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Pec Building: Up, Up And Away!

So you have a low body fat percentage and you lift weights yet you cannot understand why it is that when you wear a t-shirt or jumper it looks like you have boobs and not pecs.

So you have a low body fat percentage and you lift weights yet you cannot understand why it is that when you wear a t-shirt or jumper it looks like you have boobs and not pecs. Well my friends, the answer to that question is simple. You don't have much of an upper chest.

You may say "but I do inclines", and I'm sure most of you do. But think back to your early days, when perhaps you only did one chest exercise or when you benched everyday or when your workout was benching, cable crossovers and the pec-dec. Or the other day when you did declines. Every single rep you have ever lifted on a flat or decline bench is stopping you from distinguishing your upper chest. When did you last max on an incline or did heavy incline work first and used the regular bench as a final exercise I guess not very often.

Whether you admit it or not most of us are driven by that ego. Who wants to lift inclines balls-to-the-wall and then bench sets of 80kgs when that skinny guy does benches first and does 90's? People want to bench big in the gym so the put it first when they are freshest and then leave poor old Mr. Incline to second or third when the chest, tris and delts are already fatigued.

My solution
As some of you may know, I have an excellent recovery system which allows me to hits most muscle groups twice a week (although I don't if I'm not fully recovered with at least 2 days off and one day of full rest). However instead of hitting my chest twice a week I hit my upper chest once and my whole chest the next time.

This is my current split:
MONDAY: Upper Chest, Delts, Tris
TUESDAY: Back, Biceps
FRIDAY: Chest, Delts, Tris
On each day I do different exercises, volumes and rep counts.

My Upper Chest Routine
Smith machine Incline press 2-3x6-10
I use this as a safe warm up for my joints and tendons as there is no balancing of dumbbells or the such. As for the incline I like it at least 30 degrees. This goes against the 25-30 recommendation but I don't want to work my middle pecs and I feel unless it is at least 30 that's what I am doing. I prefer almost 45 degrees but this is something each individual needs to experiment with. As for delt involvement I try to minimize it but I really don't care that much. There really is not chest exercise that doesn't really heavily on the front delts. Vince Gironda (who my next few articles will be on) turned his trainees away from flat benching because he felt it was more front delt movement than a pec builder.

  • Incline Dumbbell Press 2-3x6-10
    Again a reasonable incline and make sure you are warmed up well.
  • Cable crossovers 2x8-15
    Bring your hands together high like in front of your face to emphasize the upper chest.
  • Dumbbell pullover 2x8-12
    Voted by many as the number one upper body exercise as it works the lot. You need to experiment to fine the best place to stop to hit your upper chest. It also works the inner chest.

    My total chest routine:

  • Smith machine Incline press 2-3x6-10
    Compound aftershock superset
  • Incline Dumbbell press and incline fyles 2-3 sets
    Compound aftershock superset
  • Flat Dumbbell press and flat fyles 2-3 sets

    I don't do any decline work at the moment even though I get great results when I do.

    After just a few sessions of specialization I can see a different in my chest. This routine is just an example and specialization works for any lagging body part. Assess your physique and give it a go.

    Until next time,