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Enhance Your Chest Workout with the Pec Deck

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
September 18, 2017
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Everyone wants to be efficient in the gym. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone handed you a list of the top exercises for building your chest muscles? Well, that’s been done. A study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise tested pectoral building exercises to find out which were the most effective. The pec dec ranked second just below the barbell bench press.

chest workout

Since you probably already know that barbell bench press is “king” on chest day, let’s talk about the “prince,” the pec deck. In the ACE study, exercises were tested and analyzed by their amount of muscle activation via an electromyography, or EMG, electrodes. The EMG electrodes were placed on the pectoralis major muscles of each study participant. The EMG measured motor-unit recruitment, firing rate, and synchronization to determine the highest level of muscle activation for each exercise.The results of the study reported that the pec deck came in at 98% muscle activation when compared to barbell bench press. That’s pretty close to just as effective! So, if you are thinking that free weights are the only way to grow your pectorals, think again. The pec deck is an extraordinary isolation exercise to target your chest.

How To Do The Pec Deck

  1. Set the weight on the pec deck machine.
  2. Sit on the platform with your back firmly pressed against the back support pad.
  3. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Put your forearms on the pec deck pads. Your arms will be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your elbows should be at chest level. Note: You may have to grip handles depending on the design of the machine.
  5. Contract your pectoral muscles as you pull your arms toward each other. You will bring the pads all the way together.
  6. Slowly release until your arms are perpendicular.
  7. Repeat for your set.

Trainer Tips:

The pec deck is a great machine for form. It helps lock your arms into the correct position to isolate your chest muscles. Many people try to go heavy on cable flyes and due to improper form and heavy load end up making them into presses. You must have proper form in order for your exercises to work appropriately, so step out of the free weight section for 3 sets of 10-12, and go visit the pec deck machine.

Sample Exercise Plan

  • Barbell Bench Press 3 sets of 10
  • Pec Deck 3 sets of 10-12
  • Cable Crossovers 3 sets of 10-12
  • Seated Chest Press 3 sets of 10-12
  • Dips 3 sets of 12
  • Stability ball pushups 3 sets of 15-20

Read more fitness articles here.

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