Common Mistakes in chest Training by Alexander J.A. Cortes
November 8, 2017

Common Mistakes in Chest Training

Most people train “wrong”. You see this if you spend enough time in gym, the observation of “that person still looks the same” quickly becomes obvious.
People can go years, decades even, and for all the “working out” they do, there are ZERO changes to their physiology. And I do not simply mean how they “look”.

-no increase in lean body mass
-no increase in strength
-no improvements in coordination
-no improvements in cardiovascular conditioning
-no improvements in overall metabolism

Before we go in depth, If you are enjoying this article I encourage you to visit Alexender’s website to get exclusive access to more of his brilliant work!

Function follows form, and this rule never does not apply. Just as runners can stagnate for years and decades due to lacking any kind of planning or models of progress, so too can people who lift weights.  And beyond the physical development model, anyone can stagnate at ANY skillset, if they mindlessly repeat it.  Practice is purposeful, and it must come first before “mindless” repetition can be done.
These things said, chest and shoulders are the working metaphor here. Said simply, Men love to train chest and shoulders. And I’d surmise that 8 out of 10 completely screw up their training on a daily/weekly basis.

SO In no particular Order

Chest Training Mistakes 

1. Obsessing over bench press 1RM (1 Rep Max) – Your max is built by reps and muscle, not maxing out. This is common trap that almost everyone that ever lifts weights falls for, the idea that maxing out increases strength. It does not. It only tests it. If you want your 1RM to go, you need to increase your 10RM, 5RM, and 3RM

2. Assuming that the flat bench press is the best chest builder exercise – It is NOT. It works for some people, but not for everyone universally. The best benchers are anatomically BUILT to bench press heavy. And only about 1 in 5 guys in the gym has the structure to truly bench heavy and excel at it. For everyone else, it may be a good mass builder, but they are never going to excel at it

3. Neglecting other angles – Your pecs can press within 5 different lines of force, for complete chest development you need to do ALL OF THEM. Dips, pushups, flat, low incline, high incline. Thats 5 lines of movement. Balanced chest training incorporates all of them in a progressive way

4. Maxing out all the time on everything – Just a plan stupid strategy that never works and will ALWAYS stall out and “plateau”. I see this with young guys and old men. EVERY chest exercise has to be maxed. Not surprisingly, these guys never have impressive chest development

5. Not learning proper technique – crashing the bar on your chest, pressing unevenly, not learning setup, you need to learn technique for all exercises. I would strongly suggest getting a book like 5/3/1 if you do not know proper technique setup for any of the barbell lifts

6. Starting every chest workout with bench press – You can get away with this when you are young, but as you age, this becomes a setup for injury. The shoulder joint only has so much heavy pressing its capable of, and its need to be acclimated and warmed up before heavy loading. Get your shoulders and back ready to press before heavy work

7. Not working dips or incline bench – Dips and Incline bench can often build a better chest than flat benching will. Work these two movements hard. If you can these your whole life, your shoulder health should be excellent.

8. Training chest every day – Grow up and stop being 15. If you train chest too frequently you WILL get a pec tear or shoulder injury. Twice a weekly frequency is as much as you need for chest growth

9. Not training your back – Your back, and upper back especially, this is your “platform” to press from. Your upper back strength determines your pressing strength & is the foundation for shoulder pressing as well. Weak upper back=weak chest and shoulders that are limited in their strength and size development.

10. Neglecting shoulder health and flexibility – If your posture sucks, chest is tight, shoulders are internally rotated=torn rotator cuff or pec tear in the making. You need to stretch, mobilize, and fix this with A LOT of upper back rowing and incline walking

11. Not using a full ROM – Partial reps are a waste of time unless you are advanced and have great muscle activation. Use a full ROM for your movements. Partials are applicable only for injured or older lifters that must be hyper-conscientious of their joint health

12. Constantly needing a spotter – You are deluding yourself and you are weak. Spotters are for one rep maxes, not cheating all your reps all of the time.

I think that covers everything. Im sure I could think of more if I wanted to rant about it.

For Chest training, try my chest and shoulder program. It will have you do the opposite of the above, IE, training the correct way for actual muscle growth,

Talk again soon,


To get exclusive access to more of Alexander’s content, check out his website. You can also follow him on twitter, Thanks for reading

Leave a Reply