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Why Your Chest Is not Growing? Beware of Mistakes

A large and expanded chest and a solid bench are the way we compare ourselves to other folks in the gym. But the truth is that your bench numbers don’t mean shit if your shape isn't on point! It doesn’t equate to the true strength. And it’s likely a big reason your chest isn’t developing. By fixing your bench press form, you’ll recruit more muscle fibers in your chest and your triceps and shoulders and you’ll initiate more muscle growth as a result. Not to specify that you’ll avoid a lot of common shoulder injuries in the process.

Take some minutes to browse the common bench press mistakes below, identify anything you’re doing wrong, fix it, and watch as you begin crushing through levels.

1. Bar Bouncing

The barbell should never bounce off of your chest at the bottom of a rep. This is also cheating. When you bounce the bar off your chest, you’re using momentum to lift the weight. This means that your muscles are actually doing LESS work, and this will also result in less muscle growth and strength development. Not only this, but if you’re using heavy enough weight it’s actually possible to fracture your sternum or your ribcage if you come down with too much force in the wrong spot.

To fix this, slow down when you’re lowering the weights and imagine touching the bar to your t-shirt rather than your chest (a very slight mindset shift, but it tends to clean this up).

2. Incomplete Rep

Failing to lower the barbell all the way down to your chest is cheating. It doesn’t count as one full rep. Not only will this fail to efficiently recruit all of your pectoral muscles and cause less muscle growth but it can also put your shoulders at risk for a rotator cuff injury. Reduce the weight by 20% while you experiment with any form changes. Lifting with correct form may be harder at first, but you’ll make fast progress once your form is on point.

3. Flaring Elbows

Your elbows should be slightly tucked in towards your ribcage, not flaring directly out to the sides. Imagine that you were a football lineman, pushing an opponent with all of your force. Would you push them with your elbows flaring up to the level of your shoulders. Your elbows would be closer down to your sides. Not only are you stronger in this position, but bench pressing with flaring elbows can also lead to shoulder impingement. If you’re struggling to make this adjustment, you may need to narrow your grip a little bit.

4. Feet Workout

Your feet should be planted firmly into the groundand they shouldn’t move during the entire set. Just like retracting your shoulder blades, planting your feet will create more stability and allow you to bench more weight.

You should bring your feet back slightly behind your knees, and then press your feet into the floor. This will contract your quads and strengthen your base of support. However, be sure to push your feet downwards and forwards, as opposed to directly downwards because when your press directly downwards, your butt tends to shoot up. And this completely destroys the stable base that you’re trying to create here.

5. Loose Shoulder Blades

Your shoulder blades should be pinched together, so that they’re the only part of your upper back in contact with the bench. This creates stability and allows you to move more weight. It also raises your chest slightly off of the bench, reducing the distance that you have to move the barbell and making the lift slightly easier.

To do this correctly, retract your shoulder blades and plant them firmly into the bench before you even get started. It may help to grab the bar with a narrow, underhand grip while you’re setting up. This will allow you to “pull” your shoulder blades back as you’re lying down. This adjustment will also put your shoulder girdle in more structurally-sound position. And this further helps to prevent injury.

About The Author

Shreyasi Maiti

Shreyasi Maiti is a Content Specialist working with Body & strength. She is a rare multi-tasker you’ll come across. Along with a dancer by passion, she enjoys writing .... Read More..

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