We’ve all seen those people in the gym thinking “it’d be cool to have a canyon separating my pecs”. If you want to show off your chest, working on your inner chest is the best way to really show off your chest.
We have to admit, there aren’t any exercises that isolate the inner pecs and work on them, but there are certain exercises that put added pressure on your inner chest.
Picture hugging a large tree. That is basically the movement that you will need to really hit those inner pectoral muscles.
Anatomy of the Chest
Before we jump in and pick up those weights, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the chest.
The chest area holds the major pectoral muscles, which start from your collarbone and stretch all the way down your sternum. The upper chest is the part attached to the collarbone and lower chest is attached to the latter.
The way the muscle is attached to the rib cage, it is impossible to specifically target the inner chest, but there are certain exercises the entire chest but puts more emphasis on the inner pectoral.
Apart from the blatantly obvious fact that your body will look a lot better, a developed chest region offers more strength and supports the rest of the muscles in your upper body.
This means that a developed chest will support your arms and shoulders, making vertical, lateral and rotational movements much easier. Apart from the support, it improves your posture, strengthens the back and if you’re into rugby, you’re tackles are going to get a hell of a lot better.
7 Inner Chest Exercises
As mentioned before the chest muscles cannot be worked on isolation but if you are looking to work more on the inner chest the best way is to perform exercises that promote movement of your arms towards the midline of your chest.
Inner Chest Exercise #1 Hex Press
- Start on a dumbbell bench press position
- Keep dumbbells in contact with each other
- Extend your arms upwards and then bring back to starting position (Keep squeezing the dumbbells throughout the rep)
Inner Chest Exercise #2 Plate Press
- Choose a weight plate and lay on a flat bench while squeezing the plate with open palms
- Move the plate up and then down making sure you are perfectly aligned with the center of your chest
- Try and squeeze hard to keep your chest flexed. The key here is to slow movement with high reps.
Inner Chest Exercise #3 Single Arm Chest Fly
- Begin by moving the pulleys to the high position, select the resistance to be used, and take a handle in one hand.
- Extend your arm and make sure to have a slight bend on your elbow
- Pull your hand to the midline of your chest while keeping your upper body straight.
- Hold for a second and go back to starting position to complete one rep
*This is a unilateral exercise, this means it is performed one arm at a time.
Inner Chest Exercise #4 Cable Crossover
- Stand in between the cable cross machine, make sure your torso is slightly bent
- Select the resistance and pull the cable to the center of your chest.
- Move the arms outwards in an arc until you feel a stretch in the chest region. While moving the arms, ensure that there is a smooth motion without any unnecessary jerks.
- Hold for a moment and return to the initial position making sure you squeeze your pectorals towards the midline of your chest
Inner Chest Exercise #5 Narrow Pushup
- Start in pushup position with a narrow grip
- Contract chest together and lower your body
- Return to starting position with forceful contraction
Inner Chest Exercise #6 Dumbbell Flyes
- Lie flat on the bench with weights that you can perform 12 reps with
- Keep hands parallel to the ground and bring them together over your chest
- Try to contract your chest as much as possible at the peak and bring back down to start position
Inner Chest Exercise #7 Low Cable Fly
- Choose a weight and stand straight
- Face your palms upwards and pull the cable up to your chest
- Make sure to keep the ends of the handle as clse as possible throughout the rotation
- It works better if you contract your chest at the peak of the rotation to really hit those inner pecs
Quick Tips to Help You Out
All these exercises are designed in a way to emphasize the impact on your inner pectoral muscles. Here are some tips that could help you really hit those muscles and bring you better results.
Close Grip on the Barbell
Generally, a close grip on the barbell is performed to target your triceps, but this exercise is classified as a multijoint exercise that will work on your chest and shoulders, as well as your triceps.
Even though the range of motion that is covered from this movement covers a lot of ground and puts greater pressure on the triceps, the close-grip position is one of the best ways to focus the emphasis to your inner pecs.
We all know that a decline bench works on the lower chest and an incline bench works on your upper chest, but if you have an adjustable bench and a Smith machine handy, you can shift the emphasis on the in-between areas. All you need to do is set the bench to intermediate angles and you are good to go.
Emphasize Peak Contraction on Cable Flyes
The part of the chest that is emphasized depends on the arc movement when you are doing cable crosses or cable flyes. It’s fairly obvious that when your arms are far apart you focus on your outer pecs as opposed to when they are closer you are working on your inner pecs.
Studies show that peak contractions do a better job and developing your inner muscles, but it does depend on how you are performing the exercise.
It is advised that you hold and flex your chest at peak contraction, this will work incredibly well when performing cable crossovers and flyes, as well as on the pec deck machine.
If you are looking to target those pesky inner pecs, try using the “one and a half technique” where you do one full rep and one partial rep on cable cross or fly. Doing both these movements count as one rep.
Try adding these in your workout routine and you’ll have valleys in your chest in no time.
The inner chest can bring aesthetics and strength to your chest as well as support to your entire upper body.
The inner chest can be a stubborn area to build since it has bigger and stronger fibers that require a lot more work to grow. The chest also has a generally larger surface area which also factors into the difficulty of training them.
That being said, your chest is the most prominent part of your body and working hard on it is sure to be worth it in the long run.