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4 Mistakes Keeping You From Growing Your Chest

If you are training hard and your chest still isn't growing, maybe you're guilty of some of these mistakes. Fix them now.

Ensure you are aware of the four critical mistakes hindering your path to achieving a substantial chest size and reaching your fitness goals.

Distinguishing between strength and muscle size is crucial, especially in terms of your muscle fibers. For some individuals, the primary focus is not solely on strength but rather on achieving a visually appealing physique.

If you believe your strength is sufficient but find your chest lacking in size, you might be committing one or more of the four mistakes preventing optimal chest development. Enter Jeremy Ethier, a highly regarded kinesiologist and fitness trainer, and co-founder of Built With Science. With over 6 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Ethier provides clear and well-researched information to guide fitness enthusiasts on their journey.

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In a video, Ethier emphasized that individuals who manage to align chest size with strength are often outliers. However, he offered valuable insights and techniques to enhance muscle size effectively.

Read Also: The Perfect Push Workout According to Science

4 Mistakes Keeping You From Growing Your Chest

Let’s delve into the four mistakes that may be hindering your progress in achieving a bigger chest:

  1. Posture: Sitting in a slouched position for extended periods, a common habit for many, can impact your chest development. This poor posture is often carried over into essential chest exercises, such as the bench press. To address this issue, incorporate exercises that open up your chest and activate your back muscles, reinforcing proper posture.
  2. Elbow Compensation: When performing bench presses, it’s crucial to align your elbow angle with the majority of your chest fibers, typically ranging between 45-60 degrees. Avoid flaring out your elbows to prevent your shoulders from taking over the chest activation. Ensuring proper elbow positioning is essential for optimal muscle engagement.
  3. “Pushing” The Weight Up: Establishing a mind-muscle connection is paramount during your workouts. Simply lifting weights without a focused connection to the targeted muscles can hinder growth. Ethier emphasizes the importance of mindfulness in your movements to enhance muscle engagement. Consider exploring the mind-muscle connection further in the link provided for a comprehensive guidance.
  4. Ego: When bench pressing, implementing the aforementioned tips enhances chest activation, the primary goal. Acknowledge that your chest strength might not be as robust as presumed. Discarding ego during bench presses is crucial to avoid relying on triceps and shoulders, which limits chest growth. Prioritize proper form and muscle engagement over lifting heavier weights.
Source: Roman Odintsov on Pexels

Read More: 2 Great Upper Chest Exercises for Muscle Growth

By addressing these mistakes, you can optimize your chest development and work towards achieving your desired physique. Ethier’s expertise serves as a valuable resource in navigating the nuances of muscle growth and strength training.

Watch the video below if you have more questions about it.

How to Increase Chest Size and Strength

If you want a more hands-on approach to grow your chest, here are five effective chest exercises along with instructions on how to perform them:

  1. Barbell Bench Press:
    • Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps.
    • How to Perform:
      1. Lie on a flat bench with your eyes under the barbell.
      2. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
      3. Unrack the bar and lower it to your chest while keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
      4. Push the bar back up to the starting position, extending your arms fully.
  2. Dumbbell Flyes:
    • Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major.
    • How to Perform:
      1. Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended over your chest.
      2. Lower the dumbbells out to the sides, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
      3. Feel a stretch in your chest, then bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
  3. Push-Ups:
    • Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps.
    • How to Perform:
      1. Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
      2. Lower your body towards the ground by bending your elbows.
      3. Push back up to the starting position, keeping your body in a straight line throughout.
  4. Incline Dumbbell Press:
    • Muscles Targeted: Upper pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps.
    • How to Perform:
      1. Set an incline bench to a 15-30 degree angle.
      2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on the bench.
      3. Press the dumbbells up above your chest, then lower them back down in a controlled manner.
  5. Chest Dips:
    • Muscles Targeted: Lower pectoralis major, triceps.
    • How to Perform:
      1. Use parallel bars or dip bars, supporting your body with locked-out arms.
      2. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.
      3. Push your body back up to the starting position.

The Best Home Chest Dumbbell Workout

Tips for Chest Exercises:

  • Ensure proper form to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury.
  • Control the movement, both during the lifting (concentric) and lowering (eccentric) phases.
  • Gradually increase weights as your strength improves, but prioritize proper form.
  • Include a variety of exercises to target different areas of the chest for overall development.
  • Warm up adequately before starting your chest workout to prepare your muscles and joints.

Remember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or concerns.

Source: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

3 Hacks for a Bigger Chest

Developing a strong and well-defined chest is important for several reasons, encompassing both functional and aesthetic aspects. Here are some key reasons why it is beneficial to grow and strengthen your chest:

  1. Functional Strength: A strong chest is essential for functional movements in everyday life. Activities such as pushing, lifting, and carrying heavily rely on the strength of your chest muscles. Strengthening your chest enhances your ability to perform these tasks efficiently and with reduced risk of injury.
  2. Improved Posture: Well-developed chest muscles contribute to better posture. Strengthening the chest helps balance the muscles in the upper body, preventing slouching and promoting an upright stance. This not only improves your overall appearance but also reduces the likelihood of developing posture-related issues.
  3. Enhanced Athletic Performance: In various sports and physical activities, a strong chest is often a key component of optimal performance. Whether you’re involved in weightlifting, athletics, or team sports, chest strength plays a role in power generation, stability, and overall athletic prowess.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal: A well-developed chest is a focal point of a muscular and balanced physique. For many individuals, achieving an aesthetically pleasing appearance is a motivating factor in their fitness journey. A strong chest contributes to the overall symmetry and definition of the upper body.
  5. Boosted Metabolism: Engaging large muscle groups, such as the chest, in resistance training can contribute to an increased metabolic rate. Building muscle requires energy, and a higher metabolism can aid in weight management and fat loss.
  6. Confidence and Self-Esteem: Physical strength and a fit physique can positively impact confidence and self-esteem. Achieving a strong chest and witnessing physical progress can boost your overall sense of well-being and self-worth.
  7. Injury Prevention: Strengthening the chest muscles helps stabilize the shoulder joints and surrounding structures. This, in turn, reduces the risk of injuries, particularly in the shoulder region. Adequate chest strength contributes to a more robust musculoskeletal system.
  8. Balanced Upper Body Development: Focusing on chest development as part of a well-rounded strength training program ensures balanced upper body muscle development. Neglecting certain muscle groups may lead to muscular imbalances, which can result in discomfort and an increased risk of injury.

Remember that achieving a strong and well-defined chest should be part of a comprehensive fitness plan that includes a variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups. It’s important to approach fitness holistically, addressing strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. As with any fitness goal, it’s advisable to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider to tailor your workout routine to your individual needs and goals.

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