You know that line between your pec muscles? Would you have thought that part of your chest could be shaped through proper workout? A lot men yearn for a narrower and more distinct "chest line". It doesn't only give them a more defined and perfectly-sculpted chest that they desire but it also boosts their male ego.
This chest line is commonly referred to as inner pecs or inner chest, but just to make things clear, this part is not a muscle. We have the pecs which consists of the upper and lower parts but there is technically no such thing as inner and outer pecs. That gap between the left and right pec muscles is the sternum - the necktie-shaped bone between the chest that supports our rib cage and stabilizes our thoracic skeleton.
Since hundreds and thousands of men are buckling down and going ballistic over "the dream chest", we're handing out 5 of the most effective ways on how to work inner chest - and fast. But before delving into that in detail, let us first explore a little bit more about the inner chest.
Why is The Gap Between My Pecs Wider Than Others?
A lot of people ask this question; especially those who work their pecs and still find the chest line too outspread. Well, there are a few reasons why our inner chest gap is broad. The main reasons are (1) lack of mass, (2) genetics and (3) muscle tearing.
When you have no enough muscle mass yet, the inner chest can still be invisible. It's just like the boob cleavage in women, the flatter the twins, the lesser the cleavage you see. So if you have already started working out your pecs and they have already grown, chances are they're still small for your frame. The bigger and fuller your pecs get, the smaller and less noticeable the gap will be. Hence, a more defined inner chest. The good news is, there are efficient ways to fill this up. Common chest workout routine includes incline, flat and decline bench presses.
Another reason is probably out of tough luck: genetics. Some people are born with naturally wide sternum. And let's face it, anatomy is tricky to completely alter. If your sternum is genetically wide, meaning your pec muscles are immanently lodged wide apart and your connective muscular tissue just stops at a certain point. You can't really fill in whatever is not there to fill with. Thankfully, though, some experts say that certain workout techniques can still help minimize that gap's visibility.
Between Upper Chest and Lower Chest Workouts, Which Exercise is More Beneficial for the Inner Chest?
For optimum muscular symmetry and proportion, working out both upper and lower parts of the chest is vital. I mean, would you want a big lower chest but a small upper chest? Some claims it looks saggy and weirdly uneven. How about great upper pecs and poorly developed lower pecs? Nuh-uh. I don't think so. Balance is the key. But for a more noticeable impact on your inner chest, the most beneficial workout would be those targetting your lower chest.
The lower chest encompasses the sternocostal head of the pectoralis major – the largest part of the muscle, which covers much of the bulk of the chest. It crops up from the humerus (upper arm) and attaches to the sternum where your "inner chest" is. So if you work out your lower pecs correctly, it means you're bulking it up and in due course defining your inner chest.
The best exercises for the lower chest that builds chest mass and "works out" the inner chest includes:
- Flat bench press
- Flat dumbbell press
- Flat dumbbell fly
- Mid-height cables
- Decline bench press
- Decline flys
- High cables
This doesn't mean you don't have to work your upper pecs. The upper pecs involves the clavicular part of the pectoralis major, arising from the upper arm to the clavicle or collarbone. Although not directly targeting muscles very near the sternum, shaping it up gives you not just the strong shoulders you covet but also an "armor plated" look that's just compellingly attractive. This in turn will give more oomph to your inner chest.
How do I Work My Inner Chest?
We have already established that isolating your inner chest is impossible. Building the pecs and bulking up especially the lower chest, however, help give you a well-defined inner chest.
Technique 1: The Close-Grip Flat Bench
You might wonder why this exercise is included when this is universally known to work the triceps. And you're right it does work the triceps. But with great concentration on slowlifting and really squeezing your pecs, you'll be surprised how this is building up your inner chest.
- Grip the bar a little less wide than your shoulders when you do the flat bench press. The longer away from your shoulder's width, the more impact on your inner pecs. But just go with whatever works for you and make sure it's not too narrowly gripped that it becomes too uncomfortable and unsafe.
