Bigger Pecs and Healthy Shoulders
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.
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.
In the following video, pro athlete trainer Jeff Cavaliere explains the 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.
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 the slacker, and the prestretch capable of producing a more forceful contraction is lost.