Give a man a workout, he’ll gain for a day; but give a man the tools to program, and he’ll gain for a lifetime. Sounds like Aristotle, but we’ll probably never know.
In all seriousness, information will be your most prominent ally in the battle for human performance. That meat vehicle we as homo sapiens walk around in is a complex and fascinating organism; however, the more complexity, the more understanding is required. In the spirit of learning something today, we’ll begin this pectoralis seminar with some framework.
What Do You Want?
That phrase isn’t just something you repeatedly ask women, rather it is the first obstacle to tackle when one is programming. It’s plain to see Powerlifters train much differently than physique competitors and so on. The two options covered here will be maximal strength performance (powerlifting), and simply aesthetics (bodybuilding). Followed up by a personal favorite — a blending of the two.
What Are We Working With?
The chest is made up primarily of the Pectoralis Major and the Pectoralis Minor. These muscles are responsible for flexion and rotation of the Humerus, and adduction of the Humerus. During a movement such as the Bench Press, the pecs (with the aid of the Anterior Deltoids and various muscles of the rotator cuff) move the load away from the body. I’m sure everyone knows that the pecs and shoulders are worked during pressing, however, the moral of the story is: take care of your muscles.
Any halfway decent program designed to improve your chest’s strength or aesthetics should involve a warm up, more than two or three stretches, and some mobility work. The muscles of the rotator cuff are an absolute nightmare to injure, so take care to get them warm before pressing, and strengthen them with internal and external rotations on an off day.
This is an excellent video for shoulder and arm mobility: