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Pecs

Discussion in 'Health & Body' started by rch, May 3, 2006.

  1. rch

    rch New Member

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    Alright, I just noticved this post got terribly long while I was typing- teach me to look at the screen and not the keyboard. Skip to last line for the short story.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I might go about increasing the size of my pectorals without one of them what're they called, butterfly-something-things. I'm not a member of any health club, and don't really think I need to; I'm quite happy with my body apart from my utter lack of pecs (Well that, and REALLY skinny wrists - feel free to give suggestions about them too...). I have decent shoulders and arms and a 5-pack, (Don't feel like giving up all my favourite foods just to put a crease into that last small bulge on my belly [​IMG] ) but I just can't seem to do anything about the pecs, which would really make the difference in how I look at the beach.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I've tried doing push-ups in every imaginable way, but it seems can never get to the pecs. All the equipment I have at home at the moment is one really old full metal ~7kg dumbbell that's being used as decoration. Been thinking about buying a barbell and a bench to do presses on, but I wanted to see if anyone has any cheaper/smaller solutions? I'm not looking for body-builder dimensions here, I just want to look a bit healthier.

    My current workout schedule is as such:
    - I sporadically (but relatively often 1-6 times a week, on average maybe twice a week) run a few laps around the woods, or ski around the lake in the winter.
    - I used to do 30 pushups a day just because I felt guilty if I didn't do anything with my arms all day, but now I do a 4 sets of 30 on a given day every week instead, if only to maintain the little musculature I have.
    - situps, "every now and then," until I get bored and/or tired.

    It's no body-builders schedule (if it can be called that), but it keeps me from going terribly out of shape, which is all I need. Now I'm just looking for something to add that could help me beef up my pecs a little bit.


    SHORT STORY: I need help beefing up my pecs, without getting a gym membership if possible.
     
  2. tiger02

    tiger02 Senior member

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    The only way to grow muscle is with resistance. Pushups, especially wide-grip, will help but only so much. You could try putting that dumbell on your back, but you're going to need more weight than that. A cheaper option would be to buy a set of adjustable-weight barbells and lay down to do flys on your friendly local park bench. Can be had from Play It Again Sports or similar for $10-$20.

    Tom
     
  3. Mark_Y

    Mark_Y Senior member

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    Go to a school playground and do about 50 dips / day. That will build your pecs and your triceps. Another thing you can do is purchase a set of dumbells and do some dumbell bench presses and flys. You can usually find dumbells in the newspaper at a good price.
     
  4. tsloop

    tsloop Senior member

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    You can also put weight in a backpack and use that when you do pushups to add more resistance. Dips are gonna be best for the lower pecs and weighted push ups with your feet elevated will hit your upper pecs.
     
  5. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    you aren't really going to impact without some added weight.

    when I was a teenager, I didn't have any money, but I got my hands on a 24 kilo ingot. I would lie on my back and pull it over my head, and press it up, like a barbell. I got pretty good results.

    if you really want to keep costs down, I would suggest getting a kettlebell and doing the same thing - you can get a really good one for less than $100, and it takes up no storage space. if you start playing around with a 24 K kettle bell you will put yourself in great shape in no time.

    of course, if you want to hit the "Y" - the very best thing you can do is wide grip, angled barbell presses.
     
  6. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Senior member

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    Not to get off topic (sorry rch), but what is the best thing? In college, when I had loads of free time and friends who knew what they were talking about, I would do bench presses, decline bench, and incline, all with an olympic bar, and use dumbbells (at a lighter weight) when I didn't have someone to spot me.

    Now that I have to squeeze workout time in, and work out by myself, I use the bench/olympic bar exclusively (they have equipment with a tracked bar, kinda like this). They don't really have equipment to do declines, so I just do it flat.

    Question is: What's more effective, using that equipment/bar, or using individual dumbbells, like this.
     
  7. Arethusa

    Arethusa Senior member

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    Be very careful with putting weights on your back.
     
  8. coachvu

    coachvu Senior member

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    To simulate an incline press without going to the gym, do pushups with your feet elevated on a chair. You can get great results using no weights at all. Herschel Walker only did pushups, situps, etc. and had an amazing physique without using weights. 4 sets of 30 will never get it, though. If you can only do pushups, try this.

