So, will using the bench press get rid of my Man Boobs? What about push ups?
I must admit, after almost 20 years in the job I was reluctant to write this article. I felt that speaking about something like this was too simplistic in a way. It's only when speaking to our strength coach Joel this morning that I had a revelation. He made me realise that so many guys out there actually have no idea how to deal with this issue. There are methods and techniques that can deliver for the everyday man, so here goes. I promise that everything you'll read below is the actual method we would use for our clients here at PVH&F.
Men the world over have an innate fascination with a female’s upper body... it's a thing. What doesn't intrigue them though, is when another man has a set to revival his partner's cleavage. So, how should a fellow man approach ridding himself of the dreaded man ‘boobage’? And how does he make sure they won’t make a return?
I've worked with men ranging from the competitive athlete to the everyday gent. Stored energy (FAT) in a particular area of the body is a clear sign of the lack of functional muscle tone in that area. The muscle's inability to contract, or relax when required, inhibits normal muscle function. Stored energy is the by-product of a reduction of movement / functionality in that site. Hence the build-up of fatty tissue begins.
Normal muscular function would see the area use fatty tissue as an energy source. It does this by allowing it to pass through the cell wall to enter the blood stream, so the body can use it.
On hearing such a statement, most men would immediately hit the bench press or do some push ups. The logic being that working their pecs and upper body is going to be the miracle cure for the man cans. They are so very wrong!
The vast majority of us men aren't gifted with large well-rounded pecs like Arnold in his hay day. And, it doesn’t take a huge increase in function or size for too much internal rotation of the upper arm to take place. As soon as upper arm sits too far forward in the shoulder complex the flow on effect is profound.
Rather than fixing the problem, the wrong exercises lead to further issues. Biceps, pecs, and Lat's all become overactive, tight, and create a rounding posture. As it is, the vast majority of us already adopt this position in day to day working circumstances. So, bench presses and push ups aren't the answer. They make muscles that are already weak and non-functioning three times worse. So, what is the solution?
Let me get to the point and give this the headline:
"This is how you fix the Man Cans"!
Reducing the amount of thoracic spine tension first always pays huge dividends. So, get working on that extension your upper back has lost with some flossing drills. Reduce the tightness of your Biceps, both Pectoral muscles, Lat's, and Teres major. Why? Because it improves the stimulation of the weaker muscles of the shoulder complex. Those that make up the posterior section of your shoulder.
Rhomboids, posterior deltoids, triceps, and the rotator cuff will perform better. This is due to reduced levels of competition they experience from the anterior chain. Exercises such as a kettlebell arm bar are great for improving range. Activation of weak muscles through stability and mobility principles link them all together. Follow that up with a big posterior chain dominant exercise such as a barbell row. You'll begin to bring that weak posterior chain back into life. The list of great exercises is endless and no one exercise is right. The one that gives you the best workout is the right one for you.
Trapped in the thoracic spine is the underlying key to losing the man cans. This is what I want the reader to take away from this! You can't out train a poor diet and you can't out train weakness. Your body needs to be in an alignment that allows for appropriate muscle stimulation. Free up your T-Spine and improve your upper back strength. Work on keeping your shoulders back and watch your pecs make an appearance.