Building a well-defined and proportionate chest is a fitness goal that many individuals aspire to achieve. However, despite putting in the effort with regular bench press sessions, some find themselves facing a common challenge—certain portions of their pectorals seem to resist muscle growth. This frustration is often referred to as a lagging muscle group, a scenario familiar to many fitness enthusiasts, including myself.
The lagging muscle group dilemma is not uncommon, and it can be particularly discouraging for those striving to achieve a balanced and sculpted chest. While the bench press is a foundational exercise for chest development, relying solely on this movement may not effectively target every area of the chest. This is where incorporating a variety of exercises tailored to address specific regions of the pectorals becomes crucial.
When focusing on chest workouts, the universally acclaimed bench press stands out as one of the most effective exercises—an agreement shared by the vast majority. However, the key to continuous progress and sustained gains lies in introducing variety to your routine, challenging your body with new stimuli.
Diversifying your exercises is paramount in this pursuit. Max Posternak, the founder of Gravity Transformation, a website dedicated to offering fitness tips and weight loss guidance, suggests incorporating lesser-known exercises into your regimen. These exercises, which you might not be familiar with, can provide a fresh challenge and target your chest in unique ways.
Max Posternak, renowned for his fitness insights, boasts a YouTube channel with over 5.5 million subscribers, emphasizing the credibility and popularity of his fitness recommendations.
In this article, we’ll delve into 8 unique exercises designed to break through the stagnation of lagging muscle groups. These exercises aim to provide a fresh perspective on chest training, targeting areas that may not receive optimal stimulation through traditional bench press routines. By diversifying your chest workout with these exercises, you can create a more comprehensive and effective approach to chest development, ultimately helping you overcome plateaus and achieve a more sculpted, well-rounded chest.
Read More: How to Increase Chest Size and Strength
- 8 Unique Exercises to Force Chest Muscle Growth You Have Never Done
8 Unique Exercises to Force Chest Muscle Growth You Have Never Done
1. Incline Log or Swiss Bar Presses:
To specifically target the upper chest, incorporate incline log or Swiss bar presses into your routine. By using a wide neutral grip, you can engage the upper chest more effectively while maintaining tension throughout the movement. The key is to press in an arc-like path, focusing on keeping your elbows closer to your body. This exercise provides a fresh perspective on incline presses and helps activate the lagging upper chest muscles.
2. Cross-Body Incline Cable Chest Press:
Change up your chest routine with the cross-body incline cable chest press. This exercise places a unique emphasis on the inner and upper portions of the chest by pressing across the midline of your body. Adjust your bench at an angle, grab the cable, and press across your body to maximize tension on specific areas of the pectoralis major.
3. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Presses:
Target the top portion of your chest with reverse grip dumbbell presses. This variation on the incline press ensures that your elbows stay closer to your body, minimizing the involvement of the anterior deltoids. By pressing with your palms facing up, you engage the upper chest more effectively. Follow an arc-like path, bringing the dumbbells to nipple level, for optimal results.
4. Single Arm Cross-Body Pec Deck Fly:
Isolate the chest around the sternum with the single arm cross-body pec deck fly. This exercise challenges the chest in its most shortened position, promoting muscle activation. Sit at the pec deck fly machine, bring the handle across your body towards the opposite shoulder, and focus on the contraction as you lower back down. This movement provides a unique stimulus for chest development.
5. Low to High Cable Flies:
For those with a lagging upper chest, incorporate low to high cable flies after your heavy pressing movements. Adjust the pulleys to the bottom of the cable cross machine, grab handles, and perform a controlled fly motion. Squeeze your pecs together at the top, emphasizing the contraction, and then lower back down. This exercise helps target the upper chest fibers effectively.
6. Angled Single Arm Dumbbell Press:
Focus on the inner chest with the angled single arm dumbbell press. Whether using dumbbells or a hammer strength machine, press across the midline of your body at an angle. To enhance stability, grab something with your other hand for support. This exercise provides a unique angle for chest activation and is particularly beneficial for those struggling with stabilization.
You could also try the Hammer Strength Machine Press: Utilize the incline hammer strength machine to isolate the upper chest. This machine is excellent for focusing on chest activation rather than relying on arm strength. Adjust the incline bench, press straight up, pause at the top, and squeeze your pecs together before lowering the weight. Incorporate this machine after challenging barbell and dumbbell exercises to maximize its effectiveness.
7. Cross-Body Flies:
Enhance the peak contraction of your chest with cross-body flies. Adjust the pulleys slightly higher, grab cables in each hand, and perform a fly motion by bringing your arms together as if hugging a tree. Continue the movement until one arm fully crosses over the other, alternating sides with each repetition. This exercise ensures a peak contraction while engaging both arms simultaneously.
8. Low to High Dumbbell Fly:
Target the upper chest fibers with the low to high dumbbell fly. Set the bench at a 45-degree angle, grab lighter dumbbells, and lift them away from your body. Imagine leading with your elbows as you bring the dumbbells together in a low to high motion. This exercise provides a unique angle for upper chest activation and is a great addition to your routine.
In the pursuit of a well-defined and proportionate chest, it’s not uncommon to encounter challenges that go beyond the traditional bench press routine. The frustration of lagging muscle groups can be disheartening, but the solution lies in diversifying your chest workout to address specific areas that may not receive adequate stimulation through conventional exercises.
The 8 unique exercises presented in this article offer a strategic approach to breaking through plateaus and overcoming the hurdles of lagging muscle development. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you introduce novel movements that target different regions of the chest, ensuring a more comprehensive and effective workout.
It’s important to emphasize the significance of proper form, controlled movements, and progressive overload in your training. Consistency and dedication to these principles will contribute to sustained progress and optimal muscle development. Remember that muscle growth is a dynamic process, and introducing variety into your routine can be the key to unlocking new levels of chest development.
Whether you choose to integrate one or several of these exercises into your chest workout, the goal is to create a well-rounded approach that addresses the unique needs of your chest muscles. By doing so, you not only enhance your chances of overcoming lagging muscle groups but also cultivate a more sculpted, balanced, and aesthetically pleasing chest.
In conclusion, breaking through chest plateaus involves more than sheer repetition of traditional exercises. It requires a thoughtful and diversified approach that caters to the intricacies of muscle development. Embrace these unique exercises, stay consistent, and witness the transformation of your chest into a more defined and powerful aspect of your physique. Your fitness journey is a dynamic process, and with the right tools and strategies, you’re well-equipped to achieve the chest aesthetics you’ve been working towards.
And there you have Posternak’s compilation of unconventional exercises designed to stimulate significant chest growth. Choose a few of these exercises and incorporate them into your regular chest workout.
For detailed demonstrations of each exercise, check out the video linked below.