5 Red Flags of a Weak Chest (FIX THESE!)

  • Published: 13 January 2019
  • If you have a weak chest, it not only will show up when you take your shirt off and look in the mirror but it will also have a detrimental effect on your bench press and other lifts in your chest workouts. In this video, I’m going to show you the 5 biggest red flags for a weak chest, and most importantly, what you can do to fix them.

    The first thing you want to do is look at the way in which you are performing your dumbbell bench press or barbell bench. If you have the tendency to allow your shoulders to drift forward ahead of your chest on the pressing portion of the lift then you likely are compensating for a weak chest. This becomes especially true if you find that it happens even more as you fatigue during the set.

    Next, take a look at your performance and strength on the overhead press as compared to the bench press. If you find that you are meeting or coming close to pressing your bodyweight on the OHP but are far less capable of pressing one and a half times your bodyweight on a bench press, you likely have a very weak chest. Why is that? This is because the OHP requires primarily the strength of the delts to perform it well. Given that your delts are also needed on the bench press, if you have incredible strength in them that should carry over to the bench. If yours falls apart however, the most likely cause is that your chest is not nearly as strong as your shoulders.

    Sticking with the bench press, you also want to be aware of where in the range of motion you seem to most often fail or struggle. Generally, the shoulders are most responsible for getting the bar off of your chest at the bottom of the lift. On the opposite end, the triceps are relied on tremendously for locking out the lift. The chest however, is most active and recruited during the midrange of the lift. If you find that it is here that you are failing on your reps or getting stuck, then it is something that you are going to want to work on and at the very least, identify as a major red flag.

    Continuing on, you don’t just want to be concerned with your absolute strength in your chest but also your ability to produce force over time repeatedly. The muscle endurance of the chest can be tested by simply performing 25 pushups as I show you in the video, breaking them up into 5 reps at a time with a 5 second hold in the midrange of the exercise each time. Without stopping, see if you can get all the way to 25 reps while accruing 25 seconds of holding time. If not, you want to be alerted to the weakness you likely have in your chest muscles.

    Finally, take note of any potential discrepancy in your performance of the dip. We know that leaning forward in the dip is going to more effectively recruit the muscles of the chest rather than relying heavily on the triceps (as happens in a more upright dip). If you find however that you can do more reps upright than you can tilted forward in more of a chest dip, this is a major red flag.

    The fixes for each of these red flags are included. Be sure that you keep your shoulders held back during all pressing movements so that your chest can more actively contribute to the lift. Likewise, it is ok to work on including partials in the midrange of a bench press or even paused reps in the midrange to evoke more work from the chest and strengthen it. Finally, with dips, don’t just treat them as a high rep exercise. Remember to include some weighted dips and lean forward into the chest dip position and work on increasing your strength on the exercise in the lower rep ranges.

    If you are looking for a complete workout program that helps you to not only overcome these red flags but everywhere else you can develop them in your body, be sure to click the link below and get a step by step plan for training like an athlete. Build ripped, athletic muscle in just 90 days by training with the ATHLEAN-X Training Systems.

    For more videos on how to build a bigger chest and the best chest workout for getting bigger pecs, be sure to subscribe to our channel at the link below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 2 847

    ATHLEAN-X™   11 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how! https://giveaway.athleanx.com/how-to-win.html

    • Bryan Naylor
      Bryan Naylor  2 months back

      ATHLEAN-X™ Can you get stronger without putting on muscle?

    • MaurerBarros
      MaurerBarros  6 months back

      Jeff, can you make a video about isometrics exercises, Thanks from your brazilian fan

      TECH/GAMER ESHAN  9 months back

      When I am doing bench dips my once side chest is going like inside and painting a lot

    • Madness
      Madness  9 months back

      and how i combine that to my chest workout ?

    • Hope Hicks
      Hope Hicks  9 months back

      I got very weak pectorals. No upper chest whatsoever. My right pec is almost half my left- doesn't extend toward the middle at all. And no matter what, i can't do more than 12 push-ups or 8 dips. How could u help me out with this, Jeff? Btw I'm a 33-year-old male.

