I've been lifting for several years now, I can see good progress in most of the muscle groups i've worked on, except one - chest, it just would not grow, regardless of the amount of work I contribute to it.

Is it fair to say that due to physiological or other reasons people are more likely to develop certain muscle groups, and not the others - or am I just not trying hard enough.

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    This is really hard to answer, as it can be very personal. However, your chances of getting a good answer increase exponentially if you detail your workout and eating routines. – JohnP Feb 21 '16 at 2:19

This is just a comment but a rather long one so I can't put it in the comments.

There is certainly not enough information in your question to answer the question. Your question doesn't even quantify what it means for a muscle group to grow. Are you defining this by mass or by strength?

Lifting is not only personal and factors in sleep, eating habits, weight, intensity, routine and so on but it is also a factor of the other habits of your life that are a bit impossible to quantify.

If you are just looking at mass you really have to look at body builders. You gain much more mass when you are loading weight. That is why body builders go on this roller coaster ride sometimes a few times a year. They don't do this because it is counter productive.

Then you have to look at your overall body structure. Let's be honest, the bench (and chest muscles) are a shorter man's game. That is why you have a ton of superhuman 300 pound 6'7" behemoths in the NFL that bench 225 just 20-25 times. Their arm length is a hindrance. The tricep failing will disable their chest muscles from growing.

But to them... Who cares? It isn't functional for them to bench 600 pounds. They need endurance and speed and flexibility.

Let me use my personal experience as an example. I worked out my chest once a week. Really hard but just once a week. At my heaviest weight I was squatting/deadlifting well over 600, cleaning over 320, skull crushing over 150 for sets... My bench never went over 325ish. I could rep 225 20-22 times but could never bench real weight.

Why? Because I touched my chest once a week. Every other muscle probably got some kind of work 3 times a week but the chest? It doesn't get used. Double down on that I was playing basketball for 4-6 hours a week at college practice level and running another 10 miles a week - it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why my bench was never great. Now my chest muscles are in line with my body structure but the weight was never there.

So if you want your chest to get big:

  • gain weight for at least 8-12 months

  • double up on your chest workouts

  • limit where you are spending other energy

  • (and remember your chest grows with your trunk so do stop working out the legs)


Following up on JohnP's comment...

Aside from the obvious, proper rest, nutrition, genetics, etc. I'll offer one other possible, although speculative, reason. Most people who train have one or more body parts that don't seem to grow, or, need more work. Only those who are gifted genetically can just look at weights and grow. Assuming a “natural training” framework, the rest of us need to put in lots of time, effort, proper rest, and sound nutrition to eek out any possible gains. One common mistake often made in “hard gainer” situations is over-training a body part. The desire to make gains for a specific body part tends to force some people to seek more sets, reps, etc. for the expected gains. It's the old, "more is better" approach. In my opinion (and experience), a better approach is to briefly back off training a stubborn body part. In a sense, “reboot” training that body part by taking some time off, and, going back to basics once training resumes.

So, to answer your question, it may not be that you're “just not training hard enough”. But, rather, you're training too hard for your chest to recover and make gains.

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