Your pecs aren’t as full as you’d like them to be? Don’t stress too much about it – these muscles are one of the slowest to grow, so it’s probably not your fault entirely. Developing a thick, round chest is especially hard for beginners, who unfortunately want great results ASAP and often forget that chest chiseling demands smart exercise choices and plenty of patience. Even then, you may find it difficult to make your inner pecs grow, even though your outer pecs are doing great. What gives?
Many people are convinced that you can effectively isolate your inner pecs by performing specific exercises, but this is nonsense. By taking a closer look at the anatomy of the pectoral muscle and the way in which its clavicular and sternocostal fibers run, you’ll understand that it’s impossible to specifically isolate your inner chest without also training the middle and outer fibers. Is this bad news?
Not at all! It only means that the best way to make your inner pecs grow is by providing enough growth stimulation for the whole chest in the shape of a well-balanced workout that targets the muscles from all three angles. That being said, even though you can’t really isolate your inner pec fibers, you can modify the way you train so that you can focus more intensely on this area and add thickness to your pecs right where they run up against your sternum.
Want to replace the deflated appearance of your chest with a fully mature 3D look?
Here’s what to do:
#1. Use a Closer Grip on Barbell Presses
The close-grip bench press is a more challenging variation of the standard bench press which powerfully targets the triceps brachii, so it’s mainly considered a great triceps move. But the closer grip also provides a major benefit for chest training, as it allows for a greater activation of the inner fibers of the sternal and clavicular portion of the pectoralis major.
Using a decline bench will maximally stimulate the lower part of the inner pecs, while an incline bench will make sure that the upper part of the inner pecs gets thoroughly worked. You can also set an adjustable bench on a Smith machine to some intermediate angles you’ve never used to shift the focus on in-between areas of your chest that are poorly targeted from typical angles.
Don’t rush into it, though, as proper form and technique are vital to making the gains you want. Once you’re completely comfortable with the standard-grip bench press, you can add a few sets of close-grip presses to your routine to provide greater stimulation for your inner pecs. Simply position your hands slightly closer than shoulder-width apart on the bar and focus on achieving optimal contraction.
#2. Emphasize the Peak Contraction on Cable Flies
Unlike single-joint dumbbell variations, cable crossovers and flies, including those performed on the peck deck machine, allow you to flex your pecs in the top contracted position on every set, thereby working the chest hardest in the full contracted position and calling for a greater involvement of the inner pec fibers. Hold the peak contracted position for 1-2 seconds at every rep and flex your muscles hard. Keep in mind that when your hands are far apart, your outer pecs receive more stimulation, and the inner pecs get more work when your hands are positioned closer together.
Also, use the one-and-a-half method on cable crossovers and flies to speed up inner-pec development even further. This technique involves performing whole reps followed by half reps done at the top of the range of motion, each pair counting as one single rep. Alternate like this until the set is finished.
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Insert these two techniques into your regular routine and you’re guaranteed to see substantial progress in your chest development. Pause for a moment and squeeze your chest at the top portion of the movement to fully engage the inner fibers during any chest exercise, and manipulate the hand position to increase the focus on the targeted area. Swimming will also help build your inner chest and it’s perhaps the best way to develop all layers of your chest muscles due to the amazing range of motion.