While training all of the other important muscle groups, have you ever stopped to ask, “Do you need to work lower chest?”
I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to hit your upper chest and have a big bench press to build your chest. Not many people focus on the importance of lower chest training.
Do You Need To Work Lower Chest?
If you want a well-rounded and balanced physique then you shouldn’t be skipping any muscle groups. It is true that the lower portion of the chest is trained in other chest movements, but if you really want to grow it you should be isolating it.
How To Work Lower Chest
First of all, what is considered the lower chest? The chest is split up into three sections; the pec major or upper chest, the middle chest, and lower chest. The names should indicate where each is located.
The pectoralis major is the larger muscle and is composed of the upper portion called the clavicular head and the lower portion is called the sternal head.
The chest muscles are responsible for moving the arms across the body and up and down. This is why most chest movements involve the arms pushing away from the body.
Many chest exercises such as the flat bench press or chest machine presses will target all three areas. However, if you are pressing at an incline or decline, then you can isolate the area that you wish to grow.
Training the lower chest will provide a well-rounded and aesthetically pleasing look of the chest. You always want to train every muscle group so that you do not have muscular imbalances.
The only way to train the lower chest is by pressing in a downwards motion towards your legs. The lower chest can be overloading with heavy weight in pressing movements. Then the fibers can be finished off by using light weights and contracting the chest together.
Best Lower Chest Workout Exercises
The decline bench press is a great way to overload the lower chest. Well, it actually will hit your entire chest, but the emphasis is on the lower chest.
As you press the bar up your lower chest will be working to extend the arm. As you lower the bar back down towards you, the lower pecs and anterior deltoid work in order to flex the arm.
Start by getting onto the decline bench and placing your feet under the pad so that you don’t slide down the bench. Grasp the barbell a little outside shoulder width, it will typically be a slightly wider grip than you would use in the flat bench press.
Lift the barbell off the rack so that it is directly above your lower chest. You want to slowly let the bar come down and touch your lower chest or nipple area.
Contract your chest and explode the bar straight up to the starting position. You should feel an emphasis on your lower chest as your arms are pressing at a downward angle. Aim for about 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.
Studies have proven that the decline bench actually works the upper chest to a greater degree than the incline bench. This is because in a decline position, all the chest fibers are stretched at the bottom of the decline bench press.
Try switching in the smith machine decline press every few workouts to really squeeze the pecs without having to focus on balancing the barbell. By locking the weight in place, all you have to worry about is pressing the weight straight up.
This will allow you to really squeeze and break down the lower chest.
Dips are a great body weight exercise that can pretty much be done anywhere. Weight can be added to them using a weight belt or by placing a dumbbell in between the feet to add intensity.
Grasp the bars so that your body is hovering in the air and your knees are bent. You’ll now want to lean forward at about a 45 degree angle so that your chest is doing most of the work. Make sure that your chest is slightly in front of your shoulders so that the shoulders are not taking over the movement.
Let your body lower down by bending your arms until your chest is inline with the bars. Make sure to keep your head in line with your spine as you go down. Try not to round your back.
Once you are at the bottom, press-up and contract your chest to return to the starting position. Try to press the dip bars into the ground and towards each other, which will help you contract your chest. Just by mentally visualizing that your are driving the bars together, you will feel the movement in your chest.
Don’t come all the way up and lockout your elbows as this will take the tension off the chest.
Try to squeeze your back and keep your shoulders in place throughout the movement. You shouldn’t be swinging or bouncing your body around. Keep your core tight to help with this.
Make sure that your elbows aren’t flaring out when doing dips. This can put stress on the shoulders and potentially cause injury.
The lower that you go, the more you will feel it in your chest. Going halfway down won’t build your chest and you are better off using the assisted dip machine so that you can do proper range of motion.
Lower Chest Cable Fly (High to Low Cable Fly)
First you want to stand in the middle of the two cables with them set at the highest setting. Grasp both handles and bring them down to your sides while stepping forward.
Use a staggered foot stance to provide more stability. The cables should be lined up with your arms. Let your arms rise up beside your body to fully stretch out the chest.
Then squeeze your hands down and together while contracting the chest. Think of trying to touch your elbows together.
This movement is great because it keeps constant tension on the chest throughout the entire movement. It does not get a break, meaning that more muscles fibers are broken down, leading to more muscle gains.
Benefits of Lower Chest Training
Training the lower chest is a great way to improve your posture as the chest plays a major role as its length and strength determine your shoulder position. The chest and upper back work together to stabilize the shoulder joints.
Exercises such as the dip will improve your lockout strength at the top of the movement. This will increase your bench press numbers.
The lower chest is important for preventing muscle imbalances. Only training certain muscle groups means that you will have lagging ones that can bring down your lifts. For example, the lower chest is used in the flat bench press.
If you are trying to increase your bench but only hitting the upper and mid chest, then you are missing out on some added strength.
Training your entire body equally will also prevent injury, which no one wants.
A defined lower chest is also very aesthetically pleasing. If you’re training to look good, then you will definitely want to include isolation movements for the lower chest.
Not training lower chest can also lead to the appearance of a saggy chest. If your body fat levels are higher, you will notice also notice this. Until you eat cleaner and lose weight, you will not be able to see your lower chest muscles no matter how hard you train. Looking for help to boost your metabolism and sleep quality so that you can lose weight? See here.
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