 times a week but aren’t seeing the results they want. Here are some common chest training mistakes to avoid so your workouts aren’t wasted.
Improper Bench Press Form
Full range of motion is key. Make sure you are nearly touching your chest with the bar.
I hate seeing guys at the gym who slap more plates on the bar yet are doing ½ to ¾ of a rep. Unless you are using your full range you aren’t activating all the muscle fibers that you can.
You can use different grip widths to challenge your shoulders, triceps, and chest differently. Just remember that the narrower your grip the more your triceps are working. The wider your grip the more you’re challenging those pecs.
Focus on breathing. Inhale down; exhale up. Don’t hold your breath as you’re pushing the bar back up.
Here’s a great article on specific posture and form to bench press correctly.
Neglecting Eccentric Training
Don’t drop the bar to your chest. For one, that could hurt. Two, the eccentric (downward) phase of your lift is as important as your concentric (upward) phase. Dropping the bar quickly to your chest means you’re missing out on half the workout.
Not Caring For Your Shoulders
Don’t bench press heavy until you’ve developed the shoulder strength to handle it.
Telling the difference between shoulder muscle pain, and pain caused by rotator cuff tears or impingement is difficult. But if you are experiencing soreness specifically inside your shoulder you are lifting too heavy, and might even be doing too many repeated movements.
As your chest training develops, take your shoulder building more seriously than your chest building. What’s the hardest part of the bench press? The bottom. And that’s where the shoulders really come in to play. Build and take care of your shoulders and you’ll see your ability to develop your chest increase much further.
Spending Too Much Time on the Bench
Mix it up. Don’t spend 20 minutes only doing the traditional olympic bar bench press. Challenge your chest training in different ways.
High Reps of Push Ups
Pushups are an excellent exercise that WILL make you stronger and more athletic. But making these the primary staple of your exercise is another common chest training mistake that robs you of strength and mass gains. 3 heavier sets on the bench are going to do more for your chest strength and size than 60 pushups.
Using Machines vs. Free Weights
Working out on machines will certainly challenge your muscles. But there is nothing better than using free weights to maximize the resistance your body is experiencing.
When using a barbell or dumbbell more of your body has to engage during the exercise than during the use of a stationary machine. Free weight use will not only help you build muscle faster but burn more calories.
Don’t be a victim of these common chest training mistakes! You don’t want to hurt your shoulders or do anything else to set back your gains. You also want to make sure you are absolutely maximizing your time invested in the gym.
No matter what anyone says, the best way to build a shredded chest is to combine excellent chest training and impeccable eating.