Targeting inner chest muscles results

The Best Exercises To Target Your Inner Chest

Targeting inner chest muscles resultsBuilding a big chest is a huge goal for many people who lift weights.

A powerful looking chest is associated with a strong and eye-catching physique.

The general lust for a more aesthetically pleasing set of pectoral muscles means we get a lot questions on how best to train to achieve them.

One of the more common areas of concern is the inner chest.

It seems that a large number of people struggle to attain the kind of development they want to see in the inner part of their chest. Often, the complaint is that there is a gap or not enough muscle between the pecs.

The answers we have for you may not be what you were expecting, but they will definitely help you build a better looking and more developed chest.

One of the best things you can do to build and strengthen those muscles is add a power rack to your home gym. Our list of the best power racks can help, if you decide to get one.


Can You Even Target Your Inner Chest?

First and foremost, we need to answer this question, as there is a lot of misinformation surrounding the topic. Unfortunately, you aren’t able to specifically target the muscles on the inside part of your chest. Don’t worry, you can still improve their appearance and I am going to give you some tips for building a better overall chest.

The reason you cannot target the inner portion is that the chest muscle fibers run horizontally across your chest. They run from your shoulder to your sternum.

Muscle fibers operate on an”all or nothing” principle: either the fiber contracts or it doesn’t. Since each fiber runs all the way from your outer chest to your inner chest, you cannot target one end of the fiber more than the other.

The main reason that some people seem to have more muscle in their inner chest is down to the length of their fibers. The attachment point of some people’s muscles is closer to the middle of the chest than others. People with shorter fibers in that area are likely to have a bigger gap between their pecs.

As a side note, this doesn’t mean that your chest is one big muscle. It is separated into an upper and lower region so you can shift the emphasis to the upper chest or lower chest. However, it isn’t divided into inner and outer sections.


How Can You Build A Better Chest?

Pectoralis chest muscle

It may be a bit of a kick in the teeth to hear your inner chest appearance is largely genetic but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve the way it looks.

In fact, almost everybody has the ability to improve upon their current level of muscle development by making a few tweaks to their training.

The main reason for under-developed chests is technique and how it impacts the target muscles. Of course, during a chest session, you target muscle should be your chest.

The unfortunate reality is many people sell themselves short by using poor body positioning during their chest exercises.

What usually happens is that a trainee will allow their anterior deltoids do more work than they should, which decreases chest activation.

In order to prevent this, one simple tweak can be made to your body position: whenever you perform a chest exercise, pull your shoulder blades back and down then keep them there for the entire set.

Setting your shoulder blades in this retracted position will minimize their involvement in your presses and flies and shift more of the workload on to your chest muscles.

This one simple change could kick start your chest growth and even allow you to build enough mass throughout your whole chest to make that inner portion appear more developed as well.


Best Chest Exercises

The title of this article promises the best inner chest exercises and, despite knowing the inner chest can’t be isolated, I still want to give you the best exercises for developing your entire chest to make that inner part of your chest look better at the same time.

The following are the top 3 chest-builders. Remember to train your chest consistently for the best results.


1. Barbell Presses

Barbell bench press

Presses are going to be your staple type of exercise when it comes to building your chest. In particular, barbell presses are a great way to begin a chest workout since you can usually load the muscles with some heavier weights.

Obviously, “heavy” is relative to your current strength level but most people will be able to push more weight on a barbell press than any other chest exercise. The technique is very important during a bench press; be sure to keep those shoulders back and use a full range of motion for each rep.

Alternating from time to time between incline, flat and decline presses may also help your overall development since the activation levels of the upper and lower areas of your chest can be altered based on the pressing angle (more upper chest on incline presses and lower chest on decline presses).


2. Dumbbell Presses

dumbell presses

You may wonder why you should use dumbbells if you are already barbell pressing. After all, dumbbell pressing movements are very similar to barbell presses in how they work your chest muscles and less weight is going to be used with dumbbells for most people.

The reason and the main benefit of dumbbell pressing are the added range of motion. With dumbbells, you are able to reach a full stretch on your chest as long as you use a complete range of motion.

On the other hand, barbells cut this stretch slightly short as the barbell stops you from going far enough. The big point here is that you must use a full range of motion on your dumbbell presses if you want to gain the benefits of them.


3. Flies

Woman doing chest flies

Flying movements, whether dumbbell, cable or pec-deck, are another type of chest exercise that has been used for years. The benefit of adding flies to your routine is they cover a slightly different function of your chest compared to the presses.

One of the main functions of your pecs is to bring your arm across your body from the outside to the middle. While presses do incorporate this function to a certain extent, flies work the entire range of motion for it.

