Common Chest Training Mistakes: Making you look bad in the gym

Written by Tihomir Stefanov, M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

Fact Checked

Are you looking to build a stronger, more defined chest but feeling frustrated by the lack of progress? 

You may be making one of the common chest training mistakes. 

From improper form to neglecting variations, these missteps can hinder your results and increase the risk of injury.

common chest training mistakes

Don’t let them sabotage your gains. 

Read on to discover the top 5 most common chest training mistakes and how to avoid them. 

From Our Partners
Custom Supplement Plan
4.8

BULKING or CUTTING? We teamed up with the number one bodybuilding supplement brand on the market to help you take your results to the next level. A free custom supplement plan designed to enhance your results.

Take The Quiz

With the right approach and technique, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a chest you can be proud of. 

So, grab your workout gear, and let’s get started on your journey to a chiseled chest.

The Anatomy of the chest muscles

To properly train your chest, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of its anatomy. 

The main superficial muscle of the chest is the pectoralis major, also known as the “pec.” 

This muscle is divided into two main portions: the clavicular head and the sternocostal head.

Each portion of the pec major has a distinct origin and insertion and, therefore, responds differently to various exercises. 

Knowing the anatomy of the chest will help you target specific areas, optimize your workout, and prevent injury.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of the anatomy of the muscle you’re training, as this will enable you to make the most of your workout and achieve your desired results.

Now let’s briefly discuss the 2 separate zones of your pectoral muscles, shall we?

Clavicular Head

The clavicular portion of the pectoralis major muscle is located at the top of the chest, near the collarbone. 

It is the most superior and shortest part of the pec major and is responsible for shoulder flexion and internal rotation. 

Exercises that target the clavicular portion of the pec major typically involve movements such as incline presses, incline flyes, and incline dumbbell pullovers. 

Properly stimulating the clavicular portion of the pec major can help to create a fuller upper chest and contribute to a more aesthetically pleasing overall chest appearance. 

However, it’s important not to neglect the other portions of the pec major and to maintain a balanced chest workout routine.

Sternocostal Head

The sternocostal portion of the pectoralis major muscle is located in the middle of the chest, along the sternum. 

Powerful Fat Burner
Fat Burner Diet Drops: Ultra Fat Loss Supercharger
4.9

Are you serious about FINALLY losing that stubborn belly fat? Then this is for you. Powerful fat burner that helps you supercharge your metabolism for fast results.

Get 25% OFF How It Works

This part of the pec major is the longest and strongest and is responsible for shoulder flexion and horizontal adduction. 

Exercises that target the sternocostal portion of the pec major include flat bench presses, dips, push-ups, and cable crossovers. 

Broscience Verdict
D-Bal | Legal Dianabol Alternative
4.8

Legal muscle-building supplement that's designed to mimic the effects of dianabol without all side effects.

Find Best Price

This portion of the chest is often the most developed in bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts due to the predominant exercises targeting just that zone. 

All in all, due to its size, training the sternocostal portion of the pec major can lead to a broader, more defined chest.

Common Chest Training Mistakes

Chest training is a crucial aspect of any workout routine, but it’s easy to make mistakes that can hinder progress and increase the risk of injury. 

To ensure maximum benefits and minimize the risk of injury, it’s important to be aware of these common chest training mistakes and take steps to avoid them. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, taking the time to address these missteps can help you reach your chest training goals and achieve a stronger, more defined chest.

#1 No Exercise Variety

One of the most common chest training mistakes a lack of exercise variety. Many people get into a workout rut, performing the same exercises repeatedly without adding variety. 

This not only leads to boredom and lack of motivation, but it also limits the benefits of the workout. 

To effectively target all portions of the chest, it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises that work the muscle from different angles and with different resistance levels. 

By changing up your routine, you can effectively target all zones of the chest, delay the plateau and create proper stimulus for overall chest development.

Variety is key in chest training, and including a mix of compound movements, isolation exercises, and varying angles will help ensure full chest development. 

So, step outside of your comfort zone and try some new exercises to give your chest the attention it deserves.

Don’t rely just on the flat bench press – do incline presses, decline presses, dips and use dumbbells, as well as barbells!

#2 Incomplete Range Of Motion

Incomplete range of motion is another common mistake in chest training. Many people focus on lifting heavy weights, neglecting proper form and not fully extending their arms, which limits the stretch and contraction of the chest muscles. 

This not only reduces the effectiveness of the exercise, but it can also increase the risk of injury. 

To get the most out of your chest workout, it’s important to use a full range of motion and make sure to almost fully extend your arms at the top, and contract the chest on each rep and fully stretch your chest muscles at the bottom. 

This will help to maximize muscle activation, increase muscle growth, and reduce the risk of injury. 

