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Impeccable Pecs!

I began a semi-strictly dumbbell chest workout about a couple months ago and have noticed a dramatic change in shape.

The surplus of workouts and information regarding the pectorals would have many, including myself, believe that one, just one, might prove valuable and serviceable to attaining that so-desired chest.

Anatomy of the Chest
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Anatomy Of The Chest.

To many readers' dismay and to my lackadaisical summer attitude, I'm not going to bring you another article on the "impeccable pectoral workout". What I want to convey to my readers is not only an informative piece on proper execution of chest exercises, but also a cry of disgust and abhorrence for bad form in the gym!

It befuddles me that these lifters believe they can achieve muscular enhancement through their uneducated workout methods. The accusations may be harsh, but the wasted time in the gym is more severe on the checkbook. Disregarding the lifter's personal workout, one should examine how they workout, not what exercises they choose.

Proper Form

After reading Big Cat's "Ice Training The Chest" article on proper chest development (a very informative piece I might add), I began to think about how many spent minutes I placed into developing my average chest. Reading his section on anterior deltoid involvement throughout several chest exercises really kicked me in the nuts.

I.C.E. Program #9 - Training The Chest! I.C.E. Program #9 - Training The Chest!
Slowly but certainly the focus when training the body has shifted from muscular shoulders and a tiny waist, to building a chest that resembles the armour of a mythical soldier.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

On a side note, my larger-than-average delts and I are not on good terms. Trying Cat's method of scapular retraction, I found myself concentrating on retaining this position throughout my sets instead of concentrating on what mattered - the weights.

Despite my bitching, I must admit that I felt a positive stimulus after my workout. Furthermore, I tried pre-exhausting the muscle with dumbbell flyes; and to keep a long story short, this method remains in my workout as a tried and true technique. I wanted more though; I wanted to know how to execute.

Dumbbell Growth

Agreeing with many writers, the bench press is an overrated exercise (on a personal note, I stopped benching). I began a semi-strictly dumbbell chest workout about a couple months ago and have noticed a dramatic change in shape.

Although mass is slower to achieve while only using dumbbells, I find myself pleased with greater definition and shape. However, the real meat and potatoes of this article lies in the execution of these exercises.

    To View Dumbbell-Only Chest Exercises, Click Here.

The positioning of the hands in any dumbbell press is extremely important. While you may have learned or viewed that dumbbell presses should be done with the palms of the hands facing away from you, I challenge that philosophy. To experiment, I made the palms of my hands face each other throughout my set of dumbbell presses, whether it be decline, flat or incline.

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Incline Dumbbell Bench With Palms Facing In.

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What I found was an even greater stimulus than that provided by the regular palm-facing-away-from-the-body dumbbell press. With the palms facing each other, a deeper stretch is more capable and the elbows are allowed more room to move freely (in this particular exercise, the elbows should be as far back as possible).

Coupled with scapular retraction, this varied form of dumbbell presses conceives a new environment for greater muscle growth.

Furthermore, to pre-exhaust the chest muscles, one should, quoting from Big Cat, warm up with dumbbell flyes. While I find no better way to pre-exhaust the chest muscle, I would like to share an unconventional and rare way of performing dumbbell flyes.

Modified Dumbbell Flyes

    Rotate the hands from the conventional (palms facing each other) to thumbs facing each other. While it may seem and feel extremely uncomfortable, the stimulus provided by this rotation has been mentioned to be greater. While I have only experimented with this method for two weeks, I can see greater gains when coupled with the palms facing each other dumbbell presses.

    Additionally, while carrying out decline dumbbell flyes, bring your pinkies together and squeeze your lower pecs. When performing flat bench and incline dumbbell flyes, tilt the dumbbells several degrees so that they form a wide "V" at the top of the movement (all the while with the thumbs still coming together).


From a personal standpoint, I found greater gains from this form of hand rotation than the general school of thought. I offer you, the reader, to experiment with this form of dumbbell press and flyes. What have you got to lose? After all, bodybuilding is about variation; and muscle needs to be hit from all angles!