The pectoral muscles, which people often refer to as the pecs, define the shape and appearance of the chest. They also control several arm movements, including flexing and rotating the arm and bringing it in toward the body’s midline (adduction).
Two muscles form the pecs. The pectoralis major spans from the shoulder to the middle of the chest, and the pectoralis minor is on the outer edge of the chest, just behind the pectoralis major.
To build up the pecs, people can do exercises that work the entire chest area. It is possible to target specific areas of the chest by using modified lifts.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, people should perform muscle-strengthening activities on at least 2 days of the week. One set of 8 to 12 repetitions (reps) is effective in resistance training, but 2 or 3 sets may be more effective.
This article describes five exercises that help people gain strength and definition in the lower chest.
1. Incline pushup
Pushups are a great multifunctional exercise because they work the entire upper body and back. Performing pushups at an incline will put more focus on the lower chest.
- a flat workout bench, jump box, or step platform
Cable machines offer a wide range of exercise options depending on the position of the pulleys. Setting the pulleys higher will put more emphasis on the lower chest while setting them lower emphasizes the upper chest.
The cable crossover works the muscles in both the lower and outer parts of the chest.
- a cable machine
5. Parallel-bar dips (chest)
Parallel-bar dips activate multiple muscle groups in the chest, arms, shoulders, and back. During this exercise, remember to lean slightly forward on the dip to engage the muscles in the lower chest.
- a set of parallel bars
Parallel-bar dips require a significant amount of upper body strength. People who do not feel comfortable performing a complete chest dip can try the variation below instead.
Parallel-bar dip variation:
The exercises above will work the lower chest when a person performs them correctly. It is best to add these exercises to a full-body strength training routine to achieve a well-balanced physique.
Individuals trying these exercises should remember to focus on executing each movement with proper form and technique. People can avoid injuries by not rushing through sets and by avoiding using weights that are too heavy. It is important to avoid training the same muscle groups multiple days in a row because muscles need time to recover after a hard workout.
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