A strong chest looks good, promotes burns calories and improves your athletic performance in sports such as tennis and baseball.
If you want to be able to target your inner chest then you need to understand a few principles first when it comes to chest workouts. You see, there is actually no such thing, anatomically, as an “inner chest”. Your pecs are just one big muscle called the pectoralis major. Lying underneath your pectoralis major is your pectoralis minor- not your upper chest.
Building the “Inner Chest” area
The first thing you need to understand is that if you're trying to target your inner chest muscles, you need to repeat this mantra "stimulate, don't annihilate." Bodybuilding is all about working and targeting the muscle through different resistance training exercises. It is not power lifting where you have to lift the heaviest weight possible and you don't care how it happens. You need to stimulate the muscle and therefore need to focus extensively throughout the set.
For example, when most people hop on the bench press, they load up the bar and start pressing without even thinking. This is okay, but if you're trying to stimulate your pecs, then this is not the best option for you. For the majority of the movement, your triceps and shoulders will come into play to move the weight and not your chest. And if you're trying to stimulate your inner chest, then forget about it.
An easy way to hit the inner part of your chest is by focusing on squeezing the bar inwards with your hands on the bottom part of the movement and the pressing part of the exercise. What you are doing is actually taking the triceps out of the movement the most possible and placing a lot more stress on your pecs. This is perfect since we are stimulating the correct muscle during the entire concentric and eccentric portion of the lift.
Now instead of the conventional bench press being your main movement, use the Smith Machine especially if all you care about is hitting your pecs. The Smith Machine will allow you to set up at the necessary angle to perfectly target your inner chest and allow you to really focus on squeezing the living day lights out of the muscle throughout the whole movement.
Another neat little trick you can employ is to pre exhaust your inner chest before your main workout with machine fly's. This will allow you to get a deep contraction and stretch throughout the entire movement. Do 3 sets of 12 reps before your first main exercise squeezing at the top for a peak contraction on each repetition. By doing this and fatiguing your chest, you greatly enhance its recruitment in every other exercise that you do.
One last trick that you can do is taking a close grip on every type of barbell pressing exercise. By taking a close grip and holding the peak contraction at the top, you recruit the inner chest muscle fibres a lot more as compared to taking a medium or wide grip.
Inner Chest Workout
So for a perfect inner chest workout, you can warm up by doing 3 sets of 12 reps on the machine fly's squeezing at the top for a peak contraction. From there, you can move on to a steep incline Smith Machine press where the bar comes down to your neck. This allows a deep contraction and extreme range of motion and stretch. The better range of motion and stretch at the bottom, the more muscle fibres you will recruit. Don't forget at the top of the movement to squeeze your chest inwards as well as the bar with your hands.
Go for 4 sets of 10 repetitions.
Neutral Grip Flat Dumbbell Presses
The neutral grip here takes the strain off of your shoulders and shearing force. Also at the top of the movement, it's a lot easier to squeeze your pecs together almost like a dumbbell fly but with just heavier weights.
Shoot for 3-4 sets of 8 repetitions.
Wide Grip Pushup
Wide grip pushup is great for targeting the inner chest.
Get in to pushup position and move your arms out so they are wider than shoulder width apart.
Lower your body down slowly bringing your chest down towards the floor.
Pushup back to your starting position.
To increase the range of motion and the difficulty you can use a pushup bar.
Start by doing 3-4 Sets 15-20 Repetitions
Dumbbell flys can help shape your chest, and by emphasizing the contraction at the top of the exercise, you can effectively target your inner chest. To optimize your results and to minimize your chance of injuries, learn proper form.
To perform this exercise, straddle a flat bench with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet on the floor. If needed, adjust the height of the bench so your feet touch the floor or place a step bench under your feet. Rest the weights vertically on your upper thighs so your palms face each other. Check that your hands are on the centre of the dumbbell handle. They should mirror each other, because uneven hands can result in an unbalanced chest development.
Roll your upper body slowly back onto the bench. If necessary given challenging dumbbell weights, raise one thigh at a time to help you lift the dumbbells above your chest. Extend your arms, keep your elbows slightly bent and hold the weights shoulder-width apart with your palms facing each other. Return your feet to the floor and tighten your abdominals to stabilize your body and to come into your starting position.
Lower your arms slowly outward in an arc-like motion until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and you feel a stretch in your chest. Avoid bending your wrists -- keep them straight the entire time.
Complete two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Incline Machine Cable Flys
So for this you are going to set up an incline bench in the middle of the cable machine station with the handles attached to the pulleys and positioned at the bottom. From there, grab each handle and lay back into the inclined bench. Keeping your elbows half bent the entire time, perform a basic fly movement and make believe you are hugging a big tree. At the top, straighten out your elbows and squeeze the living day lights out of your inner chest. Return to the starting position as low as you can comfortably go and repeat.
Shoot for 3 sets of 12 reps.
All in all, these are great inner chest exercises if this is something that is lagging in your physique and you need to bring it up. Utilize the tips and tricks in this article and in no time, your inner chest will start to get stronger.
Hi I’m James and I’m a self confessed fitness fanatic. When I’m not personal training I enjoy multi discipline endurance events, mma and hitting the gym. I also love to write about my passion and I’m a firm believer in healthy body healthy mind.