Q: The direct/indirect training split is awesome! I think my muscles have always needed more hits per week, but I followed the pros and trained each muscle only once a week. That never worked for me. The direct/indirect training split [in The 4X Mass Workout e-book] has already added new muscle to my arms and shoulders and back. My one problem area is upper chest. I’ve moved upper chest work to the front of my direct pec program. That’s helped some, but on indirect, day when I train triceps, close-grip bench presses are the indirect chest exercise. They don’t hit my upper chest, so should I do close-grip incline presses instead on triceps day?
A: Hmm, close-grip incline presses might be a solution, although we’ve never been huge fans of close grip on inclines. They can be hard on the shoulder joints. Experiment using a light poundage to see if you feel your upper chest kick in on those. There’s another solution supported by recent research that we have tried…
An EMG study shows that reverse-grip bench presses, on a flat bench, activate the upper-pec fibers even better than incline presses. Yes, MORE upper-pec activation than inclines. The study reveals that incline presses rely more on the front delts. Interesting…
That means the reverse-grip, or under-grip, bench press is a better pure upper-pec exercise, so you may want to try that to lead off your triceps workout. Your tri’s will be heavily involved and your upper chest will get a more direct hit than with standard close-grip bench presses. Plus, your lower chest will still get some residual work as well.
By the way, the under-grip bench press takes some getting used to and you should really have a spotter. If you don’t have a spotter, do it in a Smith machine or power rack. Any way you slice it, it’s a great triceps-chest attack.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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