Exercises to Target the Different Parts of the Chest

The side chest pose. Photo courtesy: Tom Terwilliger via Wikimedia Commons

The chest, or pectoralis major, is anatomically divided into an upper, middle and lower part, which known as the clavicular, sternocostal and abdominal head, respectively. However, the muscle is more commonly referred to as a two-parted muscle, upper and lower. The clavicular head makes up the upper part and the sternocostal and abdominal heads are collectively part of the lower chest. Regardless of how you want to divide the pectoralis major, its main function doesn't change.

Its job is to bring the humerus, or arms, across your chest. You can shift the workload to better work the upper or lower parts of the chest by utilizing different angles while performing exercises.

For each chest workout, choose three of the following exercises and do four sets eight to 12 repetitions per set. Take a two to two-and-a-half minute rest in between each set, to allow your muscles to get sufficient recovery before the next set. There is no need to rush if muscle-building is your goal. Allow your muscles to recover so you can continue to push heavy weights. Heavy enough for eight to 12 reps though. Don't go below that range.

Note that in addition to the pectoralis major, you will also be working other muscles, though in a secondary manner. Such as assisting muscles during these exercises include the deltoids and triceps.

Standing Incline Chest Press

The standing incline chest press is an exercise that works the upper chest muscles.

To perform the exercise, first set up the cable pulleys to the high position and attach the handles to the cable pulleys. Grasp the handles using an overhand grip with your hands and stand in the middle of the cable pulley machine. Lean your torso forward a bit, stick your chest out and bring your shoulders back a bit.

Position the handles by the sides of your upper chest. Press the handles upward at a 45 degree angle by extending your elbows and contracting your upper chest muscles. Then return the handles back down.

Flat Dumbbell Chest Press

To execute the flat dumbbell chest press, begin by holding a dumbbell with each hand in an overhand grip. Lie down with your back facing the bench and put your feet on the floor. Hold the dumbbells over your chest with your arms extended. Bend your elbows and move the dumbbells downward until the dumbbells are near the sides of your chest. Extend your elbows and move the dumbbells upward to the start.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

The decline dumbbell bench press is an exercise that works the lower chest. To perform the exercise, first grasp a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand grip, place your feet under the foot ankles and lay your back on the decline bench. Position the dumbbells over your lower chest. Lower the dumbbells down to your lower chest. Then press the dumbbells back up.

Flat Cable Fly

Flat cable flys are a movement for the lower chest muscles. To execute the movement, begin by putting a bench in front of the cable pulley machine. Adjust the bench to the flat position, adjust the cable pulleys to the low position and attach the handles to the cable pulleys.

Lay your back on the bench and hold the two handles with an overhand grip. Position the handles over your chest with your arms extended and keep a slight bend in your elbows. Turn your hands so your palms are facing each other. Bring the handles outward to the sides in an arc motion until your hands are at about chest level. Bring the handles upward to the start.

Stability Ball Incline Push-Up

Stability ball incline push-ups are a movement for the lower chest muscles. The movement also involves the core muscles. To execute the movement, begin by putting the stability ball on the ground and stand facing towards it. Place your hands on top of the ball at a distance a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your feet on the ground behind you with your legs extended. Lower your torso down by bending your elbows until your chest is close the stability ball.

Raise your torso upward to the start.

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Choueiri, Richard. "Exercises to Target the Different Parts of the Chest." ThoughtCo, Jun. 1, 2016, thoughtco.com/exercises-target-the-different-parts-of-chest-4040525. Choueiri, Richard. (2016, June 1). Exercises to Target the Different Parts of the Chest. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/exercises-target-the-different-parts-of-chest-4040525 Choueiri, Richard. "Exercises to Target the Different Parts of the Chest." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/exercises-target-the-different-parts-of-chest-4040525 (accessed November 19, 2017).