The Key to Bigger Pecs (AND HEALTHY SHOULDERS!)

What's up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I want to revisit a topic that we've covered on this channel here before, and that is the positioning of the shoulders when you're pressing. Particularly if you're doing a bench press, or as I'm going to show you here today, other exercises when you're training your chest. Because there are two real reasons why you always want to be conscious of what your shoulders are doing. One of them is going to be the safety and the longevity of your shoulder joint as you're training, and the second thing is actually the aesthetics of your training and what you're getting from your training in the first place. If you don’t have your shoulder in the right position you're actually going to screw up both of these. Let me explain what I'm talking about. When you look at the shoulder joint you want to sometimes look at it from the side here, in its position of the humerus, the upper arm bone, in relation to the rest of my torso here, okay? What we often see is the anteriorly tilted humerus. This way. Where it's tilted this way forward, okay? That's very common because of postural issues that we all run into, because we don’t address the muscle that actually cause the. The pec minor is one of the major muscles that will pull the shoulder blade down, and forward. I actually put a complete video up on this channel about how to stretch the pec minor. I'll link it right here if you haven't seen that because it is a popular adaptation and compensation that happens from our poor posture that we tend to sit in all day long. We do then have another alteration here. We can have more of a neutral tilt of the – which would be no tilt – of the humerus in relation to the rest of my torso here, and then we can have the posterior where the head is angled a little bit back in relation to my torso. What you want to be able to do is get the neutral to a bit posterior in all of your pressing exercises. The best way I can tell you to do that is one real tip. One thing to focus on because there are a lot of people that try to do this, and they retract their shoulder blades, but then their head pops forward. That's not good. Or they try to do this and they shrug their shoulders to do that. That's not good. What you want to be able to do is get the retraction and the depression of the shoulders at the same time. So we could do that very easily by focusing on the position of the top of our sternum. I always talk about this. If I were to grab onto the top of my sternum here, what angle is it at? Well, my arms are forward. My shoulders are around and forward. It's angling down at this angle right here. Literally, if I tried to rest a glass of water on it right here it would probably start to tip out, and tip forward. So if all I wanted to do is get this level, then all I have to do is just angle the top of my sternum level. That's it. By doing that I immediately – I don’t just pull my shoulder blades back. I pull them back, and down. Now once it's in this position we've created a much safer shoulder to press from because we're not getting all this movement here. We're not jeopardizing the AC joint in my shoulder because when I get here with a dumbbell, if I were to go down and press with this anterior – I don’t even want to do it because I'll rip my shoulder. This anterior tilted humerus, with all that weight, all that internal rotation is literally what can pop and AC joint in a single rep. So you want to be back, and down. But you set that up, you lift the sternum even here, set the shoulder blades down, and you'll actually feel stronger. At the same time, again, from a performance
standpoint you are shortening the distance that the dumbbell, or the bar has to travel because you've brought your chest closer to that. By getting the back in the position it should be. I'll show you the difference. You can see it in action. This would be, when I get up here and I allow my arms to just travel forward, my shoulders are shrugged a little bit, I just don’t have a real attention to the right positioning of the shoulder. You can see that the press – there's activation of the chest, of course – but it's not going to be like what I'm going to show you now. So now I lift the sternum up, I pull back, and down. Now as I press, I've even got a better pre-stretch on the chest itself. I'll show you why in one second. From here, press up. Held down and back. Down, and back. Okay, so even from a performance, and aesthetic standpoint not only have I added some safety to my shoulder, but I'm also getting better performance from my pec. As I told you before, when you shrugged your shoulders up and get loose in your shoulder girdle here, you're basically taking – especially if you look at the upper chest – if the upper chest fibers come from here, and head down to here; what happens when I do this? Round the shoulder, lift forward. What I've done is, I'm just shortening them. There's no pre-stretch. You need a pre-stretch to get a more powerful traction. So when I do this, and this, now I've got that additional pre-stretch here that makes it more effective. When I come over to a dip it's the same thing. I've talked about how important this is when you do a dip, you don’t – a lot of times we get in this position and we do this. So you start here, shoulders are shrugged, they're way anterior. Jessie, come over here for one second. Look at how anterior the shoulders are here. Now, if I were to go down too far you get all that force being directed into that AC joint. That can also cause that same problem that happened on the bench press. So what we want to do is, we want to get up – I'll show you again when I do this. Everything is kind of collapsed and working from there. It's not a good position, but if I get to the top and I lift the sternum up, and I get that down, and back, now when I'm here and everything's held down, if I don’t allow my shoulders to shrug up – in other words, don’t collapse in – now when I press, come here, and come up. Instantly, a much better activation of the chest, a much safer position for the shoulders, and better overall results. So again, I try to boil it down to the things that you can take home and do rather easily and my one point that I want you to focus on is what's going on here. Ultimately understanding that we're trying to influence what's going on back here because that's going to give you, not only better results, but a safer, more injury free future here with all of your pressing. All right, guys. I hope you found this video helpful. In the meantime, if you're looking for a program that tries to give you the reasons why, and not just the what – because I think telling you 'what' is not enough. If you understand why you're doing something when you're doing the exercises you feel them that much more and they make that much more sense. That's what we try to focus on here at ATHLEANX. All right, guys. I'll be back here again soon. Let me know what you want me to cover.

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