So you’ve been hammering away on your barbell and dumbbell presses week after week with full focus and intensity, but still aren’t seeing noticeable improvement in your chest development?

There’s a decent chance that the problem lies in a few fundamental errors in your pressing form that are holding you back.

Execute your pressing movements using the wrong mechanics, and a huge portion of the stress actually shifts away from your pecs and onto your front deltoids and triceps instead.

In order to maximize the stimulation and growth of your pec muscles during every chest workout, make sure to employ these 3 critical form tips on all of your barbell and dumbbell pressing exercises…

Form Tip #1: Keep your shoulder blades retracted.

Rather than keep your shoulder blades flat against the bench as you press the weights up and down, pinch them together slightly and keep them that way throughout the entire movement.

This causes your pecs to take on a greater percentage of the overall workload as compared to your shoulders and triceps.

Form Tip #2: Push through your elbows and not your hands.

Imagine that your forearms and hands don’t even exist, and instead place 100% of your focus on driving the weight up using your elbows only.

This one takes a bit of practice to get used to but will make a massive difference in your ability to recruit your pecs effectively during all of your pressing exercises.

When you push through your hands and forearms (which is what almost all lifters do) you heavily activate your triceps and front shoulders and take the stress off of your chest.

Form Tip #3: Keep a small arch in your lower back.

To fully maximize chest stimulation and growth, make sure to keep a small arch in your lower back rather than keeping it flat against the bench. (Don’t go overboard with this technique though, or you’ll actually end up bringing your lats into the equation)

Quick Review

It’s really as simple as that…

1) Retract your shoulder blades
2) Push through your elbows.
3) Keep your lower back slightly arched.

Employing these 3 simple form shifts will allow you to minimize the activation of your shoulders and triceps while maximizing the overall tension and growth you can produce in your chest.

Keep in mind that when you do make these changes to your form, you’ll probably have to scale back a bit on the total amount of weight you’re using.

However, this should not be a cause for concern, as bodybuilding is all about muscular overload and NOT about the objective amount of weight you can lift.

If your primary goal is to boost your ego by bragging about how big your bench press is, that’s fine. However, if your goal is to pack as much lean muscle mass onto your pecs as you possibly can, lighten up the weights slightly, employ these 3 tips, and watch your results instantly accelerate virtually overnight.

– Sean

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