Always prioritize proper form and full range of motion over heavy weights to get the best results from your chest training.

Don’t ego lift!

#3 Pressing Only

Another common mistake in chest training is relying solely on pushing movements, such as the bench press, without incorporating exercises where the arms are adducted. 

The chest muscles play a major role in bringing the arms towards the center line of the body, yet this function is often neglected in chest training routines

To correct this imbalance and target the chest more effectively, it’s important to include exercises where the arms are adducted, such as cable crossovers, flyes, and pullovers. 

These exercises will help to engage the chest in a different way, leading to a more well-rounded, balanced development. 

Additionally, incorporating exercises that target the chest in a different way can help to prevent boredom and bring about variety, leading to better results and overall satisfaction with your chest training. 

So, don’t just stick to the bench press, add some variety to your chest training and reap the benefits of crossovers, pec-deck machines and flys!

#4 Poor Form

A common chest training mistake is sacrificing proper form in order to lift heavier weights. 

Many people prioritize weight over form, leading to not just incomplete range of motion, but also poor execution.

While lifting progressively heavier weights is important for building strength, true progressive overload is achieved by lifting heavier weights with the same range of motion. 

Using proper form not only helps to ensure maximum muscle activation, but it also reduces the risk of injury and sets the foundation for long-term progress. 

To get the most out of your chest training, it’s essential to prioritize form over weight, gradually increasing weight only when you’re able to maintain proper form with the current weight. 

Don’t let the temptation to lift heavier weights override the importance of proper form, focus on lifting weights with good form and see the benefits of true progressive overload.

Think of it this way – proper form allows all working joints to be in a position where they can exert the maximum amount of force, and therefore, lift heavier weights.

#5 Too Much Stretching

The last common mistake in chest training is stretching the chest during workouts. While stretching can be an important part of a cool-down routine, stretching the chest during a workout can be counterproductive. 

The goal of chest training is to activate and challenge the muscle, but stretching relaxes the muscle and reduces its activation. 

Instead of stretching the chest between sets, it’s more effective to use dynamic movements, such as arm swings, to keep the blood flowing and the muscles active. 

You can also try static chest flexing between sets to achieve the same result.

So, skip the chest stretches during your workout, and focus on dynamic movements and varied exercises to get the most out of your chest training.

The Complete Push Workout

Now that we have all the basics of anatomy covered, along with the most common chest training mistakes, allow us to give you our complete push workout.

This workout targets the upper body pushing muscle groups – the chest, shoulders and triceps.

Note that even during chest exercises, all these muscle groups work together, which is one of the reasons why a push-based workout is a good idea

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Times
Flat Barbell Bench Press3103 minutes
Incline Dumbbell Press2103 minutes
Cable Crossovers310-122.5 minutes
Barbell Overhead Press46-103 minutes
Tricep DipsClose to failure2.5 minutes

This workout can be incorporated as a part of a traditional push/pull/rest training split, followed by a rest day on day 4.

Keep in mind that depending on your level of training, the sets, reps and rest times may need to be adjusted.

For beginner/intermediate trainees, that may mean reducing the total number of sets, while more advanced/veteran trainees, may need to increase the total number of sets.

Now you can stop making these common chest training mistakes

In conclusion, effective chest training requires a well-rounded approach that takes into account the anatomy and function of the chest muscles. 

By avoiding common chest training mistakes such as lack of exercise variety, incomplete range of motion, relying solely on pushing movements, sacrificing form for weight, and stretching the chest during workouts, you can maximize the results of your chest training and build a strong, defined chest. 

Remember, form is key, and true progressive overload is achieved by lifting heavier weights with the same range of motion. 

By following these principles and incorporating exercises that target the chest from different angles and resistance levels, you’ll see better results and reach your chest training goals.

What’s your go-to chest exercise? Comment below!

My recommended supplements

Testo Booster
Natural Testosterone Booster For Men
4.9

By cutting out the middle-men we were able to produce super high-quality booster packed with all the right ingredients to stimulate natural testosterone production.

Buy Now How It Works
Powerful Fat Burner
Fat Burner Diet Drops: Ultra Fat Loss Supercharger
4.9

Are you serious about FINALLY losing that stubborn belly fat? Then this is for you. Powerful fat burner that helps you supercharge your metabolism for fast results.

Get 25% OFF How It Works
Testosterone Booster
TestoPrime | Natural Testosterone Booster
4.8

Unleash the full testosterone-producing potential in your body. Improve muscle growth and increase fat loss fast.

Learn more Read My Review
Best For Bulking
Best Bulking Stack For Muscle Growth
4.9

Try this for rapid size, strength, and muscle-building results.

Learn more Read My Review

Leave a Comment

0 Shares
Share
Tweet
Pin