As a personal trainer, form on chest exercises is probably the one thing I correct more than anything else. The better mind-muscle connection you have, the more stimulation will happen!
By IFBB Pro Josh Wade
Q: I have a hard time connecting with my chest during workouts. Are there any pointers you can give?
As a personal trainer, form on chest exercises is probably the one thing I correct more than anything else. The first thing is most people don’t create enough arch in the back. This is even harder for people that work at a desk because they don’t have the best curvature of the spine due to leaning forward or rounding shoulders, so the tissue in the pecs and delts becomes so tight that they are internally rotated. Make sure you stretch your pecs daily, so that your shoulders sit back in the proper position and not rolled forward.
When setting yourself up on all chest exercises, make sure you roll your head back as hard as you comfortably can, so your back is arched, shoulders are rolled back under you and your chest is the highest point and not your anterior delts. Then when you press, make sure you extend the arms to contract the pecs but don’t reach, which will pull the back of the shoulder off the pad. Then it’s very important to control the negative portion of the exercise while still trying to squeeze the chest. Remember the better mind-muscle connection you have, the more stimulation will happen!
Another way I like to start my chest workouts is to start on a machine press. That way you don’t have to worry about stabilizing and can focus just on the contraction and resistance. If you have a pump, it’s easier to feel the muscle working. Another important factor is minimizing rest periods at this point to make sure you do get a good pump to start the workout! Try this routine, which is one of my favorite chest workouts that I do most frequently.
Seated Chest Press: 2 x 15 warm-up (30-second rest), 4 x 12-10 (last set 2 drops) (45-60 second rest on working sets)
Incline Bench: 4 x 12-8 (60-90 second rest). Here you can push more weight safely as the muscle is already warmed up and pre-exhausted.
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 x 12-10, superset with:
Incline Dumbbell Flyes: (pronated grip) 4×12-10
Do your press, then immediately reduce the weight by about 50 percent and go right into pronated flyes; which for me really stretch the pecs and puts a nasty burn and pump in the muscle.
Machine Flyes: 3 x 12 (squeeze contraction for 1 second on every rep). Once the muscle is pumped, here you can squeeze the life out of it till it’s done!
I hope this helps you connect with pecs and stay injury free.
For more information, visit allmaxnutrition.com