3 Reasons Why Your Pecs Aren't Developed - The Muscle PhD

3 Reasons Why Your Pecs Aren’t Developed

Almost every bodybuilding scene in a movie has a bodybuilder doing a bench press. There’s just something satisfying about doing a bench press and recruiting your pecs in order to carry heavier and heavier weights.

The problem that a lot of people have is that no matter how hard they train on chest day, they just can’t seem to get any results on their pecs. They may even start thinking that their genetics are the reason they’re not able to build their pecs.

While genetics do play a part in building our muscles, there are three main issues that can stop you from building your pecs. Even if you train your pecs every day for years, if you’re not considering these three things, you won’t grow.

Are You Diversifying Your Training Angles?

The first reason why your pecs aren’t fully developed is that you’ve only been doing one angle in your exercises, which is flat. If you find yourself only doing flat flies, flat bench, or cable crossovers, then you need to switch up the angles.

You might say that pecs aren’t that complicated, that there are only the upper and lower pecs that need to be exercised. So, the angle really wouldn’t matter, would it? It would, and that’s why you haven’t been growing.

Bench press for pec workout

From a functional neuromuscular standpoint, studies have confirmed that the pecs can be divided into 8-9 functional segments, not just the upper and lower pecs as was thought before.

Next time you train your pecs, the first thing you need to do is to enhance the diversity of the angles you train in. When doing cable crossovers, for example, since the pecs can be divided into 8-9 functional neuromuscular compartments, you can do the following:

Start low, and move your arms upwards more, you’ll be doing 9 sets starting low, moving the angle a little bit up, all the way until you’ve essentially completed a clock shape. That’ll be 9 sets, and each of the sets will have a different angle.

You can do the same thing with a bench press. Start while you’re on a flat or incline bench, then try going 45 degrees, then go 60 degrees. The more your bench can incline the better.

The ideal scenario would be 60→ 50→ 40→ 30→ 20→ flat→ decline. If you’re trying to do something a bit different, do some mechanical sets in a sequence, starting with a steep 60-degree incline bench and moving down to a 45/30/flat/incline.

Are You Maximizing the Functional Aspect of Your Pecs?

Cable crossover to grow pecs

The second reason why your pecs aren’t growing might have to do with the functional aspects of the pecs. The pecs are really good at adduction, i.e. when you bring your arms across your body in a hugging motion. However, the pecs are also good at shoulder flexion, particularly while you’re doing that adduction movement.

How can you capitalize on these functional aspects? Well, first you need to control your grip width. 

Almost every single person doing a bench, whether it’s incline or flat, will have the same grip width, it’s just what we’re used to. However, studies show that if you take a wider grip width, you’ll be increasing that shoulder adduction in order to help target the lower pecs a lot more.

The upper pecs, on the other hand, are better at shoulder flexion, and if you have a shoulder width apart grip, you’ll be targeting the upper part of your chest.

You shouldn’t use more than a shoulder-width grip, as that will target your triceps more than your pecs. The ideal width for the upper pecs would be shoulder width, while a wide grip targets the lower pecs.

Are Your Pecs Trained With a Focus on Intensity?

Your pecs are one of the fastest twitch muscle fibers you have in your body, which is why you should use progressive resistance training when you’re exercising them. Two out of three chest workouts should be either heavy or moderately heavy, that’s how you get hypertrophy.

A multitude of exercises can maximally activate your pecs. They can get highly activated on most exercises that you do. Studies have shown that you can activate your pecs on dumbbell flies or machine benches as much as you can doing a bench press.

The last reason why you might not be growing is because a lot of people only bench press, they want to enjoy that feeling as much as they can. However, if you’re trying to develop, you need to be using a variety of different exercises, whether they’re machines or flies.

We hope this article helped you understand just what it is you might be doing wrong in order to fully develop those pecs. We’ll see you again the next time you have any issues!

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