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Chest workouts are a fundamental part of strength training so you can build a strong upper body and improve your overall fitness.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on low chest workouts.
Your lower chest muscles are essentially the bottom portion of your pectoralis major.
This is the large fan-shaped muscle that makes up the bulk of your chest.
Recommended Reading – Supercharge Your Inner Chest Workout With These 6 Top Exercises
It’s broken down into three divisions; the costal (lower chest), sternal (middle chest) and clavicular (upper chest).
The other muscles are the pectoralis minor and the serratus anterior.
Often, chest exercises tend to focus primarily on the upper chest, and this is usually down to the angle of your arms when performing an exercise whether that’s using free weights or a cable machine.
This does mean that your lower pecs can be overlooked.
Our purpose is to provide insights and suggest some of the best lower chest exercises that place more emphasis on your low pectoral muscles, so you can work on creating a well-developed chest.
Best Low Chest Workouts For Muscle Growth & Definition
Before we jump to our suggested workout for your low chest muscles, it’s worth noting that it’s not possible to isolate this part of your pec major but rather incorporate exercises that will place more tension on this part of the muscle.
Flat Barbell Bench Press
Probably an obvious addition for chest training but also one of the most effective, especially for targeting the sternal head of your pecs.
There’s no denying this is a great exercise for lower chest development but it’s common to see it executed with bad form which results in shifting muscle engagement to the rear delts.
When done properly, it’s a great way of packing on size and building a well-defined chest.
Tips For Undertaking A Flat Bench Press
- To do it properly you’ll want to pinch your shoulder blades back which puts your body into a slight decline. This helps to emphasize your lower chest while making it easier on your shoulders. To know whether you’re doing it right, you should notice a pronounced arch to your lower back.
- When lowering the barbell to your chest keep your elbows tucked in with the bar path being down and forwards. Aside from engaging your chest you should also feel tension down the back of your upper arms.
- To avoid injury, always keep the movement under control with no rapid or unsteady descents.
- For complete muscle activation make sure you complete each rep with a full range of motion by allowing the barbell to descend as low as possible to your lower chest. But don’t allow it to bounce off your chest at the bottom.
- For stability, keep your feet planted and pressed into the ground and brace your core muscles.
- Keep your grip at shoulder-width or just beyond. Going to narrow will shift more of the weight load on to your triceps.
- Make sure you grip the barbell tight enough to stabilize your wrists.
A good alternative to this exercise is the decline bench press.
By positioning your body at a -15 degree decline will elicit a greater hypertrophic response when compared to performing the exercise in the flat position.
This is also a great choice if you want to lift heavier weight.
How Many Sets & Repetitions Of The Bench Press
Compound movements like the bench press typically involve heavier weight with fewer reps needed.
This is because of the stress placed on several muscle groups at once.
Keep sets to around 2 or 3 and reps between 6 and 10.
Weighted Chest Dips
When compared to the traditional bench press, dips are less common but shouldn’t be overlooked as it’s one of the best exercises to activate the lower chest muscle fibers and build a strong chest.
It’s a challenging movement so if you’re new to it, it’s a good idea to start out with just your bodyweight.
You can increase the weight load by wearing a lifting belt and attaching a weight plate or by holding a dumbbell between your feet.
Tips For Good Form When Doing Weighted Chest Dips
- Hang from the parallel bars with your arms extended and legs suspended, cross your feet at the ankles for stability.
- Make sure you use a solid base for dipping by using proper dip bars or similar. While you can perform them using a couple of chairs, check they’re secure before starting out.
- To keep tension on your lower chest you’ll need to lean your torso forwards slightly. The more your upper body is angled forward, the better the chest activation. When you keep your body in a more upright position, this puts more emphasis on your triceps.
- Perform them slowly and with control to prevent shoulder trauma. When you do them with proper form, dips can be a great way of increasing flexibility to the shoulder girdle.
- Keep your hands at a shoulder width grip to allow for complete range of motion.
- Make sure your elbows are pointed slightly backward, not flaring out to the sides. This will emphasize the chest muscles during the dip.
- Lower your body in a controlled manner by bending your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle (or slightly more), while leaning your chest forward. Aim to lower yourself until your shoulders are just below your elbows.
- Avoid using momentum or swinging to lift yourself.
- Ensure any weight is securely attached, and gradually increase the weight in manageable increments. Start with a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.
What’s the Ideal Rep Range For Chest Dips
When doing chest dips, 2 to 3 sets of between 10 and 20 repetitions will give you the best results in terms of muscle growth and increased strength.