    3-5 sets normal pushups, or even do them on your fists to help build up your wrists
    3-5 sets wide grip
    3-5 sets narrow grip (hits your triceps)
    3-5 sets with feet on chair

    Between each exercise, work a different muscle group. Crunches, dips, squat thrusts...You can do all these in your home without weights. As this gets easier, you're going to have to start going more reps. The key is to keep your workouts fresh. If you've been doing 4 sets of 30 this long, you are definitely ready for a change.
     
  9. coachvu

    coachvu Senior member

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    Also, only working chest once a week? If you really want to beef up, try at least twice a week. Make sure to give yourself several days of rest in between. Maybe do chest Monday and Thursday? The problem with only targeting one muscle group is that it will eventually mess up proportioning. Working back and chest equally is a good way to make sure your upper body is proportioned. You could buy a cheap pull-up bar to put in a doorway.
     
  10. rch

    rch New Member

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    All good suggestions. Thanks, everyone.
     
  11. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Senior member

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    Also, only working chest once a week? If you really want to beef up, try at least twice a week.

    I've actually been told the opposite on a number of occasions: that once a week is the most you want to work a specific muscle group, to leave ample time for recovery (and thus growth). Perhaps this was advice tailored specifically for my hardgainer physique, and doesn't necessarily apply generally? Anyone have any insight here?
     
  12. coachvu

    coachvu Senior member

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    I've actually been told the opposite on a number of occasions: that once a week is the most you want to work a specific muscle group, to leave ample time for recovery (and thus growth). Perhaps this was advice tailored specifically for my hardgainer physique, and doesn't necessarily apply generally? Anyone have any insight here?

    It's best to go by how you feel. I find that I need two chest workouts a week to keep making gains. With just one, even with a very intense workout, I feel like I'm barely maintaining strength. I work it Sunday and Wednesday, and any soreness is gone by my next workout. If I still feel a bit tight, I'll wait an extra day. For me, doing biceps/triceps/delts and legs/traps once a week is fine. Other muscle groups, like forearms, calves, neck, etc. can take a beating, and I usually do them every time I lift. I really recommend Schwarzenegger's book Coming on Strong and a book by his lifting partern, Franco Columbo (I've forgotten the title). These both helped me as teenager set up a few different workouts and add specific exercises that worked best for me. They also have some sample routines. Honestly, do what works best for you. You want maximum gains without injury. After lifting for a few years, you can push your boundaries a bit.
     
  13. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Senior member

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    It's best to go by how you feel. I find that I need two chest workouts a week to keep making gains. With just one, even with a very intense workout, I feel like I'm barely maintaining strength. I work it Sunday and Wednesday, and any soreness is gone by my next workout. If I still feel a bit tight, I'll wait an extra day. For me, doing biceps/triceps/delts and legs/traps once a week is fine. Other muscle groups, like forearms, calves, neck, etc. can take a beating, and I usually do them every time I lift. I really recommend Schwarzenegger's book Coming on Strong and a book by his lifting partern, Franco Columbo (I've forgotten the title). These both helped me as teenager set up a few different workouts and add specific exercises that worked best for me. They also have some sample routines. Honestly, do what works best for you. You want maximum gains without injury. After lifting for a few years, you can push your boundaries a bit.

    Makes sense to me! Thanks, coach.

    That sounds so high-school. Weird.

    Seriously though, thanks.
     
  14. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    Not to get off topic (sorry rch), but what is the best thing? In college, when I had loads of free time and friends who knew what they were talking about, I would do bench presses, decline bench, and incline, all with an olympic bar, and use dumbbells (at a lighter weight) when I didn't have someone to spot me.

    Now that I have to squeeze workout time in, and work out by myself, I use the bench/olympic bar exclusively (they have equipment with a tracked bar, kinda like this). They don't really have equipment to do declines, so I just do it flat.

    Question is: What's more effective, using that equipment/bar, or using individual dumbbells, like this.


    I don't know - I found that I was able to almost double what I was lifting, when I went from dumbells to a barbell, in about 6 months. so, for me, the barbell was better.
     
  15. coachvu

    coachvu Senior member

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    I don't know - I found that I was able to almost double what I was lifting, when I went from dumbells to a barbell, in about 6 months. so, for me, the barbell was better.

