The Ultimate Guide to Building the Best Inner Chest Workout
The pectorals, often referred to as chest muscles, play a huge part in the lateral, vertical, and rotational movement of the arms. They pull on the humerus to create these motions. In that sense, you’re using these chest muscles in almost every workout you do.
However, you need exercises that target them specifically if you want to get a developed chest. You need a good inner chest workout.
In this guide, we’ll teach you what muscles to target, what movements to perform, and what workouts are the best for your inner chest muscles.
Anatomy of the Chest
Let’s have a small anatomy lesson so you can get a better idea of what muscles to target. There’s no sense in working out when you don’t know how they work, right?
First, we have the major pectoral muscles, which you might already be familiar with. They also go by pecs or chest muscles. This pair of muscles is the only muscle group you’ll target on your inner chest.
These are a pair of big muscles attached to the sternum, stretching from the collarbone. They lie under the breast, making up a good chunk of the chest. They’re also called the pectoralis major.
On either side, there is the pectoralis minor, which is a thin triangular muscle. It doesn’t reach the sternum, running from the shoulder blade to the rib cage. You wouldn’t be targeting these muscles much through your inner chest workout, though.
You’ll also have to pay attention to the spaces where the pec majors attach to the sternum. These vertical columns become striations, which will only show if you have a defined body.
Note that any inner chest workout doesn’t specifically target these muscles because of the way they’re attached to the rib cage. You have to train the entire chest, although some exercises put more emphasis on the inner pecs.
Importance of Training Your Chest Muscles
Aside from the obvious benefit in looks, there’s considerable improvement in your strength, too. Training the pectoral muscles will help you lift or push heavier weights.
Developed chest muscles give more support to your arms and shoulders. As a result, you can do the motions we described above more easily. This also helps you prevent injuries as these muscles will often take the brunt of any damage inflicted on your arms.
Strong pecs also help you with lower body exercises, like front squats. As you gain more strength, you can hold heavier weights in front of your body. You can do more reps, especially if the limiting factor is your upper body strength.
Another benefit is an improvement in posture as strong pecs help your body stay upright. As such, stretching those pecs should also be a part of your workout.
Your pectoralis majors are responsible for four anatomical motions. All these involve the movement of the humerus – a long bone spanning the upper arm, from the elbow to the shoulder.
The first is shoulder flexion, which is a name for lifting your arms in front of you. Then, there’s internal shoulder rotation, where you face your elbows forward and rotate your arm toward the midline.
Shoulder adduction refers to lowering your arm down. Horizontal adduction is the arm motion when you move the arm from your sides in the T position to the front of you.
The two most common exercises involving these motions are presses and flyes. We’ll learn more about those below.
Pressing exercises usually involve dumbbells or barbells. They’re considered primary movements and many focus on these as they allow you to activate many muscles at once, especially the chest muscles you’re targetting with this exercise regime. Here are some of the best presses you can try:
Bench presses engage the anterior deltoids, triceps, and other stabilizing muscles along with your major pectoral muscles. These exercises adduct the shoulders horizontally using weights.
The most basic variation is lying down on the bench and pushing the weights upwards. To keep things exciting (and to target other muscles), you can try other variations.
The reverse grip bench press, for example, uses a supinated grip. This emphasizes anterior deltoids more. A decline bench press, on the other hand, activates the lower portion of the pectoralis major.
Plate Squeeze Press
This one you can do standing up, kneeling, or lying down on a bench. It’s easy to do at home for this reason and because you only need at least one weight plate. You can do two to three plates at the beginning, though, to ensure your safety while exercising.
Grab a 10- to a 45-pound plate and place it between the palms of your hands. This will put your hands in a praying position except with something heavy between.
Press the plate/s together as hard as you can, retract your shoulder blades, and engage your abs. Then, extend your hands forward while continuing to press. Bring back your hands to the starting position to complete one rep.
Note that this can be dangerous if you have sweaty palms. You might want to hook your fingers into the hole to prevent the plate from slipping away.
This is one inner chest workout that you can scale into the future. However, the more intense variations will need something heavier, like a good-sized tire. The plate squeeze press is a great way to train your upper arms and all the muscle groups needed to perform tire flips.
Hammer Squeeze Press
This exercise adds focus on horizontal adduction by using a light medicine ball. By squeezing the ball between your hands, you activate the inner pecs.
To do this, you need:
- A bench at a 15- to 45-degree incline
- A pair of moderate weight dumbbells
- Light medicine ball
Note that you don’t need a weighty ball for this exercise. The only purpose this serves is for you to have something to squeeze, so a light one will do.
Start this exercise by having your arms extended upward, palms facing each other. Then, squeeze the ball by contracting your inner pecs.
Maintain the squeeze as you bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells. Stop when the ball touches your chest, and then extend your arms upward to the original position. Make sure to keep squeezing the ball throughout your movements.
Don’t have a ball? Try the squeeze press exercise instead. It’s like your usual dumbbell bench press but with a small twist.
You have to keep the dumbbells in contact with each other at all times. This is why it’s sometimes called the hex press – because it’s easier to do with hex dumbbells.
Like with a ball, you should squeeze the dumbbells together as hard as you can. Maintain this throughout every movement of every rep.
Flyes are a basic exercise wherein both hands and arms move at an arc while the elbows stay at a constant angle. You’ll be targeting the same muscles as equivalent press exercises. At the same time, you can move less weight.
You perform flyes using any handheld weight, like dumbbells or a cable machine. Depending on the variation, you can perform them sitting, standing, or supine.
These exercises can be the most effective in targeting your pectoral muscles. Lifts involving horizontal adduction, in particular, are the optimal exercises for hitting the inner pecs. Yet, people seem to ignore these most of the time.
Be careful when doing fly exercises, though. It’s common to get injuries from doing these exercises improperly.
You might already be familiar with this one as it’s the most basic fly exercise. You need a bench and a pair of dumbbells you can do at least 12 reps with.
First, lie flat on the bench holding a pair of dumbbells. Extend your arms upward, keeping the dumbbells at shoulder-width apart. Make sure they don’t touch each other.
Then, slowly lower the dumbbells to the sides of your body in alignment with your chest. Keep your arms extended as much as possible while lowering the dumbbells. Then, go back to the starting position.
Single Arm Chest Fly
The single-arm chest fly uses cables or resistance. These exercises increase muscular endurance, hypertrophy, and more like regular fly exercises. However, they’re without the stress on shoulder joints caused by dumbbells.
As the name suggests, you do this exercise one side at a time. You start by moving the pulleys to a high position and holding the resistance in one hand.
Extend your arm while having a slight bend on your elbow. Slowly, pull your hand toward the midline of your chest. Hold that position for a second before going back to the starting position to complete one rep.
Low Cable Fly
The low cable fly can be a great warm-up exercise for your pectoral muscles. But, you can also put it at the end of your inner chest workout to burn out your pecs.
To start, select a not-so-heavy weight for the cables. Then, grab the handles with your palms facing forward with your chest out and shoulders back.
Keep your elbows pulled into your sides as you pull the handles upward and forward. Stop when your elbows reach the level of your chest. Then, bring your arms back down to finish a rep.
This is the most basic fly exercise you can do with cable equipment. You can do other variations for bigger gains on your pecs, though.
Put Variety Into Your Inner Chest Workout
One thing to remember about building the best inner chest workout is that you need variety. Activating the same muscles in the same ways every time isn’t as effective as adding some variations to round up your chest workouts.
To get your desired body, every exercise must be well-thought-out. You should also pay attention to your diet and the supplements you take. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.