Bodybuilding is a simple yet complex activity. Most of the time, you just have to lift heavy things, eat a lot, and sleep a lot for optimal muscle development. However, the complexity arises when you want to build those muscles in a precise way for aesthetic or other reasons. As a result, mindless lifting may result in some awkward muscular development. Bencher's chest is an awkward muscle development phenomenon that may result from poor chest workouts. This article will go more into bencher's chest and how to avoid it.
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What is benchers chest anyways?
Benchers chest is what many weightlifters have described as the phenomenon where your chest muscles, or pecs, grow from the outside to the inside rather than from the inside out. Your chest starts to develop from the bottom up rather than the other way around.
The chest muscles consist of two primary muscles; the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is the largest muscle in the chest and is informally divided into two; the upper and lower chest. Bencher’s chest results from developing the lower chest before the upper chest, resulting in the outside-in development of your chest.
Bencher’s chest is a real phenomenon as it is merely an informal name that weightlifters have given to that type of chest development.
What causes bencher’s chest
Several factors play into how your muscles develop, including genetics, form, and in this case, choice of exercise. Large muscles like the pectoralis major are so big that you have to “attack” them from several angles to ensure uniform development. One of the best ways to ensure uniform development is by diversifying your exercises to build that muscle.
In this case, the most common cause of the bencher’s chest is exclusively performing the flat bench press to develop your pecs. Because of the flat bench press’s limitation, it is challenging to develop the entire pectoralis major uniformly. As a result, the exercise targets only the bottom part of the muscle, resulting in outside-in development. From here, it is easy to know how to avoid or fix it.
How to avoid bencher’s chest
Avoiding the bencher’s chest is pretty straightforward. You simply need to adopt a more comprehensive approach to developing your chest muscles. The bench press itself has enough variations to ensure that you target different aspects of your chest. For example, you can include 30- and 45-degree incline presses instead of exclusively flat bench pressing.
💡 Quick Tip: An adjustable bench is essential to starting a more comprehensive bench press program for your chest. As a result, the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 can provide you with a comfortable and adjustable platform for your varied bench pressing.
Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0
In addition to a more varied bench press program, you also need to develop your upper body as a whole to develop your chest uniformly. There are very few isolation exercises, so most upper body exercises work several upper body muscles, including the pectoralis muscle.
Here are some exercises that can help you develop your chest uniformly and avoid bencher’s chest.
The Dumbbell Press
The dumbbell press is a popular and standard chest and upper body development exercise. The exercise primarily works your chest from a different angle than the bench press, so it can help ensure uniform development across the muscle.
In addition to your chest, the dumbbell press also works your biceps, triceps, and deltoid muscles. You can perform it with two dumbbells, allowing you to mimic the singular barbell for bench presses. I recommend the Rogue Loadable Dumbbells to help you begin your comprehensive chest development goals.
You can also perform the dumbbell press at a 90, 45, 30, or 0-degree angle like the bench press. Many weightlifters also prefer the dumbbell press because it works more stabilizer muscles as you have to keep both dumbbells stable and aligned.
Push-ups are the quintessential upper body builder without weights. Pushups enjoy wide success because of how easy it is to perform. You can perform several variations of the exercise to stimulate different parts of your chest, biceps, triceps, and other muscles that the exercise targets.
The pushup is the bodyweight equivalent of the bench press and is the most suitable alternative if you cannot go to a gym or buy a barbell for your home gym needs. Its variations include the strict military pushup, wide hand pushup, diamond push-up, and clap pushup. I recommend the Abmat to go with your pushups to provide a gripping and neat surface for your workout.
The Chest Press
The chest press is the machine equivalent of the bench press. It similarly works your chest, arms, and shoulder muscles. The chest press is excellent for beginners who are yet to master the bench press form or want to use the machine to improve their form. However, because the machine keeps you stable, you do not work your stabilizer muscles the same way a bench press would.
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The Dumbbell Overhead Press
The dumbbell overhead press is very similar to the military press, except that you use dumbells for the former and a barbell for the latter. As you may expect, they work your upper chest muscles and your traps, lats, arms, and shoulders. This upper chest aspect makes the exercise suitable for avoiding the bencher’s chest. To perform the exercise, I recommend the hex dumbbells because they offer value for money and are easy to use.
💡 Quick Tip: If you prefer the machine-based equivalent of the overhead press and can afford it, I recommend the Plate Loaded Deltoid And Shoulder Press Machine for optimal machine-based upper body development.
Plate Loaded Deltoid And Shoulder Press Machine
The bent-over row is another excellent compound exercise that can help you with your chest. While primarily a back exercise, bent-over rows also offer significant variability. You can perform this exercise with kettlebells and dumbbells or the regular barbell variation.