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Chest size vs Bench press strength

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by gravityhomer, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    I'm curious if the size of your chest determines your strength for bench pressing. Would people mind posting their unflexed, cold chest size and a typical weight they would do for a working set (6-10 reps) for either barbell press or dumbell press.

    For instance,
    My chest is 37.5"

    For DB press I workout with 60 lb dumbells for a total of 120.
     
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    Unflexed cold chest measurement: 38.25"

    I do barbell bench...
    Today I did 185 lbs. for 7 reps.

    (Those numbers will be going up ;)...as they have been)
     
  3. Tiny

    Tiny Well-Known Member

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    about 40, 205x8 barbell. Im not sure chest size is a good indication of ability though.
     
  4. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Chest has little to do with bench strength, its more shoulder and tricep strength.
    I incline bench 2 x 105 lb DB and bench is a max of around 305 lbs, but i get a better chest workout using 265 and concentrating on form.
    I pec deck the same as my bench max with perfect form, and this give my chest better stimulation than any bench exercise.
    My chest measures 48.6 ", started at around 45" .
     
  5. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Yup, that is exactly right ... shoulders and triceps are the major pushers in big benches. Chest helps, but shoulders and especially triceps are key.

    I hit 385 two months ago, but due to inconsistent workouts (some my fault, some not), I've lost strength and am down to about 365. Working sets: 315 for a set of 6-7. Chest measurement ~47.5.
     
  6. ts_barnes

    ts_barnes Well-Known Member

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    I am a very new to all of this, but one question I have is, why do people recommend the bench to work the chest if shoulder and tri's are doing most of the wrok? Is their a better exercise for the chest?

    Thanks,
    ts_barnes
     
  7. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Because it hits the chest in a different way and gives better overall development than just doing flyes alone.
    As your chest gets bigger you will notice the pecs start to get hit better on bench exercises, but still not as much as the triceps do.
     
  8. SteveSatch

    SteveSatch Well-Known Member

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    chest is 40 inches

    flat bench barbell press 185 x 4

    flat bench db press 75 x 4
     
  9. jsbrook

    jsbrook Well-Known Member

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    Chest size and strength for benching are not necessarily all that correlated, though they can be. Chest is over 40. I have reached 170 barbell for 5 x 10 or 70 lb dumbells. I might be able to do heavier dumbell work now. I was having some issues with barbell bench, but I'm no longer experiencing problems. I'm sticking with the barbell these days for one of my two chest workouts a week. The other workout I do heavy dips in a 10 x 3-5 scheme. I find that I actually get a better chest workout with dips. As people have said, triceps and shoulders come into play. Also chest measurement also includes lats and back development and frame size is an issue. Further, while there is a relationship between strength and size, they do not go hand in hand. There are actually strength training methods that people (such as wrestlers) can use who do not want to increase in size but want great strength gains. I plan to do such a program after my cut while eating at maintence. The goal being to improve strength during a maintenance period and shoulder heavier loads for the next hypertrophy phase. I've also seen grown men in the gym with some decent size on them who are weak as kittens.
     
  10. leftone

    leftone Well-Known Member

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    if ur feeling that ur shoulders and triceps are the "key" in ur bench press...... ur doin it very very wrong. most people and i mean MOST people feel it in those areas just like you do but the truth is if thats the case ur not in proper form, and maintaining your angles. im not saying u wont see chest size from doing it the other way but when ur able to isolate the muscle by doing it correctly you will see an even more exponenitial growth. i too did it wrong for a long long long time, till somone showed me the right way, i had to drop alot of weights to get back in form once i did it right, since a whole new muscle group (the right muscle group) was getting worked. its not easy to explain on the internet but i encourage you to learn more about the proper form you will see much better results in the targeted area. good luck.
     
  11. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    If you suggest ppl are using wrong form, im sure it would appreciated if you could tell of the form required to involve the pecs more in a BB pressing movement, or at least provide a link.
     
