Not a lot of people achieve a ‘pump’ in their pecs after doing chest exercises. This is because the majority of those who exercise do not actively use their pectoral muscles when they’re training, instead using almost every other muscle in their upper body. Your chest muscles contract and expand when your arms and shoulders move, creating resistance which is then transferred to your chest. If most of this resistance is felt in your ancillary limbs and muscle groups, a great number of people assume that’s where they’re supposed to get their pump. Of course, this is wrong.
You can feel that desired pump when you do your chest exercises correctly, not when you don’t even involve them in the movement. Make your pecs control your exercise and hone the connection between your mine and your muscles to get this effect.
Usually, when people do the flat bench press, they don’t expect there to be a pump because it’s considered to be an exercise made for building strength and putting on basic mass. Everyone thinks they’re just supposed to get tired, but this is not the case – you are supposed to get a pump in your pecs if you are doing the bench press correctly. If you’re flat against your bench and lifting with your arms and shoulders, you’re not getting a pump.
Instead, consider your two pectoral muscles as antagonistic ones – when the bar is lowered, they separate under the force of your shoulders and arms. This happens at the bottom of the movement, which means it’s also when your lateral muscles are squeezed together behind you. When you press the bar upwards, your lats expand and your shoulders come to the front, which makes them squeeze your pecs.
Anyway, that’s what happens in a bench press, but there’s another thing you need to consider – taking control of the situation mentally. Most notably, you need to consider taking control of your pectoral muscles, which should pull themselves apart instead of waiting to be pulled apart by your shoulders or your arms whenever you lower the bar. If you concentrate on starting your pull from where your pectorals tie in the middle of your sternum, which is your chest bone, you will feel it easily. When you lower the bar, make sure to hold total control over your pecs, letting them stretch out completely only until your shoulders rotate back and your laterals squeeze together on your back.
When you want to press the bar upwards, use all your mental energy to visualize the start of the contraction in the outside of your pectorals and then lift by pulling that contraction towards the middle of your chest. If you practice enough, you won’t even know that your arms, shoulders or lateral muscles are doing any work – you will only feel your pecs contracting and expanding.
If you want to work on your chest, don’t think in terms like “crossovers”, “flyes” or “presses”. If you do, you will lose the movement to your lats and arms. Instead, put your pecs at the center of your thoughts, where everything originates and ends with them and you will see results, as well as a healthy pump every single time. Here’s a pec pump routine suggestion by the unforgettable Dorian Yates – he says it always gives him the desired pump!
- INCLINE BENCH PRESS, 4 Sets of 8-12 Reps(bench all four sets at a 15-30 degrees inclination).
- FLAT BENCH PRESS, 4 Sets of 6-10 Reps.
- INCLINE DUMBBELL FLY, 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps.
- CABLE CROSSOVERS, 4 Sets of 10-12 Reps.