We all know that the bench press is the single most popular exercise of them all. A mighty bronzed chest is the dream of every red blooded teenaged homo: where would we be if Steve Reeves hadn't run around half naked as Hercules in all those movies? Our role models are the sons of gods. Just grow a beard and the transformation is complete.
The chest (pectoralis major) can be incredibly strong for its size. Benching builds your chest by working both the upper and lower chest muscle simultaneously. Properly trained, the chest can grow in thickness fairly quickly. It responds to hard work, and protein. So, why do you still feel like Hercules' affable side kick?
Don't worry, all is not lost. Your chest has all the potential to get thick and pumped as any man's. You just need to tap that potential, rather than play around on the sidelines with it.
Clear out of your mind everything you have ever read, heard, seen, and thought about chest development. Relegate all that baggage to the dumpsters of your mind.
Too many guys don't simply work their chests hard, they over work it. They don't know when to quit. "More More More" is their rallying cry. In reality they get "Less Less Less". Overworking a muscle depletes the nutrients within it, and prevents recuperation. Doing exercise after exercise is a waste of time and energy. Why? Because before you have had time to recuperate from one chest workout, you do another and the cycle of muscle growth is undone. This creates plateaus and frustration.
"Choose wisely, my son"
You don't have to do every form of chest exercise you know every time you work out. Believe it or not, three different exercises per work out are all you really need.
Dumbbell (DB) bench press is not so significantly different form barbell (BB) bench press that you need to do both. Choose one, and do it to completion. Repeating similar work only wears out a muscle. There is a difference between wearing it out, and working it out.
Incline DB press is little different from incline BB press, or machine incline press. They all work, but you should do one properly. Make sure you dig into the boney clavicles of your upper chest. Make sure you squeeze tight your pecs as you do your reps. Don't cheat by using your arms, shoulders and back to pump the weight.
DB flys are little different from cable flys, or pec-deck flys. All three do the same thing. What good is doing all three if you don't do one right?
Get over the anxiety that you need "more". In the time you have in the gym (one hour or less) dedicate yourself to one thing: making your chest burn. Stay focused on that. If your chest isn't burning sore after the second set….DO IT AGAIN UNTIL IT DOES! Reduce your weights if you have to. Experiment until you do feel just your chest in action.
Remember, you are not power lifting, you are muscle building. Less weight is not a sign of physical or moral weakness. The road less traveled is often the more rewarding. Judge the quality of your workout by how your muscles burn, and not by whether you got the math (sets and reps) right. The outcome of your chest workout is between you and your t-shirt.