More often than not, when people engage in a chest workout, they have visions of massive growth and chiseled perfection. Popular men’s fitness and health magazine covers show dehydrated and photo-shopped images of our generation’s ideal chest. From the very ultra-masculine and hairy 1970’s chest to the modern-day shaved Mark Wahlberg recreation, a man’s pectorals are his glory.
Even though a lot of men focus on the size of their arms to show their vitality, it’s their chest that is the defining muscle on a man. Usually, this leads men to over-train and lose more chest muscle than they desire to gain. In other instances, men overdevelop the their chest in detriment to other body parts. We have all witnessed the man who has a huge upper body and slender legs.
Conversely, women’s fitness magazines often never highlight the chest region. A lot of women’s magazines focus women’s breast health, but they rarely give the proper attention to the pectoral muscle that has such major function for women. The pectoral’s lack of visibility plays a role in women forgetting to train their chest, when they start a workout regimen. Moreover, what can really hinder a woman’s chest development is lack of myths tied to a well-defined chest.
Women overlook the importance of working their chest mainly because their glory is tied into the health and vivaciousness of their breast. Couple this with the lack of strength or knowledge of proper technique, women find themselves with a lack of motivation to really “go hard” on their chest.
The anatomical make-up of the chest is the same for women and men. Men usually have larger frames which gives the impression that their chest may have more muscles, but it’s the lack of breast tissue allows for their chest to be more visible. Women should always pay special attention to their chest because it helps balance and support their back, which in turn, supports the chest, and the extra weight from fatty tissue in their breasts.
The chest is a very large muscle consisting of two equal parts that work together to help human’s push objects away from their body. The two separate regions of the chest are the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is thick, fanned-shaped muscle that is located on top of ribcage. It does most of the heavy work for the upper body, basically aiding in all flye and pushing exercises. The pectoralis minor is a thin shaped muscle that sits vertically underneath the pectoralis major. It gives humans the ability to pull your scapula toward your body, which is important in dips and all pressing exercises.
Over-training the chest is easy to do since it is such a large muscle. It is easy to fall in a pattern of training the chest on accident with shoulders and triceps. This is a common mistake that can be easily avoided with proper technique. Always try to fatigue the chest as much possible with 1 or 2 large compound movements, and then, pick a few exercises from the array of small isolation movements. This will undoubtedly give your chest the full benefit of useful the pump without any wasted effort.
Due to the differences in breast tissue, (yes men, you have breast tissue too), women should always develop their upper pectoral because of its visibility, but not to the detriment of the other sections of the chest. The incline barbell press is a fundamental exercise that helps develop and create a seamless transition from chest to the upper deltoids.
The incline bench for both men and women sometimes presents a problem because the awkwardness in the angle can lead to improper technique and cheating. It is absolutely necessary to touch the barbell to the upper-middle region of the chest so that the full range motion will stimulate the muscle. This stimulation will help fatigue the muscle and keep the shoulders and triceps relatively fresh for the rest of chest workout.
A lot men complain that they have an issue with lower chest development. Most men are torn between two proven exercises, dips and the decline bench press. Both exercises hit the lower regions of the chest, but they both can be done improperly and become more harmful to one’s workout than helpful. One way to avoid this problem with dips is to slightly lean forward to lessen the stress on the triceps and shoulders, keeping the elbows flared. In regards to the decline bench press, the bar should never go over the middle of the chest. This places way too much stress on the shoulders, and you can easily injure yourself.
Both men and women have to understand that by giving the chest ample time to rest, they will only reinvigorate the muscle so that maximum development takes place. Resting at least 8-9 hours a day will give your body the best chance to recover and properly promote anabolic development. Staying properly hydrated throughout the day and especially during the workout will only help strengthen your chances of developing your chest at a healthy rate.