Strength: Involve the Pectoralis Minor in the Bench Press
Center Circle Passing Game
Center Circle Passing Game

Strength: Involve the Pectoralis Minor in the Bench Press

Dick Moss, Editor

The bench press is the most common exercise for developing the chest. Its main focus is the Pectoralis Major muscle, whose function is to pull the upper arm across the chest.

However, there is another chest muscle, the Pectoralis Minor, which lies beneath

If Your Students’ Shoulders 
Stay on the Bench, They Aren’t Involving Their Pectoralis Minor Muscles
If Your Students’ Shoulders Stay on the Bench, They Aren’t Involving Their Pectoralis Minor Muscles
the larger Pectoralis Major. Its job is to pull the shoulder blade forward and down, which causes the shoulders to hunch forward.

When performing bench presses, be sure your students develop both muscles. A slight refinement of technique will ensure that this occurs.

Bench Press Refinement
Be sure your students hunch their shoulders as they lift.

They should feel some movement of their shoulders throughout the lift. When they reach the upward limit of

The Shoulders Should 
Lift Off the Bench for Maximum Involvement of the Chest Muscles
The Shoulders Should Lift Off the Bench for Maximum Involvement of the Chest Muscles
their range of motion, they should hunch their shoulders forward as if attempting to lift the shoulder blades off the bench.

If your students use mainly their arms to lift the bar, the Pectoralis Minor is minimally involved. One way to tell if this is occurring is if their shoulders remain flat on the bench at the upper range of the lift. To involve the Pectoralis Minor, the shoulders must lift off the bench.

References
1. Frederic Delavier 7 Michael Gundill, Strength Training Anatomy Workout II, The (The Strength Training Anatomy Workout), Human Kinetics, 2012.
2. Secrets of Advanced Bodybuilders Manual, 1985, Health for Life.



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