A few of weeks ago you looked in the mirror and decided that it was time to get your upper body back in shape, only problem is, even though you've been putting your time in the gym, you’re not seeing any results in your chest. If you find yourself in these shoes, relax, you’re not alone. There are adjustments that can be made that can help you achieve your goal. We’ve put together the top five most common reasons why you are not getting the chest development you want and offer helpful training tips and suggestions to help you avoid each one.
5. Focusing exclusively on pressing motions
The bench press has traditionally been the go to exercise for chest development since time immemorial. Men commonly talk about and emphasize how much they can bench, and if the end goal is strength, this is fine. For a lot of men however, the end goal is to look good and there is an unconscious assumption that the more you can bench, the better you will look. The assumption is not groundless, after all, you’ll need more muscle to bench more, so the more you can bench, the more muscle you will have, right.....? Right?
The answer may surprise you. While its true that bench pressing more weight will require more muscle, you may not be getting more muscle on your chest. The bench press is a compound exercise involving three muscle groups: the triceps at the back of the arm, the front deltoid at the front of the shoulder, and finally the pectoral muscles themselves. With the right genetics, pressing exercises can deliver excellent results, but in individuals with strong deltoids and triceps, the muscles of the chest may not be getting enough stimulus, as the shoulders and arms could be taking over the majority of the lift.
A good way to avoid this is to include exercises involving fly motions into your workout. Exercises such as dumbbell flyes, cable cross overs, or PecSculptor all directly isolate and target the muscles of the chest. The primary function of the pectoral muscle is to bring the arm across the body, and that is exactly what happens in each of these exercises.
4. The diet
For real estate the catch phrase “Location! Location! Location!” is drilled into everybody mind over and over again, and if we could conjure up a phrase for muscular development that equally captures an obvious yet oft times under appreciated aspect of it, it would be:
“The Diet! The Diet! The Diet!”
One of the most frustrating things about muscle growth and fat loss is the diet. There are so many people out there that do everything right in the gym, they have good form on their exercise, they are consistent, and they have a positive mental attitude. A few weeks go by, and they notice themselves getting stronger and maybe even feel more muscular, but when they look in the mirror, nothing has changed, and they begin to get discouraged.
A great emphasis is placed on exercise when it comes to building muscle, and conversely a great emphasis is place on diet when it comes to fat loss. For the person that wants to look better, they need to put on muscle and at the same time shed enough fat so that their new muscle shows. If too much food is eaten, they might be getting the muscle everything it needs to grow, but they are also increasing their fat stores and these can camouflage and cover up the newly built muscle. If too little is eaten, then the problem of increasing fat stores might be avoided, but the muscles might not be getting everything they need to grow. Two simple rules of thumb exist to help find the happy medium between these two extreme, they are:
I. Each day eat 1g of protein per pound of body weight and spread this out over several meals - Eating protein in good proportion to your body weight ensures that you will intake enough protein to build muscle, and spreading the protein intake out over several meals allows your body the time to absorb it.
II. Eat the majority of you carbs in the A.M. hours - Tapering your carbs throughout the day, keeps your metabolism high, give you the energy you need for your morning workouts and then allows the rest of the carbs to be burned off throughout the rest of the day so that they don’t turn to fat.
3. Focusing on the weight
Anyone that has spent any amount of time at the gym has seen the guy or gal (typically it’s a guy) that is trying lift more weight than they are able to. With an excess amount of poundage being used, they jerk on the weights and try to build up momentum by swinging around dumbbells and bouncing barbells off their body during lifts. For them, its no longer about exercise or building muscle at all, but rather getting the weight up at all costs. By becoming fixated on the amount of weight being lifted rather than the quality of the exercise, they end up robbing themselves of its benefits. If you find yourself falling into this trap, take a step back and lower the weight until you can perform smooth repetitions with perfect form. In addition to allowing for maximum results to be derived from the exercise, you’ll also end up dramatically lowering the risk of injury.
2. Stopping short
Some people get the diet right, and the get the exercise form perfect, but they just don’t do either enough sets or enough repetitions to make the exercise really count. Everyone want to get the results, but no one wants to feel the burn. There are a thousand and one ads out there that promise to get you results in minutes a day without even feeling like you are exercising. That’s horse $!@&*
When scripting the commercial for the PecSculptor, some had the thought that it would be a bad idea to show people talking about how it actually felt like exercise. If you watch the commercial, you’ll see one person talking about feeling the burning in his chest after using it. For me, this is the best reaction that I can get. I love giving someone a PecSculptor for the first time and seeing their reaction and seeing how many reps it takes for them to feel it, then watching them massaging their chest afterwards. Aside from being a shameless product plug, the take away point is,
if its stimulating the muscle, your going to feel it.
Depending on where you are in your muscular development, you might feel an exercise working after 5, 10 or even 20 reps, but if you are just doing 10 repetitions on an exercise and your not feeling it even after your 3rd set, then your not stimulating the muscle like you should. Its just another way to become fixated on numbers again, not the actual weight, but the number of repetitions. The point is, it is called working out for a reason, and if you stop an exercise before you start feeling it in the muscles your trying to stimulate, then your selling yourself short.
Your diet is perfect, your form is perfect, and you are doing the right number of repetitions and sets. You started out strong, and everything is going well. Then a friend calls you to go out and you stay up a little late and decide that you are too tired to go to the gym the next morning. No worries, you say, you kept your diet at least, and you’ll make up your workout later in the week. Later in the week comes, and now you find yourself at a lunch meeting and your colleague orders a dessert, the waitress looks at you and asks how many spoons she should bring. Figuring that you’ll just run an extra mile later in the week, you sheepishly reply “two”.
Now its Friday night, you’ve had a hard week at work and it’s time to make up your missed work out and to run your extra mile. Your feet hurt, your head is buzzing because you are hungry and now a group of friends invite you to go see a movie. As you nestle yourself snugly down into your movie chair recliner you think to yourself one missed workout can’t hurt. Your friends pass the extra buttered popcorn your way and you pull out a handful as the movie begins not even thinking about the diet.
Scenarios such as these are all too common and they represent the beginning steps on the road away from consistency and towards complacency and indifference.
Its true, one missed workout wont make too much of a difference, and you could run an extra mile on the treadmill, but when allowances begin to be made, it can be a slippery slope. If you can adopt a mentality that views exercise and diet as a job, then the debating whether or not to go to the gym one morning is really a question of “could I not go into work this morning?” If the answer is “yes”, then its probably a justifiable allowance, if its “no”, then it might be time to re-evaluate and ask yourself how badly you want to get in shape.
People can spend hours meticulously planning out a diet and exercise plan, create a monstrous workout routine and a very strict diet, but unless they follow it consistently over time, it’s nothing more than scribbles on a page. Most of the people that make their workouts too hard and their diets too strict, start out like a lion for a week or two, then slowly begin to putter out and finish off like a lamb right back where they started. Being consistence with less exercise and a moderate diet is better than being erratic with a strict diet and intense workout routine. Its the classic case of the tortoise and the hare, with slow and steady winning the race each time. Try to remain consistent with your workout schedule, even if it means that you are starting out a little less aggressive.
Building muscle is not rocket science, but it does take commitment, and that makes the person on the other side of the mirror the greatest adversary. Master that reflection and you’ve got it made.
Top Five Reason Your Not Getting the Chest Development You Want
BY JEFFREY SCALLON May 9, 2019