- Concentrate on your pecs, squeezing it intensely as you bench.
- Use less weight than you normally do when benching. For starters, use a weight that you can get only 6-10 reps on 3 sets. For more definition, reduce weight and do 12-15 reps on 5 sets. Choose a weight bench that fits you well.
Technique 2: The Incline Dumbbell Fly
Incline dumbbell flys extremely work well on your pecs. This exercise hits hard on your upper pectoral region and builds the rounded tops of your pecs, making it look more massive and in due course makes your inner chest more noticeable.
- Set an incline bench to a 30-degree angle. You can go a little lower than this but not higher.
- Hold a dumbbell on each hand and lie on the bench. Then as you exhale, bring your hands together, palms facing each other. Check the list of the best dumbbell sets here.
- As you inhale, slowly spread your arms lower, your palms facing the ceiling.
- Repeat the process, performing 7-10 reps on 3 sets. Change repetitions as necessary.
Technique 3: Pec Deck Fly
This exercise works on the entire pectorals. The inner chest is optimally targeted when the arms are brought together so it is vital to isometrically contract your pecs during this process.
- Check the machine and adjust the seat so that when you grasp the handles, your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Place your feet flat on the floor with knees on shoulder-width or wider and press your back firmly on the back pad
- Grasp the handles with your forearms pressing against the pads.
- Squeeze your arms together while exhaling through the movement. Make sure to squeeze your muscles.
- Slowly go back to the starting position.
Technique 4: The Standing Crossover Cable Fly
Standing crossover flys with cable put substantial focus on the inner pecs. Like other exercises, you should focus on your chest muscles and isometrically contract them as you execute the technique.
- Attach the single-grip cable in a high position then grab the attachments and stand with legs about shoulder-width apart. You can stand with one leg in front or with both legs beside each other.
- Carefully bring your arms downward together, your torso slightly leaning forward. Then as you do this, squeeze your arms together until they cross one another. Exhale during this process.
- Reverse the motion and move your arms back to the side. Inhale during this process.
- Repeat for as many repititions as desired.
- Always use weight amounts that you are comfortable with and not too much that could cause any injury. Remember, "More doesn't necessarily mean better."
Technique 5: The Dumbbell Incline Press
This technique doesn't only work your upper pecs but because of the inclined angle, it also places tension on the inner part of the chest.
- Lie on a bench set at a 45-degree incline and hold a dumbbell on each hand.
- Hold the dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight, your palms turned toward your feet and back of your hands toward you.
- With the normal dumbbell incline press, you lower the dumbbells to chest level, your upper arms parallel to the floor. But because we're trying to make more impact on the inner chest, try lowering your arms slightly higher than chest level to keep the tension on and not overstretch your shoulder.
- For starters, do 7-10 reps on 3 sets.
Technique 6: The Cross-Hand Pushup
This pushup variation is great for that ripped chest. What's even greater is that it only involves you and a resistance band, which means you, can do this anywhere!
- Anchor the band to something sturdy, just a little bit higher above the ground.
- Put your right hand around the band and go to a pushup position.
- Do the normal pushup but as you come up, release the hand with the band on it and cross it over the other hand. When you do the crossover, make sure to lay it flat on the floor to provide an incredibly strong contraction across the chest.
- After thr crossover, go back to the starting position and repeat the process.
- Start with 3 sets of 10 reps (each hand). Or you can do as many pushups as you can so long as you don't use up all your energy for other exercises.
Wrapping It Up
You've probably encountered dozens of articles giving you exercises to isolate the "inner chest" but now that you know it's hogwash and you're already enlightened with a bit of pecs anatomy, you understand that your inner pecs just fills in over time and a well-balanced chest workout is your way to a sexy demarcated chest.
You can follow all of these techniques for a splendid result and a massive, sculpted chest or you can cherry-pick whichever are available and working for you. But remember that it's always safe to personally consult an expert fitness trainer so that he/she can tailor fit the exercises that will best suit your body type and achieve the look that you're aiming for.