The world of body building from empirical activity and passed down orally, has now become a kind of showcase among "illustrious titled" (multi-degree instructors, doctors in physical education, doctors with various specializations) where to exhibit the most academic treatment possible, to talk instead of problems that with little, but right knowledge, could be effectively explained to everyone. Furthermore, the premises set out are often not followed by a coherent practical application. The quintessential example of this academic method is the development of the pectoral muscles.
We start by criticizing the weider method (now a scapegoat for body building!) Which provided for four exercises for chest training: flat, inclined, declined bench press and cable crosses. Then the anatomical structure of the muscle and its functionality are analyzed. Finally, the revolutionary practical applications arrive: cards consisting of crosses and presses on a flat and inclined bench, more parallel (total five exercises!) Or a flat bench with a wide grip and an inclined bench with a narrow grip, or a bench that is not flat and not inclined, but slightly raised!
So let's take stock of the situation.
The pectoral muscles consist of the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The first, more voluminous and extended, consists of three bundles that originate from the sternum, the clavicle and the rectus abdominal sheath. All three flow into a single tendon that attaches to the humerus. The small pectoral, on the other hand, is hidden under the great pectoral. It originates from the anterior wall of the chest and is inserted into the scapula. This is the anatomy, now we see the functionality. The main function of the pectoralis major is to medially adduce the humerus to the bust, while the pectoralis minor comes into action with the humerus close to the trunk causing the shoulder to drop. And now the practice: if the above is true, what can ever be the best way to get these bibs to work?
Not doing bench presses! It sounds like a blasphemy, but it is.
In the bench press, the humerus performs a partial adduction, so the pectoral works for less than half of its ROM (range of motion) and the pectoral minor, unless the elbows are brought close to the torso, works very little. If we change the grip on the barbell, wide or narrow, the stretching in the first case can increase and the final contraction in the second, but the ROM of the humerus remains partial. Regardless of the result of any electromyography, which measures only the electrical peak of the stimulus, but not the amount of work, with a reduced ROM, the amount of work will always be small. Then, if the person performing the bench press has anteriorized shoulders or a flat chest, the ROM decreases further. When the body builders of the past performed different series of flat bench presses with different grips, from very wide to very narrow, they empirically tried to do something right: involve the adduction of the humerus on the bust by adding as many partial ranges as possible !!
Let's talk about crosses with dumbbells. This exercise theoretically appears to be decisive with respect to the bench press, but in practice it too has its limits. The ROM is wide, the humerus completes the complete adduction on the torso, but the load is exerted for just under three quarters of the entire movement. In fact, as they rise, the handlebars "decrease in weight" to unload themselves completely on the joints once they reach the perpendicular to the ground. This can be remedied by making crosses on the cables. In fact, this variant places stress on the pectorals, for the whole range of movement, including the final contraction, which is completely lacking in the bench and in the crosses with dumbbells. However, the problem lies in the fact that due to the disadvantageous lever, weak points are created (wrist, elbow) which reduce the usable load.
And now after this necessary introduction, I will show you the best exercise for the pectorals: you can find it in the callisthenic section of this site!
Thing!!?? A simple bodyweight exercise at the end? No barbell, benches, cables? I told you that things can be simple and effective, and here you are.
The callisthenic I am talking about is the one arm push up on a riser.
In this exercise the bib is:
- worked in its full anatomical range;
- with a constant load voltage over the entire range of motion;
- eliminating the problems related to anteriorized shoulders or flat chest;
- with an explosive movement in the positive phase (otherwise you get up with difficulty);
- use of the myotactic reflex;
- using one limb at a time (better activation of muscle receptors with deeper contraction);
- with a slowed down movement in the negative phase (otherwise you "squash" on the ground);
- with a heavy load (your body weight);
- with an even heavier load (by increasing the height of the riser);
- with an incredibly heavy load (placing the feet also on a rise);
That's it: anatomy, functionality-biomechanics and practice. The rest is work for the bold, good training
See also: Chest Training
Exercises for steel pecs