The quest for a well-defined and muscular chest is a common goal among fitness enthusiasts, and Max Posternak, the founder of Gravity Transformation with over 5.5 million YouTube subscribers, has crafted a list of the nine best exercises to help you achieve just that.
Before delving into the exercises, Posternak clarifies a common misconception – the inner chest is not a separate muscle; it is a part of the larger pectoralis major muscle. While you can’t isolate the inner chest entirely, you can use specific exercises to emphasize and target that area more effectively.
Although some of the exercises below are targeted at contracting your inner chest, it will also help you improve how they look as a whole, making them ideal for that well-defined and muscular look that you want.
9 exercises for a well-defined and muscular chest
So what are these 9 exercises for a well-defined and muscular chest? See it below.
- Smith Machine Hex Press: The Smith Machine Hex Press is a variation of the traditional bench press, utilizing a hexagonal barbell and the assistance of the Smith Machine for stability. This exercise allows you to focus on the inner chest by ensuring your grip is slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. By consciously contracting your inner chest while performing the movement, you can engage the targeted area more effectively.
- Cable Hex Press: The Cable Hex Press is another excellent exercise for targeting the inner chest. Using cable resistance allows for constant tension throughout the movement, and by adjusting the pulleys to a lower position, you can accentuate the activation of the inner pectoral fibres. This exercise involves pushing the cable handles together in front of your chest, creating a squeezing motion to target the inner chest muscles.
- Crossbody Cable Press: The Crossbody Cable Press is performed by grasping a cable handle and crossing it over your body to the opposite side. This movement involves a diagonal press, bringing the handle from the opposite hip to the opposite shoulder. By performing this exercise with a controlled motion and focusing on the contraction in the centre of your chest, you can effectively target the inner chest.
- Svend Press: The Svend Press is a unique exercise that uses a pair of plates held together at chest level while performing a pressing motion. By squeezing the plates together throughout the movement, you engage the inner chest muscles significantly. This exercise provides a continuous tension on the targeted area, leading to better muscle activation.
- Diamond Push-Up (Medicine Ball): Diamond Push-ups on a Medicine Ball add an element of instability, which challenges the stabilizing muscles of the chest even further. To perform this exercise, assume a push-up position with your hands placed close together in a diamond shape on the medicine ball. As you lower your chest towards the ball, focus on engaging your inner chest to complete the movement.
- Dumbbell Hex Press: The Dumbbell Hex Press is similar to the Cable Hex Press, but it involves using dumbbells instead of cables. This exercise allows for a greater range of motion and requires more stability. By performing the movement with the dumbbells close to each other, you can emphasize the activation of the inner chest.
- Decline Rope Pullover: The Decline Rope Pullover targets not only the inner chest but also the upper chest and triceps. To perform this exercise, lie on a decline bench, hold a rope attachment overhead, and perform a pullover motion, bringing the rope towards your hips. By consciously contracting the inner chest during the pullover, you can effectively work on that specific area.
- Single-Arm Crossbody: The Single-Arm Crossbody exercise is a cable movement that involves crossing your arm over your body to the opposite side while holding a cable handle. As you perform the movement, focus on the inner chest contraction, and remember to execute the exercise with control and proper form.
- Bodyweight Dips: Bodyweight Dips are a classic exercise for targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. To emphasize the inner chest, lean your torso slightly forward during the dip, and focus on pushing your hands inward as you press back up. This inward push helps engage the inner chest muscles more effectively.
To ensure proper execution and maximize the effectiveness of each exercise, it is essential to watch Max Posternak’s video for detailed instructions and demonstrations. He emphasizes the mind-muscle connection, urging viewers to concentrate on targeting the inner chest during each repetition.
Remember that achieving a well-defined inner chest requires consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate rest and recovery. Integrate these nine exercises into your chest workout routine and enjoy the journey towards a fuller and more sculpted chest. Always prioritize safety and form while performing any exercise, and consider seeking guidance from a certified fitness professional if you’re new to these movements. Stay committed, be patient, and embrace the process as you work towards your fitness goals.
For more information about each of these exercises, watch the full video from Posternak below.
According to Posternak, a useful guideline to target the inner chest effectively is to prioritize strong contraction of the pectoral muscles while crossing your body with your arms. For instance, in the traditional diamond push-up, the emphasis is primarily on the triceps. However, when performing it on a medicine ball, you intentionally squeeze your hands together around the ball.
By pressing horizontally and creating a clasp-like motion during the diamond push-up with a medicine ball, you increase tension and focus on the inner side of your chest. This mindful technique places greater stress on the inner chest muscles, facilitating a more effective workout for that specific area.
Training the chest is important for several reasons, and it plays a significant role in overall strength, aesthetics, and functional fitness. Here are some key reasons why chest training is crucial:
- Upper Body Strength: The chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis major and minor, are essential for various upper body movements, such as pushing, lifting, and carrying. A strong chest provides a solid foundation for upper body strength and improves performance in exercises like bench press, push-ups, and overhead presses.
- Symmetry and Aesthetics: A well-developed chest enhances the overall appearance of the upper body. It contributes to a balanced and proportionate physique, especially when combined with well-trained shoulders and back muscles. Aesthetically pleasing chest muscles can boost confidence and self-esteem.
- Functional Movements: Chest strength is crucial for performing daily activities like pushing doors open, carrying groceries, and lifting objects. Having a strong chest helps in maintaining proper posture and preventing injuries during these movements.
- Core Stability: Many chest exercises engage the core muscles to stabilize the body during pressing movements. This indirect activation of the core helps improve core strength and stability, which is essential for overall body support and balance.
- Bone Health: Resistance training, including chest exercises, can contribute to better bone health. Weight-bearing exercises like bench press can stimulate bone remodeling and help prevent osteoporosis.
Now, as for the frequency of chest training, it depends on several factors, including your fitness level, training experience, and overall workout routine. Generally, there are a few options to consider:
- Beginners: If you are new to strength training, it’s recommended to start with two to three chest workouts per week. This allows your muscles and joints to adapt to the new stress gradually.
- Intermediate and Advanced: For individuals with more experience and higher training intensity, training the chest two times per week can be beneficial. This frequency allows for sufficient recovery while still providing enough stimulus for muscle growth.
- Split Routines: Many weightlifters follow a split routine, where they focus on different muscle groups on different days. In such cases, you might train the chest once or twice a week, depending on how your workout routine is structured.
- Listen to Your Body: It’s essential to pay attention to your body’s feedback. If you experience excessive soreness, fatigue, or reduced performance, you might be overtraining. In that case, consider reducing the frequency or volume of chest workouts.
- Recovery: Remember that muscle growth happens during rest and recovery. Give your chest muscles enough time to recover between workouts for optimal progress and injury prevention.
Incorporating variety in your chest workouts, including different exercises and rep ranges, can also be beneficial for overall muscle development. Always prioritize proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury. If you’re uncertain about your training frequency or program, consulting a qualified fitness professional can help design a personalized plan that suits your goals and fitness level.