  • Ozark Chinquapin
    Ozark Chinquapin  3 days back

    You helped me so much

    • jānis graumanis
      jānis graumanis  5 days back


      • MG
        MG  5 days back

        I made the 25 pushups with the holds and holded after the 25th rep. Then tried to get up with my arms... I failed... Damn. My chest burns rn

        • Captain WEED
          Captain WEED  1 weeks back


          • Arcade Collectors Europe

            Hahaha...great acting in the beginning

            • Wael Elashouri
              Wael Elashouri  1 weeks back

              You don't know how this video helpful 👍👍

              • Henri Davis
                Henri Davis  1 weeks back


                • Steven Enno
                  Steven Enno  2 weeks back

                  I feel I’m the only person in the world who HATES BenchPress

                  • Y. Cortez
                    Y. Cortez  2 weeks back

                    AWESOME VIDEO... VERY HELPFUL...!!! GREAT STUFF....

                    • Ruben G9
                      Ruben G9  2 weeks back

                      if Jeff barely did the 25 rep test how does he expect we do it

                      • Rishu Yadav
                        Rishu Yadav  2 weeks back

                        Bro u said everythink but if you mentioned the exact weight ranges for finding the red flags then it would be very easy for us

                        • Quentin Smith
                          Quentin Smith  2 weeks back

                          Well. Fuck.

                          • Xiaoran Zhou
                            Xiaoran Zhou  2 weeks back

                            I can do high-quality push-ups with 15 reps, but no more power then. This video is a bad news to me hhh

                            • Samuel Bradstreet
                              Samuel Bradstreet  2 weeks back

                              Got to 10... Time to start grinding!

                              • Car Man 96
                                Car Man 96  3 weeks back

                                The issue I have is I dislocated my right shoulder 3 years back and my left side of my chest has grown but not my right, and Im having these same issues, where my right side chest the side I dislocated my shoulder is weak and can’t push it as much as my left side. Starting to think I simply can’t develop my right side chest because of my right dislocated shoulder, keep thinking the muscles are too damaged or something

                                • NitSUj
                                  NitSUj  3 weeks back

                                  Thank you Jeff. Don’t think I would have ever realised I was doing my bench press and push ups incorrectly without this video

                                  • Stephen Bland
                                    Stephen Bland  3 weeks back

                                    Who else noticed this man’s muscular eye socket @ 1:45 0_o

                                    • Howard Dixon
                                      Howard Dixon  3 weeks back

                                      Im currently benching 9 reps of 85lbs on the bar. Im aware im weak,..... thanks.

                                      • Joseph Drane
                                        Joseph Drane  3 weeks back

                                        I tore something in my chest while doing a dip and I’m 16😳

                                        • Vedant Agarwal
                                          Vedant Agarwal  3 weeks back

                                          1:42 look at the vascularity on his fucking face!

                                          • 1bluegrassbass
                                            1bluegrassbass  4 weeks back

                                            Umm ... if my 4 rep max is HALF
                                            my body weight , is that a red flag 🚩? Lol !!
                                            I weight 185 lbs . Just saying ... 😩

                                            • Brqdes
                                              Brqdes  4 weeks back

                                              I thought your supposed to push your shoulders forward on pushups? Every video says so

                                              • MrCrasher96
                                                MrCrasher96  4 weeks back

                                                I love how jessy just jump in every video lately, please keep him in your videos😂

                                                • Diandre Miller
                                                  Diandre Miller  4 weeks back

                                                  Jeff is cheating the pushups lol

                                                  • 1000 Subs With 0 vids?
                                                    1000 Subs With 0 vids?  1 months back

                                                    Guys im 62kg and i just did a 60kg bench press for 6reps (including the bar) Is that good?
                                                    16 yo btw

                                                    • retardedsquirrel106
                                                      retardedsquirrel106  1 months back

                                                      Just found this channel and every one of his videos has some pretty heavy information. I can't wait to increase my gains

                                                      • retardedsquirrel106
                                                        retardedsquirrel106  1 months back

                                                        Relevant question related to this specific video, as I have a very weak chest, if anyone can help me out:

                                                        (Please excuse the wall of text. I wanted to really lay my situation out there to get more accurate advice)

                                                        My max (with 3 full sets) on bench was 135 back in the day when I was in a weight training class. 2 years ago, I went to the gym for the first time in several months and did chest day. Since I hadn't worked out in a while, I decided 95 lbs was a good weight for bench. I can't remember if I finished the third set with that full weight, but I know I did at least 2 sets with 95, so the weight seemed manageable.

                                                        Fast forward to next chest day, about a week later:

                                                        I put 25 lbs on each side of the bar for a total of 95 lbs again, because I'm still fresh to the gym. I start my first set and I can't lift the weight. I go down to 75 lbs - still can't lift it. 65 lbs - nope. I take all of the weight off, pushing only the bar, and I struggle. I complete it, but I struggle.