    I think a mixture is best. A lot of people think Nautilus-type machines aren't very good, but when you throw in one or two exercises with them as well as free weights, it really shocks your muscles. Just keep changing around what you do for best results. I've never seen an amazingly strong guy do exclusively barbell, dumbbell, or Nautilus workouts. Also, for many people, it's not about how much you can lift but what you look like. Obviously, they can also go hand and hand.
     
  16. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    To my understanding, you can't lift as much when you use dumbells because they require more of the smaller stabilizer muscles to keep them balanced in each hand while you handle them. You don't have to worry about stabilizing and balancing a barbell as much, so you can lift more, and even moreso with a machine, which totally restricts the range of motion you do. I prefer dumbells to machines for most things except for flies. Machine flies are way better than dumbell flies, but other than that, my powerblocks are what I reach for.
     
  17. coachvu

    coachvu Senior member

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    To my understanding, you can't lift as much when you use dumbells because they require more of the smaller stabilizer muscles to keep them balanced in each hand while you handle them. You don't have to worry about stabilizing and balancing a barbell as much, so you can lift more, and even moreso with a machine, which totally restricts the range of motion you do. I prefer dumbells to machines for most things except for flies. Machine flies are way better than dumbell flies, but other than that, my powerblocks are what I reach for.

    I disagree about lifting more with machines. Most machines maintain the same level of resistance throughout the motion, unlike free weights, so you are unable to lift as much.
     
  18. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    To simulate an incline press without going to the gym, do pushups with your feet elevated on a chair. You can get great results using no weights at all. Herschel Walker only did pushups, situps, etc. and had an amazing physique without using weights. 4 sets of 30 will never get it, though. If you can only do pushups, try this.

    3-5 sets normal pushups, or even do them on your fists to help build up your wrists
    3-5 sets wide grip
    3-5 sets narrow grip (hits your triceps)
    3-5 sets with feet on chair

    Between each exercise, work a different muscle group. Crunches, dips, squat thrusts...You can do all these in your home without weights. As this gets easier, you're going to have to start going more reps. The key is to keep your workouts fresh. If you've been doing 4 sets of 30 this long, you are definitely ready for a change.


    I agree with everything and wanted to add fingertip pushups. They are killer!

    I realized after many years of going to the gym, that I only got average results because I didn't really like it.

    I looked for alternatives and found a great book ($20 from Amazon.com?) called Combat Conditioning (Matt Furey) with all body weight excercises. This isn't the only one on the topic but it's the one I can vouch for since purchasing the book.

    I feel like I get a much better workout, actually feel much better after working out, and I seem to be in better shape in less time. I can also workout anywhere or anytime if needed.

    The chest workouts in the book go from simple to extreme! They can be killer! Lots of great ideas.
     
  19. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Senior member

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    By the time you can do 10 reps of flat bench press (free weight) 100% of your bodyweight in controlled manner, your pec will be fairly big.
     
  20. gza

    gza Senior member

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    130
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    Mar 23, 2006
    I agree with everything and wanted to add fingertip pushups. They are killer!

    I realized after many years of going to the gym, that I only got average results because I didn't really like it.

    I looked for alternatives and found a great book ($20 from Amazon.com?) called Combat Conditioning (Matt Furey) with all body weight excercises. This isn't the only one on the topic but it's the one I can vouch for since purchasing the book.

    I feel like I get a much better workout, actually feel much better after working out, and I seem to be in better shape in less time. I can also workout anywhere or anytime if needed.

    The chest workouts in the book go from simple to extreme! They can be killer! Lots of great ideas.

    Great points. Something that is often lost in the debate over exercise routines is the importance of enjoying your workout. If you want to do it, chances are you'll do it right and do it intensely, which in turn will bring results.

    For me, the problem had always been legs. One the one hand, I always believed that hard leg workouts were an absolute must to achieve your fitness/body composition goals, but on the other I also hated barbell squats, deadlifts, lunges and the other core leg exercises.

    Then I too discovered Matt Furey, who inspired me to start doing one-legged squats. Now I do nothing else for my legs, and I get an awesome workout each time (with the next-day soreness to prove it).

    I would add, though, that from a biomechanical perspective, fingertip pushups offer little benefit to the pectorals vs normal pushups. They do allow you to get a slightly greater range of motion (like doing a pushup with your hands on blocks), but otherwise the extra level of difficulty comes from the strain on your forearm flexors, which must contract to keep your palms from collapsing to the floor.
     

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