The Key to Bigger Pecs (AND HEALTHY SHOULDERS!)

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When you are trying to build bigger pecs and a more muscular chest, you have to do so without compromising the health of your shoulders. In this video, I’m going to show you one postural adjustment you can make on every chest exercise to get more aesthetic development from your pecs without compromising the shoulder joint in the process.

It starts with an understanding of the position of the upper arm in the socket and how this impacts your pressing. Your arm can either be titled anteriorly, which is incredibly common due to postural maladjustments, neutral or posteriorly tilted. In order to get your joint away from this anterior position you need to be sure you have adequate flexibility in your pec minor first and foremost. This is covered in another video on this channel where I show you how to stretch your pecs most effectively.

Even with a somewhat tight pec minor however, you can still manually make this adjustment by focusing on the position of the sternum during every chest exercise. Likely, you will find that your sternum is angled down and forward before starting even your first rep of a bench press or dip. This is incorrect. You want to get it lifted until the top of it is flat and angled parallel to the floor. This automatically sets your shoulders down and back.

It doesn’t just retract your shoulder blades, which is a common misconception of what is needed to get into the healthy pressing position. Instead, it will put your shoulders not just back but down as well which will stabilize the ac joint and give your glenohumeral joint more space to move through superiorly to avoid impingement. This is a very easy adjustment to make and one that can get you feeling the difference within the first few reps.

This can be applied to not just the bench press and dip, but the pushup or floor fly as well. The key is that by establishing a down and back position of the shoulders you allow your joints to be more protected while giving you a better mechanical advantage to execute from. This latter point is explained by the position of the insertion of the upper pecs on the humerus. When you shrug your shoulders, the muscle fibers of the upper pecs become more slack and the prestretch capable of producing a more forceful contraction is lost.

As you can see, when you are developing your chest or any other muscle group for that matter, it isn’t just the aesthetics that matter but the longevity with which you are training that muscle should matter as well. Both do at ATHLEAN-X and if you head to and get our ATHLEAN-X Training System you will see first hand just how much more successful you can become in your training if you get this right.

For more videos on how to get a bigger chest or bigger pecs, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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