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Inner Chest Workout to Build a Well Sculpted Chest

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Siti Amirah
November 23, 2022 July 9, 2024
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Attaining a muscular physique and being able to have your chest look good while wearing a shirt is often a lot more tricky than it seems. It takes more than the standard bench press to achieve a well-defined chest.

Below in this article, we will share some of the best inner chest exercises and a sample chest workout routine to help you build that sculpted look.

Common Mistakes in Chest Training

A mistake that people commonly make when it comes to training the chest is placing an overemphasis on doing bench presses. The misconception is that you only need to target the larger muscles to increase muscle growth but really if you want to build a well-sculpted chest, you need to focus on building the smaller muscles as well.

The Chest Muscles

chest muscles
inner chest workout

The chest is made up of a muscle group of two major muscles called the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The pec major is the dominant muscle in the chest and appears as a large fan-shaped muscle. It extends from the armpit to the collarbone on both sides of the chest, connected by the sternum or the breastbone [1].

Beneath the pec major, is the pec minor. The pec minor is a thin, triangle-shaped muscle that connects to the upper ribs. The inner chest refers to the center of the entire chest muscles.

Benefits of Training the Inner Chest Muscles

inner chest workout benefits

Training the inner chest muscles can offer a range of benefits that contribute to a well-rounded and sculpted chest. Some of the key advantages include better muscle definition, muscle growth, and of course, an increase in overall strength.

Ultimately, your goal should be all about getting stronger.

7 Chest Exercises to Build the Inner Chest

chest exercises
inner chest workout

Below are some of the best inner chest exercises that you can dive into, which are meant to specifically target and amplify the volume of the inner pecs. These exercises will help to ensure better growth and definition of the muscles.

1. Dumbbell Fly

dumbbell fly
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: A set of dumbbells, a flat bench

Muscles targeted: Chest, deltoids (shoulders), triceps

How to do it:

  1. To start, lie your back flat on a flat bench. Place your feet firmly on the ground, on either side of the bench. Ensure that your head and your back is firmly pressed onto the bench at the start and throughout the exercise.
  2. Grab both of the dumbbells that you have placed on the ground, holding one in each hand.
  3. Place the both dumbbells close to your chest. Once you are in this position, push both dumbbells up until they are above your head.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbells laterally and ensure that your shoulder blades are slightly retracted and your elbows are not locked.
  5. Once the dumbbells reach chest level, reverse the movement by squeezing the chest muscles, and bringing it back to the starting position.
  6. As you are about to start the next repetition, ensure that the dumbbells are not touching each other and continue until the set finishes.

This movement pattern is particularly useful in building the chest muscles as it involves isolating the muscles.

2. Hex Press

hex press
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: A set of dumbbells, a flat bench

Muscles targeted: Upper chest (Pectorals, upper pecs), shoulders (deltoids), triceps

How to do it:

  1. Start by lying your back flat against a flat bench. Place your feet firmly on the ground and ensure that your head and back are pressed firmly against the bench.
  2. Grab the set of dumbbells off the ground, holding one in each hand. Ensure that the dumbbells are close to each other, just above your chest.
  3. Arch your back and push your chest upwards. The weights should be close to your chest but not resting on it.
  4. Squeeze the dumbbells together and press them straight above your chest below lowering it back down to the starting position.
  5. Throughout this exercise, you want to ensure that you are keeping constant tension between the dumbbells. This will count as a repetition.

The Hex Press is an isolated strength training movement that works to target the inner chest. Compared to other strength training exercises, the hex press works the best in activating the inner pectoral muscles for optimal muscle activation.

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3. Single Arm Chest Fly

single arm chest fly
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: A set of dumbbells, a flat bench

Muscles targeted: Upper chest (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), upper back, abdominals

How to do it:

  1. Grab a single dumbbell off the floor and hold it with a neutral grip (with your palms facing in). Position the end of your dumbbell where your hip creases and sit on the bench.
  2. Lay back onto the bench, keeping the dumbbell close to your chest. In this position, press the dumbbell by extending your arm straight up.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell laterally and ensure that your elbow is at an angle.
  4. Once the dumbbell reaches the chest level, reverse the movement by bringing it back up to the starting position. Ensure that you are squeezing your pecs as you are in this motion.

As this is an isolation exercise, it will only focus on one side of the chest each time. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you are switching sides to work both sides of the whole chest.

4. Single Arm Cable Flys

single arm cable flys
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: A cable machine

Muscles targeted: Upper chest (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), upper back, abdominals

How to do it:

  1. Start by setting the cable at, or slightly above shoulder level.
  2. Once you have set the cable, grab the handle with your working arm and take a slight step forward.
  3. Hold onto a sturdy surface with your other arm or place your hand on your hips for balance.
  4. Once you have your starting position, pull onto the handle such that your working arm is now across your chest. Ensure that you are squeezing your pecs throughout this movement.
  5. When performing single-arm cable flys, always ensure that your working arm passes your midline for maximum results.

Single-arm cable flys are great, especially if you are looking for targeted muscle growth in the chest area. At the same time, it helps to address any muscle imbalances such as one side of the chest being weaker than the other, and re-balancing it. If you want to target the lower chest area, you could do the same by setting the cable at a lower height.

5. Push ups

push ups
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: None

Muscles targeted: Upper chest, arms, shoulders (deltoids), abdominals

How to do it:

  1. Start by getting into a high plank position. Position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and ensure a slight bend in your elbows. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Tighten your abs by visualizing that you are pulling your belly button towards your spine.
  3. Lower yourself to the ground by bending your elbows until it reaches a 90-degree angle.
  4. Exhale and contract your chest muscles, pushing yourself back up to the starting position.

