How to Work Your Lower Chest Muscles

The pectoralis major. It’s a muscle synonymous with power, confidence, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

From movie stars to gym rats, large pectoral muscles are coveted and have been for centuries

Fanning from the center of the chest to the armpit area, the two ‘pecs’ form one of the most prominent portions of the body so it's no wonder the muscle is one of the “go-to’s,” in the gym, especially for men. 

It provides not only the power to push and force something forward, but a visually engaging muscle on which the eye settles, and one that can be enlarged fairly quickly but is commonly misunderstood.

The problem is that not all pec exercises are the same and there are two portions known as ‘heads’, the Clavicular Head (upper) and the Sternal Head (middle/lower). 

It is such a huge muscle that simply doing one exercise to work it out may not garner you the physical benefits you may hope for, particularly when it comes to your lower pec.

Think about it this way: when you run, ski, play basketball, or squat, you work out different portions of your leg. Working out your chest is no different in that different portions can be targeted for a more intense workout routine and to achieve productive benefits.  

Here are some of the best exercises to work your lower pec muscles and get that chiseled look you’ve been working for. 

Lower Pec Pushups: 

Pushups are a common exercise to increase pec muscle size, but if performed when your arms are too wide or too far forward the lower pec gets brushed aside. 

Make sure that your wrists are underneath your shoulders, or as close as you can get, and that your elbows are in towards your body and not turned outwards. This will put more pressure on the lower part of your pec (and also help with ab muscle development). 

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press:

This one is fairly common and if you’ve ever been in a weight room before you have likely seen someone lifting more than their fair share for this exercise in hopes of rapid gain, which is not recommended. Always be sure to start with light weights even when you have a spotter

It’s a fitness catalyst in working your lower pec, firing it up on all cylinders and engaging more of your pec than shoulder comparatively to doing regular bench press thanks to engaging each side of the chest separately

Lay back as you would normally for bench press but use one dumbbell per arm. For variation try lifting your arms towards one another as they rise. 

Cable Crossovers (Up to Down and Across): 

This exercise is commonly done incorrectly, but if performed consistently and correctly the benefits are quick and can turn your lower pec rock solid in no time. 

Using a cable crossover machine, adjust each cable so that they are above your shoulders by at least a few inches depending on the length of the machine. Put one leg forward and face your hands down after grabbing the cable handles. 

Pull both cables down and inward so that your arms cross over or meet when in front of your chest. When attempting to work your lower pec it is important to focus your efforts on pulling downwards with this exercise. 

Make sure that you are not pulling with your legs or your back, it defeats the purpose and means the weights you’re lifting are too heavy. 

Chest Dips:

Body-weight exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, and dips are not the most glamorous exercises but are just as effective in building muscle tissue and stamina. 

When performing chest dips you want to be leaning forward at roughly a 45-degree angle, but make sure that your back is straight. 

As the body gets tired it is easy to let the lower back and pelvis sink. Much like with pushups, ensure you are optimally working your lower pec by keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible. 

Lower Pec Bench Press: 

This one is pretty self-explanatory. When performing bench press with the intention of working the lower pecs, slide your body so that the bar is slightly below your eyes when lying down. 

Slide your hands slightly closer together than you would for normal bench press, but be sure that they are far enough apart so that your elbows aren’t turning outwards when pushing the bar back up. 

Do three sets of these exercises at minimum twice a week (preferably three or four times in alternation with back muscle workouts) decreasing in repetitions with each set, from 12 to 10 to 8. By the end, your muscles should be on fire in the best way possible. 

If you find yourself struggling to even attempt the third set then this means you likely need to decrease the weight slightly. 

It is important to remember that working out your chest without implementing some form of back exercise is not recommended due to muscle imbalance and maintaining good posture

Some great back exercises include rowing exercises, pull-ups, and lat pull-downs. Performing planks is also a fantastic way to give your entire core a workout without overindulging in one particular muscle group.  

Additionally, just because you want to get results as fast as possible doesn’t mean that you should be performing these exercises daily. When muscles are overworked they don’t increase in mass as fast as with a day or two of rest between workouts. 

Rest allows for cells to repair themselves, and as a consequence, once they are repaired they are stronger and larger. If you are itching for a workout to try working out different muscles during your pec ‘rest days’. 

The truth is that not everyone’s bodies are the same, so it is important to perform them at your own pace. Stick with it, and within weeks you will see hard-earned results

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