Let's admit it. The chest is the parade muscle of every strength athlete, right? So it is no big wonder that the chest muscles in the course of training, a special attention is given. If the chest does not really want to grow despite hard training, good advice is quickly expensive. If you also have the problem that your chest does not really gain weight, then you should consider whether the following exercises would not be something for your workout plan.
Variant 1 - bench press in the underhand grip
The bench press in the lower grip is technically similar to the classical bench press. The only difference is that the palms face you as you perform the exercise. As a result of this grip variation, the stress focus shifts from the middle region of the breast to the upper part of the chest muscles, which makes it much easier to recruit the muscle fibers located there. Supported by this view, which has been used by many trainers for several years, a study by Canadian sports scientists, who found in a large-scale experiment series, that the activation of muscle fibers in the upper part of the chest in the in-depressed bench press by up to thirty percent is higher than conventional bench press. By comparison, negative bench press only increases activity by around five percent. In order to perform this exercise safely, you should never give up a spotter, which helps you to lift the rod out of the lock and then place it there again. In addition, it is very important that your thumbs always grip around the barbell to prevent the weight from slipping out.
Variant 2 - tight bench press
Like the bench press in the lower grip, the narrow bench press is primarily aimed at activating the muscle fibers in the upper part of the chest muscles. Studies show that the degree of activation of said muscle is particularly high due to the position of the elbows close to the torso. The reason for this is the fact that the angle of attack changes the load angle, so that especially the upper part of the chest muscles is used to cope with the load. In addition, it has been proven that in the course of this exercise, you will be much less likely to use the legs in any form as part of the motion casserole. Unless the exercise is performed with the barbell but with dumbbells, you should also choose the neutral grip variant, as you have thus again a larger range of motion available, resulting in a greater load on the muscle fibers involved.
Variant 3 - Dead Bench Press
The so-called Dead Bench Press primarily focuses on the middle area of the chest muscles, making the exercise an absolute mass builder. The advantage of the Dead Bench Press is that it starts with the concentric motion phase, eliminating the upstream negative phase. By doing so, the involved target musculature is maximally under tension right from the beginning and receives no support from the elastic energy of the backswing when pushing up the weight. Anyone who has ever taken advantage of the principle of drip of sternum knows how much the backlash can help to complete a repetition. Of course, as this is a suboptimal burden on this muscle, it is clear why Dead Bench Press is more effective in building muscle mass. The bottom line is that you can achieve a lot more without having to burden your passive musculoskeletal system by applying higher weights. In practice, it is recommended that you perform the exercise in a power rack. The fuses should be mounted so that the barbell rod in the starting position hovers about two inches above the sternum. Athletes with longer arms can choose a smaller distance.
Variant 4 - Negative bench press on the multipress
Since concentric movement, which is the focus of almost every exercise, does not recruit all of the muscle fibers, it is a good idea to add an exercise to the training plan that focuses on the eccentric, negative phase of movement. In terms of the chest muscles, negative bench press on the multipress is one such exercise that pushes the otherwise underutilized muscle fibers to their performance limits and thus contributes to better muscle growth. In practice, the training weight used is ten to twenty-five percent higher than the load you would use in conventional bench press. In the face of this fact, it is also clear that for security reasons only the multi-press is suitable for execution. At best, there are two spotters available to assist you in getting the weight back to its starting position after each negative repeat. However, the eccentric part of each repetition should last for five to six seconds, so that the corresponding involved muscle fibers are under tension for as long as possible, resulting in a maximum growth stimulus.
Variation 5 - Board Press
The so-called Board Press is a special exercise that is directed less on the chest muscles themselves, but rather on the triceps, which contributes a great deal to bench press performance and is therefore often the limiting factor. The Board Press uses small boards or other thick objects fixed on your chest by a training partner. The result of this procedure is the reduction of the radius of movement during bench press, as the bar comes to rest on the corresponding spacers and is guided back to the starting position from this position. Thus, the stress focus shifts from the chest to the triceps, which has the advantage that this in itself can be stimulated to growth with a high training weight. It is not without reason that powerlifters from all over the world swear by this exercise to increase the power of the triceps in terms of bench press.
Variant 6 - JM Press
The so-called JM Press also focuses on the triceps, which in practice is a mixture of skull crushers and tight bench presses. The biggest advantage of the exercise is that you can use a comparatively high training weight, similar to the board press, because the movement radius is also significantly shortened. Go to an adjustable bench with the back almost upright. Now you grasp the barbell just as tightly as with the tight bench press and you go to the starting position by stretching your arms over your head. As you lower the weight slowly towards your chest, make sure that the bar marks a slight arc. As soon as the weight reaches the chest, you pause for one to two seconds and then push the dumbbell back to the starting position. To maximize the triceps, it is essential that your elbows are as close to your torso as possible throughout the movement.