                                                        I was shocked and very confused.

                                                        Over these last 2 years, I have had trouble gaining strength and endurance back (although I have been in and out of the gym, as I am finishing up college while working full-time and I've been hella busy). I am now back up to 95 lbs, but it's really frustrating that I just now got back to the point I was originally at that fateful day 2 years prior.

                                                        I'm not sure if I somehow tore my pec from working it too hard my first day back or if I fucked something else up.

                                                        Does anyone know the most likely cause(s) of this? What mistakes I may have made, in form or otherwise? What are some actions I can take to reduce my chances of this re-occurring?

                                                        Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this or is able to give me advice. I'm a novice who is trying to became more consistent with my exercise

                                                    • Khabo n
                                                      Khabo n  1 months back

                                                      You are a life saver, I would honestly be clueless without these vids

                                                      • Manash .B
                                                        Manash .B  1 months back

                                                        Similar kind of thing happens when I'm doing biceps. I can curl the starting phase but get stuck somewhere in the middle, does it have to do with weakness in some part of my arms? #needhelp

                                                        • Naruto Uzumaki
                                                          Naruto Uzumaki  2 months back

                                                          5:53 red flag he isn’t doing push ups the correct way you’re suppose to straighten your arms

                                                          • Flying Legfist
                                                            Flying Legfist  2 months back

                                                            Every time I start to feel like I'm making progress, Jeff reminds me I'm doing every thing wrong.

                                                            • Zetsuke4
                                                              Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                              ok now i have a goal overhead press my whole body weight and bench press 1.5 times my body weight got it!!

                                                              • Zetsuke4
                                                                Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                                I now know what ratio to get

                                                            • Zetsuke4
                                                              Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                              that makes a lot of sense vertical press more deltoids and horizontal press more chest this makes so much sense

                                                              • Zetsuke4
                                                                Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                                you have just corrected my pushup/benchpress mistakes all by this video thank you!

                                                                • Zetsuke4
                                                                  Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                                  I finally get the mechanism of the bench press peak of anterior deltoid at the bottom chest in the middle and tricep at the top it all makes sense to me now thank you so much

                                                                  • Zetsuke4
                                                                    Zetsuke4  2 months back

                                                                    This is so informative honestly this helped me sooo much!!!

                                                                    • Muhammad Shah Nawaz
                                                                      Muhammad Shah Nawaz  2 months back

                                                                      Jeff is the Chuck Norris of Training.

                                                                      • Tamás Nagy
                                                                        Tamás Nagy  2 months back

                                                                        First of all my chest isn't strong enough but neither my shoulders so they difinitely wont help me out like that :'D

                                                                        • harmanpreet singh
                                                                          harmanpreet singh  2 months back

                                                                          my right pectorial muscle is weak.....its size is not as much seen as left......what should i do to improve ???

                                                                          • Karter Dowd
                                                                            Karter Dowd  2 months back

                                                                            I actually have a shoulder weakness

                                                                            • Cory Kingbreaker
                                                                              Cory Kingbreaker  2 months back

                                                                              My entire existence is a major red flag

                                                                              • Slinky TV
                                                                                Slinky TV  2 months back

                                                                                Thanks Jeff

                                                                                • Aquarius
                                                                                  Aquarius  2 months back

                                                                                  *WHATS UP GUYS JEFF CAVALRY HERE*

                                                                                  • Max Power
                                                                                    Max Power  2 months back

                                                                                    *When I watch AthleanX, I MUST take notes. To nick good info for me to remember* ! OCT 12 2019

                                                                                    • Max Power
                                                                                      Max Power  2 months back

                                                                                      @.42 Terrible posture, Jesse. lol

                                                                                      • cronz Bb
                                                                                        cronz Bb  2 months back

                                                                                        How you perform on a dick!

                                                                                        • motoman 0786
                                                                                          motoman 0786  2 months back

                                                                                          Thanks for this 😀

                                                                                          • Sergio Alexander
                                                                                            Sergio Alexander  2 months back

                                                                                            I'm rocking more red flags than china. 😔 Will start with getting to that 25 push up challenge! The dip is in a galaxy far, far away... And my chest doesn't even look terrible... Just weak.
                                                                                            Especially when you mentioned failure on bench presses as the chest engages.
                                                                                            💯 Me! You're a freaking scientist man.