  12. leftone

    leftone Well-Known Member

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    its not really BIG deal as the accepted form has been what most people use. i dont have a link since i didnt learn the proper form from the internet but from a friend that used to be a personal trainer. (i know everyone has a friend thats a personal trainer LOL but no really hes my workout partner LOL) i will try my best to explain and im sure i will not present it properly but will try.

    the real break down in the form comes from the arm posistion on the way down and IN the down posistion going up. most people have the correct top posistion from what ive seen since the redirect the weights on the way up. lets talk dumbbell press. in the down posistion the upper arms and elbows should be level to your chest, NOT elbows pointing towards you waist or at any other angle as most people do and i did as well but elbows pointed out to ur sides. u will notice on the way up if u keep those angles from down to up in a straight line bringing the dumbells together at the top the pressure will be from the top of the chest at beggining, and the insided of the chest when closing at the top. hope this helps and doesnt add to the confusfion.
     
  13. glenn_001

    glenn_001 Well-Known Member

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    Theres no denying that Dumbbells are better for chest than Barbell, but when i stop a set of DB bench its usually my shoulders that give in first not my chest, the form you describe i would think is pretty standard although i go a little under parallel for that extra stretch. :)
     
  14. Skoorb

    Skoorb Well-Known Member

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    Re chest on bench, I always find it nails my chest the most. My shoulders are not particularly strong and I have the bar come all the way down but my chest always gets hit badly. I did high reps on bench yesterday and the pain was almost entirely in my chest. When I'm finished incline DB press I get the same thing. Of course for DB press tris are only a stabilizer, since forearms are perpendicular to the ground at all times.

    My chest is the only bodypart I can consistently get sore after each workout, and it's also my best body part in terms of size/strength.
     
  15. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
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    Thanks for the info guys. I didn't think chest size and strength were correlated, as there are plenty of people at the gym who look smaller than me but do much more, but I was curious to hear some numbers. I don't really want to walk up to a guy at the gym and ask his chest size.

    Wow I have the smallest chest here. Thanks for talking about form. I need to check mine next time, I think maybe my elbows don't stay pointed out all the time and may move around on me.
     
  16. jsbrook

    jsbrook Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you. I don't thing they are key. But they do a play a role, so how strong they are is necessary to consider when trying to correlate chest size and bench strength. I bench traditionally because it hits my chest just fine and doesn't overuse my shoulders, and triceps. But it's very easy to place more emphasis on the chest. Wider grip. Wider angle. Also, after the intial upward movement don't come up as high which brings the triceps more into play, and don't come down as far since the shoulders are heavily involved in the initial extention.
     
  17. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Well, you are arguing a different point than I was making. I said shoulders and triceps are key to being able to bench press large amounts of weight. You are arguing that the technique used for benching big weight isn't the best way to isolate the chest. I fully agree....but maximizing chest isolation is not the way to bench big weight. Keeping your arms at 90 degree angles to your torso (or doing neck presses) will allow you to isolate the chest more, but you'll never bench any serious weight doing it that way....not unless you want to wreck your shoulders.

    You might take a look at this article for reference.

    Also, to address ts_barnes post: It seems that from the premise "the shoulders and triceps are more important contributors to overall bench press weight" you conclude that "the chest isn't being worked very hard". The second doesn't necessarily follow from the first. It is certainly possible that the chest can be worked maximally, yet still not contribute much to overall bench press weight.
     
  18. bagobonez

    bagobonez Well-Known Member

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    My cold chest size (flexed) is 43. My shoulders are actually probably the weakest muscles in my body. I have had problems with them from basketball, and don't know if I'll ever really be able to do heavy workouts for them. My bench isn't too terrible though. I haven't maxed in a while, but I can do 185 probably 10 times or so. Not fantastic, but not terrible.
     
  19. leftone

    leftone Well-Known Member

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    joeschmo, i must have misread ur post but wasnt referencing anyone inparticular anyway in my response, but i agree with u. to bench LARGE amounts of weight u would need to concentrate more on triceps and shoulders, but from what i know thats not the point of bench. most guys in the gym i see are over doing 285+ on bench and acting like they are king of the world. then they come to me and ask why i cant do as much as them (since im nearly as big as them) i tell them lay down let me show you proper form on 285lbs. they nearly about kill themselves. non ever able to get it off their chest. point being i can curl 200lbs throwing it up with my back but thats not the point generally unless ur trying to just prove u can do a certain amount. good response though sorry for misreading. i have a habbit of scanning and not reading.
     
  20. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    40"
    Barbell: (1.53x My weight) for a working set

    Although I doubt it, it might be interesting to see if there really is any significant correlation between size & strength :confused:
     

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