2 Simple But Powerful Exercise Tweaks for a Massive Chest

The bench press! Chest muscles! So popular that the running joke is Monday is Chest Day. Good luck finding a bench in the gym, boys!

Everyone who gets into bodybuilding hits the chest hard. It's a priority muscle, along with the biceps. They not only hit it hard, they hit it hard with the barbell bench press. But is the barbell bench press really an effective exercise if you're looking to blow up your chest so you can balance a glass of water on it? Maybe, maybe not.

Ever taken a look at a powerlifter who is a great bench presser? Most are relatively short, with a barrel chest and short arms. They might be as wide as they are tall! And when they bench press the bar doesn't move all that much from touching the chest to full lockout.

This is the body type that is born to be a great bench presser. But most of us aren't built like that and yet we still crank out set after set on the barbell bench press.

For most lifters, the bench press focuses too much on the shoulders, rotator cuff and the triceps. There isn't nearly enough muscle fiber engagement in the pectoral muscles. Only a small portion of each repetition is focused on the chest. After a few inches of the postive (upward) movement of the bar, it becomes a lot more of a front delt and tricep exercise. These muscles are not nearly as strong as the chest, making it a limiting exercise for chest development.

So, for most lifters, the flat barbell bench press puts the shoulders and rotator cuff in a position awaiting injury, and each repetition focuses more on the shoulders and triceps. Darn! What's a gung-ho bench presser to do?

Here's a simple solution. Get rid of the barbell bench press and substitute with the decline barbell bench press instead! This does some simple but powerful things for your chest building quest. The decline barbell bench press basically puts your body in a position better suited for engaging the chest muscles. In fact, it's a lot like the position the barrell chested powerlifter is in with the flat bench press.

The angle of the decline bench has shortened the length of the repetition, taking the emphasis off the top portion of the rep, which is where the shoulder and tricep take over most of the load. It's also a more stable position for the shoulder.

While the angle will take a little getting used to, if you stick with it, your shoulders will feel better, you'll add muscle mass to your chest, and you'll eventually be able to use just as much, if not more weight on the decline as you were using on the flat bench.

It's a lot of winning all around. You've turbo-charged the bench press just by changing the angle of the bench!

Now we're going to turbo-charge the turbo-charging, okay? One more simple tweak for better muscle building results!

Okay, so you've gone from the flat barbell bench press to the decline and things are looking up. But there's one more thing to do. Don't just grip the bar and bang out your repetitions. Instead, squeeze hard and imagine you're pushing your hands together. You obviously won't actually push them together, but in this action, you'll engage more muscle fibers during the repetition. Remember, one of the actions of the chset is to pull your arm across your body (that's why dumbbell flyes is a chest exercise).

Try this little grip action and switch from the flat barbell bench press to the decline. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the results; more strength, better feeling shoulders and a bigger chest.