“I know this one exercise that will give you some awesome definition going down the inner part of the chest.”
The skinny guy was in awe of his guru’s insight as he described a cable flye as the perfect exercise.
“Yeah, man, if you do this exercise instead of bench presses believe me you’ll have some dope looking cuts.”
And so there I was listening to another poor soul looking for the wrong piece of advice from the wrong person.
Pick up a bodybuilding magazine and once in a while you will find a list of the 3 best exercises or the ONE exercise you need to develop the inside part of the pecs. You can go on online forums with guys asking which exercises work.
Typical Exercises That Are “Wrongfully” Recommended
If you have asked any guy at the gym which exercises work best for the inner pecs chances are they’ve listed the following:
- Cable Flyes
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes
- Close Grip Bench Presses
- Close Grip Push Ups
These are the typical exercises you will have someone throw out and list as the Holy Grail if you want to develop a full looking chest. Unfortunately these same exercises are often recommended in magazines, sometimes giving you a full chest routine with 3 or 4 of these exercises and nothing else.
In fact, I can pretty much guess that the same skinny guy who got some advice from the “guru” probably tried another variation or two of the flyes.
For a hard gainer like this guy he was being set up to fail and he didn’t even know it.
Where Are The Inner Chest Muscles?
I won’t get too technical on you here but the chest muscle consists of
- Pectoralis Major
- Pectoralis Minor
The fibers/ muscle tissue runs horizontally along your chest. The “inner” part is simply the muscle fibers of the chest that attach at the sternum or the bone that runs down your chest.
That’s it. The chest is divided in two sections and there is no inner portion or outer portion that is separate.
So any time that someone tells you there are SPECIFIC exercises that either work the inside or outside part of your pecs just take it with a grain of salt.
How Do I Get Rid Of The Gap Between My Pecs?
The main reason I see guys looking for exercises that will develop the inside of the pecs is often because they feel the gap between the pecs is TOO WIDE and the two pecs don’t meet.
Sorry to break it to anyone with this problem but this is not something an exercise or two can fix. This is simply caused by GENETICS. Some guys have perfectly round pecs. Some have pecs that don’t meet. The gap is wide. For others the gap is narrow.
There is really is nothing you can do to change the shape of your pecs. Whatever you were born with or was passed genetically is what determines how your pecs are shaped.
How you train them and how well you train them will only help you put on mass and size.
Train Your Inner Muscles By Stimulating Your Entire Chest
The best way to train your inner chest is by using exercises that will stimulate the most muscle fibers in your pecs. Maximize the stimulation and you will trigger growth all around.
In order to trigger the most muscle fibers work with compound movements. The bread and butter of chest exercises like:
- Bench Presses
- Dumbbell Chest Press
- Incline Bench Press (Barbell and Dumbbell Variations)
- Decline Bench Press (Barbell and Dumbbell Variations)
- Push Ups
- Suspended Push Ups
If you include these exercises properly you will get the most bang for your buck in a chest workout.
Did you notice one thing?
It probably stands out like a sore thumb but…
I did not include any cable flyes or dumbbell flyes. Why?
One reason. Single joint movements do not stimulate the most muscle fibers.
You want a better looking and fuller chest, right?
Then use exercises that are compound type movements.
The Exercise That Will Stimulate The Most Chest Fibers
If I were to ask you which exercise is the best for your chest you would guess that it is either a bench press or a dumbbell chest press. These are not bad at all. As I mentioned above, they are excellent for overall chest development.
However, the best exercise that will hit the most muscle fibers throughout the chest is the decline chest press. Whether you use the barbell or dumbbell version of this exercise is up to you.
This exercise will hit the upper chest, lower chest and every fiber throughout.
The crazy thing is you won’t see many guys use this one exercise.
Chances are they will do a bench press, maybe an incline press and some flyes. Two out of these three are not bad at all. However, throw in a decline chest press and either a bench press or incline press and you will have better results in the long run.
I remember years ago not doing decline presses because a bodybuilder said that using this exercise will create “bottom heavy pecs.”
When I first heard this it seemed to make sense. You use a decline press, the muscles start to develop and pretty soon gravity starts to make your pecs hang lower than they should. Well, this was nonsense.
See, a bodybuilder has a different physique altogether from an average guy. Bodybuilders easily gain large amounts of muscle with much less effort than someone who is not a bodybuilder. Unfortunately, this excess amount of muscle is created by “juicing.”
A decline chest press will not create “bottom heavy pecs” if you are staying away from steroids. This exercise will hit target more muscle fibers, including the inner part of your chest than any other chest exercise.
Cable Flyes and Dumbbell Flyes- Should You Do Them
At this point you may be thinking that I will knock down cable flyes as useless. I won’t say that. Cable flyes and dumbbell flyes are decent exercises. They are not the best. They definitely won’t give you amazing pec development. They are just another exercise you can include in your chest arsenal. Just don’t rely on them or build your workouts around them.
As I have mentioned here what you need to focus on are exercises that are compound type movements. A flye is an isolation exercise. It is not a compound movement at all.
If you choose to include them just throw them at the end of a workout. A couple of sets, yes that’s 2 sets, will be enough.
A better alternative would be to replace flyes with suspended pushups. By switching to a push up using a gymnastics type movement you will get even better results.
Maximize Your Inner Chest Development With An Easy Workout
Here is a sample workout that will trigger growth throughout the chest.
- Decline Bench Press 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Incline Bench Press 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Flat Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 6-8 reps
If you want to add flyes use the following sequence:
- Decline Bench Press 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Incline Bench Press 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Cable Flyes 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Rest time between sets will be 1 minute.
Feel free to switch from barbells to dumbbells or from dumbbells to barbells.
You can switch it up this way by having variety in your workouts.
All it takes to create better chest development is by doing a couple of exercises and nothing more. I know so many times we are told to do 4 or 5 exercises for the chest but if you stay on this path you will get closer to overtraining.
Bodyweight Alternatives For Chest Workouts
You can also get a complete chest workout that targets your pecs. Weights alone are not the only route to having an awesome upper body.
Here is a sample bodyweight version:
- Suspended Push Ups: 3 sets of 10
- Decline Push Ups: 3 sets of 10
- Dips or Weighted Dips (weighted dips are optional): 3 sets of 10
Rest 1 minute between sets
Come up explosively with each repetition
You can do regular pushups, explosive pushups or clapping pushups in place of suspended pushups.
You can also follow the workouts and tips outlined in a previous post I wrote title: “Push Ups Routine for Mass.”
Other Ways To Increase Your Inner Pec Development
You can also hit the pecs indirectly on days when you are not working on the chest.
For example, on days you are working on your triceps you can include the following:
- Triangle Push Ups
- Close Grip Bench Press
Do not throw all 3 exercises on the same day. Choosing 1 or 2 of these exercises for 3 sets of 8 to 10 will work just fine.
Again, these are not going to hit your pecs directly. They won’t even hit your “inner pecs.” The 3 exercises mentioned will primarily target the triceps and will give your chest some work to a lesser extent.
Remember, when we talk about the chest muscles all you need to remember is the following:
- There chest consists of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor
- Genetics determines how your chest muscles are shaped
- There is no way to work on and target the “inner chest muscles” alone
- In order to develop your inner chest you have to develop the entire chest
- The best way to develop your pecs is by focusing on compound exercises like those mentioned in this post
If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop me line below.
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