The chest is the biggest muscle visible in the frontal plane of the body. No one likes a loose chest. However, it’s important to train the chest through every possible angle. But there are many rumors about chest training out there. Some don’t prefer bench presses whereas some just only do bench presses. The truth always lies somewhere in between all of these rumors. Just like lives, we always have to find a middle ground.
Let’s discuss the ways to get an aesthetic chest. Also, we would discuss the exercises that would specifically target the lower chest.
1. The Bro-Science
There is a lot of false information about lower chest exercises and training out there. Many fitness videos online suggest that you could reduce fat on your chest by doing specific exercises. They say that you could reduce chest fat just by doing lower chest-specific workouts.
However, they are completely wrong. You can’t spot reduce fat. No exercise can reduce fat unless and until you are in a caloric deficit. Muscle and fat are two completely different parts of the body. When you are weight training, you are training your muscles which would help them grow. But to reveal those muscles you have to eat less than your maintenance calories to reduce fat. Incorporating both caloric deficit and weight training is crucial for an aesthetic chest.
2. Chest Anatomy- The Gym Way
Our pectoral muscle is made up of 3-4 different muscles. However, according to gym culture, it’s divided into upper, middle, and lower chest. It’s believed that there are specific exercises to work all of these. Well, it’s true to some extent. Hitting the chest from all angles does have benefits to it.
However, in medical terms, this muscle is known as the abdominal head. It is an inferior muscle of a large Pectoralis major muscle of the chest. It’s located at the lower region of the ribcage.
3. How to Workout Your Lower Chest?
Well, some exercises are lower chest dominant. These exercises are performed in such a way that they target the lower part of the chest more. However, any chest exercise that you do targets the whole pec muscle in general. However, these exercises are believed to target the lower part of the chest more.
3.1 Decline Bench Press
The exercise that is believed to add mass to the lower chest is the Decline bench press. The angle of the bench is less than 90 degrees, which lets the barbell contract the lower chest more. However, to perform this, your gym needs to have a separate decline bench with a decline barbell fitting. So, if you happen to get your hands on it, don’t let that opportunity slip.
Cues for performance: Make sure the barbell touches the lower part of the chest in every rep. Try to tuck your hands in towards your body. Make sure to keep your hand flare less than 90 degrees. Control the descent of every repetition and then shoot the barbell up to get maximum contraction.
3.2 Decline Dumbbell Press
If you can’t feel the contraction in your lower chest, then this exercise is for you. Usually, any dumbbell press is performed to isolate the chest. Decline dumbbell press is no different. As the weight is equal on both hands, it helps in better contraction of muscles. It is safer than a decline bench press due to the better control that you get with dumbbells. The angle of the bench is what makes it lower pec dominant.
Cues for performance: Make sure that you fully contract the muscle by bringing the dumbbell to the level of the chest. Avoid ego lifting and choose the appropriate weight. Make sure that your hands are flared out at an angle of not more than 60 degrees. Control every repetition to avoid injuries. Make sure to tuck your foot under the foot fitting so that you don’t slip on the bench.
3.3 Decline Dumbbell or Machine Fly
A fly movement trains the muscle fibers in a lengthened position. When you grab a dumbbell in a neutral position during dumbbell fly, it helps to open up those chest muscles. This helps to flare out the chest muscles and provide an aesthetic look to the chest. It also helps for the muscle striations to appear and be visible. This exercise can also be performed by placing the decline bench between the machine with pulley fitting on both sides. This helps to activate the lower chest muscle fibers more as it provides constant tension.
Cues for performance: Make sure that the angle between your arm and dumbbell is slightly more than 90 degrees. Also, try to bring down your arm to about 90 degrees with respect to the bench. When you bring the dumbbell up and contract, extend your arms straight.
3.4 Chest Focused Dips
Dips are probably the best body-weight chest exercise along with pushups. They train the chest in an overall manner. But it is more of a lower chest-dominant exercise. If your gym doesn’t have any decline bench, then it’s the only exercise that you need. Dips train the front delts, chest, and triceps. However, tilting a little forward while performing makes it chest-dominant.
If you can easily perform bodyweight dips, try adding weight using a weighted belt.
Cues for performance: Try to move past a 90-degree angle between your arm upper arm and forearm. Try to go through the full range of motion instead of doing half reps. Avoid flaring your arms out and keep them aligned with your upper body.
4. Push-up Workout: Home Edition
Now, many of you may argue “What if we can’t go to the gym?”. Well, you can have an aesthetic chest working out at home too. Push-ups are the best workout to build a perfect chest at home. There are ways to manipulate push-ups to work the lower chest more.
4.1 Incline Push-ups
It’s a weird fact indeed that to work your lower chest muscles, you need an incline bench. But that’s how our body works. Try to find any raised platform. Keep your hands on it in a pushup manner and keep your foot on the ground. This push-up is known to have extra benefits for the lower chest.
4.2 Wide-Arm Push-up
Wide arm pushup is another variant of the traditional push-ups. It is known to have an overall effect on the chest. Just increase the distance between your hands and decrease the distance between the feet. Then, perform the push-up as always.
5. Some Training Tips
Training to grow pecs always comes down to how well your diet is. No matter how hard you train, it’s incomplete without a protein-rich diet. Still, training efficiently is as important. Some things can be kept in mind before training lower pec muscle.
5.1 Flat Bench Works Fine!
If you don’t have enough volume to spare for decline movements, then flat bench movements work well. It works the overall chest including the lower pec too. There’s no need to do decline movements at all. A flat bench press probably is the best pec movement out there.
5.2 Avoid Ego-lifting
Ego lifting is just making you more prone to injuries. Take appropriate weight to train efficiently. Slow and controlled reps often lead to maximum growth. Lifting with a poor form leads you nowhere in terms of muscle hypertrophy.
5.3 Never Skip Bench Press
Sometimes, people skip bench press by saying it isn’t efficient. But, skipping compound movements and only doing isolation work isn’t ideal. You always leave room to improve if you are not doing compound movements. Always perform them at the start of your workouts. It builds the most muscles.
Some exercises directly target the lower chest. They are generally all the decline movements. To get maximum muscle growth and decrease fat, diet plays a crucial role. Make sure to eat enough protein to stimulate muscle growth. These factors combined could lead to an aesthetic chest. Just never stop working out and improving on your weak points. A perfect physique is never built overnight. It takes years of hard work and consistency to achieve what you desire.