Push-ups help to build both the upper body and core strength. It is a compound exercise that will help with performing movements (e.g. pushing an object) in your daily routine. Other push-up variations include pike push-ups and ring push-ups.

6. Plate Press

plate press
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: Weight plate

Muscles targeted: Chest, upper back (trapezius), deltoids (shoulders), arms, abdominals

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab a weight plate, and place it vertically at your chest level with your elbows bent.
  2. Engage your abs and squeeze your glutes as you extend your arms out, in front of your chest. Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Without flaring your elbows, bring the weight plate back to touch your torso. Repeat this until the set is completed.
  4. Ensure that you are breathing during each movement.

Plate press is one of the simplest and most effective workouts that target the chest muscles as well as the shoulders, triceps, and abdominals.

The plate press can also make you more functional when it comes to performing everyday tasks that require stability.

7. Close Grip Bench Press

close grip bench press
inner chest workout

Equipment needed: Barbells, a flat bench

Muscles targeted: Chest, shoulders, triceps

How to do it:

  1. Start by adjusting the barbell at the correct reach level on the rack.
  2. Load an appropriate amount of weight resistance, adjusting it according to your fitness and strength level. You want to start with an easier weight load as a warm-up. Tip: If you are unsure of how much you should be bench pressing, here’s a free bench press calculator to help you determine the appropriate weight and track your progress.
  3. Lie your back flat against the bench and grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  4. Proceed to lift the bar off the rack and ensure that your arms are locked. Position the bar straight above you.
  5. Keep your elbows close to your body as you slowly bring the barbell down to your chest.
  6. Maintain your elbows close to your body as you push the barbell back up. You should be engaging the triceps as you do so.
  7. Keep going until you are done with the set and place the barbell back onto the rack.

Incorporating the close grip bench press into your push or upper body workouts is an excellent choice to enhance both muscle size and strength.

You may also like:

5-Day Dumbbell Workout Plan For Muscle Growth

12 Week Dumbbell Workout Plan PDF

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Sample Inner Chest Workout Guide

Here’s a sample inner chest workout guide that targets the inner chest muscles. Before every workout, ensure that you are warmed up by doing some dynamic stretches. Feel free to adjust the weights according to your fitness level.

inner chest workout guide

Exercises

  • Cable Crossover: 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
  • Dumbbell Flys: 10-12 reps for 3 sets or As many reps as possible (AMRAP)
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press: 7-12 reps for 3-5 sets
  • Dumbbell Pullover: 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets
  • Push-ups: 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets

Safety Precautions

safety precautions
inner chest workout

As with all other workouts and exercises, safety is of utmost importance. You want to ensure that you are hitting the right muscles while being safe, to avoid any injuries. Some safety precautions to note:

Warm up before working out

Before beginning each workout, start by doing dynamic stretches. This is to warm the muscles up and prepare for the upcoming workout.

Ensure proper form

As most people would say, you want to strive for quality over quantity. One good rep is better than ten bad reps. Ensure that you are maintaining the right form during each exercise. Focus on slow and controlled movements. Poor form can lead to muscle strains or joint issues.

Get a spotter for heavy lifts

Always get a spotter to assist you if you plan on lifting heavier weights. This is crucial, especially for bench presses. The last thing that you want is for the barbell to be crushing your chest.

Breathing techniques

Be mindful of the way that you are breathing and strive to maintain a proper breathing rhythm. Exhale as you work the muscles during the exercise and inhale as you relax and go back to the starting position. Proper breathing helps to stabilize the core and enhances overall safety.

Besides all of these precautions, you are strongly advised to consult with a fitness professional or medical professional before deciding on a new workout routine. This is of extreme importance if you have any pre-existing medical conditions so that you are not putting yourself at risk.

Chest Training Tips

tips for chest training

For effective chest training and building, you want to ensure that you are focusing on proper techniques to promote chest hypertrophy. Here are the three most important tips that you should be taking note of and implementing into your routine.

Focus on building mind-muscle connection

Cultivating a strong mind-muscle connection is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of your chest workouts. The mind-muscle connection is about concentrating on muscle contraction and activation as you are working out.

Using the brain to bring attention to specific parts of the body has proven to help increase muscle activity. A 2017 study recorded a 9% increase in chest muscle activity when the brain is focusing on the chest during a push-up.

Implement a progressive overload

In order to grow the muscles, you would need to implement a progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the weights, frequency, or number of repetitions in a routine. Progressive overload encourages the muscles to adapt and grow stronger which results in enhanced chest development.

Rest and recover

As much as you are working towards an increased muscle mass and getting a bigger chest, you should never neglect rest and recovery periods. This is often the case for some people. Overtraining will not do the body any good. In fact, you need to rest, to allow the body to repair and grow muscle tissues.

Nutrition is Important

food and nutrition

Beyond just training, nutrition plays a significant role when it comes to muscle development. In order to support muscle repair and encourage muscle hypertrophy, it is essential to ensure that you are eating healthy and consuming an adequate amount of proteins.

Try to incorporate a diet that is rich in nutrients, including carbohydrates and healthy fats, so that you will be able to have the energy required for intense workouts. At the same time, this will contribute to an overall healthier well-being.

Summary

In summary, trying to obtain the ideal figure or build is never going to be easy. It requires hard work, patience, staying committed to a fitness regimen, and having optimum nutrition. Also, it’s worth remembering that you cannot “spot-train” a particular area of your body. If you are looking to sculpt an area, you still need to work on the full body.

At the end of the day, make sure that you are still taking good care of your health and body. Aesthetics are not everything!

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FAQs
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References  

Healthline (2018) Muscles [online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/chest-muscles#1

Calatayud, J., Vinstrup, J., Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Colado, J. C., and Andersen, L. L. (2017). Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement. European journal of applied physiology, 117(7), 1445–1452. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3637-6

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