High-Low Cable Chest Fly
This fly variation does work pretty much the entire chest area but by pushing the weight down provides greater activation of your lower chest.
Other benefits of doing this on a cable crossover is that you have the freedom to follow your own arm path while there is constant tension on the muscles.
They remove the involvement of your triceps helping to further isolate your lower chest area.
Because of this the chest muscles will fatigue before any other muscle which doesn’t happen when there’s significant triceps engagement.
Useful Tips When Performing High To Low Cable Chest Fly
- Make sure you set the pulleys to a high enough point on the cable machine as this helps keep the movement in line with the lower portion of the chest.
- To start, adopt a staggered stance (one foot in front of the other) and lean your torso forward a little. keep your arms spread apart and elbows slightly bent.
- When you’ve chosen an appropriate weight, take hold of the handles and step forwards to create tension in the cables.
- Typically, you bring your hands down until your wrists meet at the bottom. But, if you want to work a little more of the middle chest as well, then cross your hands over which helps to increase the focus on the sternal head.
- Only perform the exercise by executing movement at your shoulder joints otherwise you run the risk of turning the exercise into a chest press variation.
- Be sure to engage your core throughout to help provide stability.
- Keep a slight bent to your elbows as you bring your hands together. This limits stress on the elbows joints and reduces the chance of injury.
How Many Reps Of The Cable Chest Fly Should You Do
Sets that comprise of lots of repetitions will allow you to pump the chest muscles well.
Stick to a lighter weight so you can do them with strict form and aim for around 2 or 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
This is one of the best bodyweight exercises with this particular variation being a great choice for keeping stress away from your elbows making it a joint friendly exercise.
They’re also easier to perform when compared to a standard push up.
The angle of your body when doing an incline push-up puts greater emphasis on your lower pectoral muscles, making it an effective exercise to isolate and strengthen the lower chest.
Tips For Doing Incline Push Ups
- Use a stable surface whether that’s a gym bench, smith machine or even a table at home.
- Your body should be forming an extended plank position for this exercise so that it’s a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
- Avoid sticking your bum in the air as this will affect your form, keep your pelvis tucked under which will help you to maintain position.
- If you find the exercise a little painful on your wrists, then turn your hands out slightly keeping your hands at a shoulder width distance.
- Keep your elbows always tucked in throughout the exercise. This reduces pressure on your shoulders while activating your triceps.
- At the top of the movement your shoulder blades should be protracted (spread apart) and at the bottom they should be retracted (together).
- Don’t do half reps. Aim for a full range of motion by lowering your chest as close to the surface as possible and then fully extend your arms in the upward phase.
- Make sure your wrists stay nice and straight without allowing them to bend back, which may cause pain or injury.
How Many Incline Push Ups Should You Do
When starting out, aim to complete around 3 to 4 sets of between 5 and 10 reps.
As your strength improves, you can increase the rep range anywhere from 10 to 20 reps.
Stretches You Can Do After Your Lower Chest Workout
Once you’ve completed the exercises suggested above, it’s a good idea to stretch out the muscles.
Firstly, this will help with reducing muscle tension and soreness as well as boosting flow to the muscles and improving flexibility.
Here are a few stretches you can try.
Pec Major Doorway Stretch
- Start off by standing in a doorway and adopt a staggered stance.
- Position the top of your arm against the edge of a doorway so that your elbow is in line with the shoulder.
- Keep your shoulders back and head and chest up.
- With your arm bent to a 90-degree angle, slowly lean forwards.
- You should feel a good stretch across your chest muscles.
Static Chest Stretch
- Begin in standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take both hands behind you, keep them extended and interlock your fingers.
- Push your arms back and down.
- Your chest should move forwards so your feel a stretch across your entire chest.
- Hold this stretch for around 60 seconds.
Lying Pec / Shoulder Stretch
- Lie down on the floor with your legs extended and arms down by your sides.
- Take your right leg and cross it over your body bending the knee to a 90-degree angle.
- Your right hip should be facing the ceiling and right knee touching the floor.
- Now take your right arm and position it straight out so that your hand is in line with your shoulder.
- This will stretch both your chest and shoulder.
- Maintain the stretch for around 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
To achieve a complete chest workout, incorporating exercises like the ones mentioned above is essential.
These exercises ensure a well-rounded approach, engaging the entire pectoral muscle group but with an emphasis on the low chest.
A balanced chest workout not only enhances aesthetics but also promotes functional strength, which helps support various upper body movements.
By integrating exercises targeting all areas of your chest, including the upper chest and inner chest, is the best way to build these large muscles.