Again, keeping your shoulders pulled back is going to be key during flies. You also want to use a weight that allows for perfect technique since the stretch position of a fly carries a larger injury risk if the weight is too heavy for you to handle.


Best Exercises For Inner Chest: Final Thoughts

Do not worry about whether or not your chest genetics are good or bad because you cannot change them. What you can always do is make the very best of them and improve on where you currently are.

You won’t ever really know how good your genetics are until you actually try to achieve your goals anyway. You have to put the time and effort in up front before you can say for certain whether or not you have “good genetics”.

Just like most things in strength and physique-building, sculpting an impressive and well-developed chest takes time. There is no need for anything crazy or fancy; sticking to the simple exercises mentioned in this article will be more than enough for the vast majority of people.

It’s all about being patient and putting the work in for a consistent number of years!

A frequently trained chest

How Often Do You Need To Train Your Chest?

A frequently trained chestOne of the most common questions we get is how often you should train a particular muscle group like your chest.

There is a lot of different information and opinions on the topic, so it can be rather hard to find the right answer.

We will give you a solid set of guidelines and considerations for determining the best chest training frequency for your program. In fact, you can apply the information to most other muscle groups as well.

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Before we can begin to make recommendations on chest training frequency, it is important to know a little bit about what actually happens when you train your muscles.


The Stimulus, Recovery, Adaptation Process

The stimulus, recovery, adaptation (SRA) curve is a great way of seeing what happens to your muscles as you train them for hypertrophy.

SRA Curve: workout and recovery cycle

Here is a quick description of what is being shown above as it relates to your training.

The horizontal, dashed line shows your current level of performance. You could look at this as your current level of muscle mass or your current strength level; it is your baseline.

The “training stimulus” represents the beginning of a particular workout or exercise for a muscle group.

The “fatigue” phase is the fatigue and drop in performance that occurs throughout a workout. Obviously, you have a higher level of performance on your first set when compared to your last set.

“Recovery” is a fairly simple, yet very important portion of the curve. It is the period of time where muscle protein synthesis is elevated and your tissue is repairing after being trained.

Following the recovery phase comes “super-compensation” and this is where gains are made. Your muscles are fully recovered and they can now grow and become stronger as a result of the training session.

The final part of the graph shows “involution”, which is sometimes called de-training. This happens after a period of time passes without a new training stimulus. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” sums it up pretty well: take too much time off and you lose muscle mass again.

As you can see from the SRA curve, you need to time your training properly in order to manage your fatigue levels to allow maximum recovery and super-compensation.

If you train too frequently, you could eat into your recovery time and hurt your progress. On the other hand, training too infrequently will lead to involution or de-training of your muscles.


What Is The Best Training Frequency For Chest?

Generally, the recovery phase after a workout, which is where muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is elevated and your tissue is rebuilding, lasts 48 to 72 hours.

It should be noted that the time frame does depend on experience level and how much fatigue a particular workout has caused. Therefore, some individual experimentation will be necessary but, usually, it is going to take around 48 hours for your muscles to recover and rebuild.

What this means is from around 48 hours onwards, you could begin to experience some slight de-training. As a result, we can say that training your chest every 48 to 72 hours is going to lead to better gains for most people than just a single session each week.

Woman training her chest muscles

As we already discussed, that recommendation will be quite individualized and does depend on the total workload and fatigue accumulated from a training session.

In general, a harder workout is going to lead to MPS being elevated for a longer period but it could also lead to connective tissue soreness. In this situation, your muscles may finish growing but your joints will be too sore to train again, which is not good and is a sign that your workload was too high.

You must manage your workout volume so, when your next session comes around, you feel fresh enough to train hard again. This may take a bit of experimenting and you need to listen to your body to learn your own recovery capabilities.


Putting It All Together

So, you are aware that training your chest or any muscle is best done at a frequency of every 48 to 72 hours. You also know you must manage your fatigue to allow you to train your muscles again before de-training takes effect.

But how can you put it all together for yourself?

Well, to begin with, training each muscle group every 48 hours would be a great starting point.

3 full-body workouts each week will give your muscles enough training stimulus, recovery time and training frequency to make very good progress.

In terms of workload for each muscle group, a good starting point is to aim for around 15 working sets per week for each muscle group. That is not 15 sets per exercise, but per muscle.

This means that you need to be aware of overlapping exercises. For example, 5 sets of chin ups on a pull-up bar will count as 5 sets for your back and your biceps. And know that you can’t target specific areas of a muscle, like training only the inner chest.

If you find that you are constantly sore or fatigued then you may need to look into your workload or recovery methods. You may be doing too many sets or you could be under-recovering by not eating/sleeping enough.

The suggestions here are really just starting points. As you can see, a lot of trial and error needs to take place; you need to learn how your own body reacts to the demands of your training and adjust as you go.

Although it is very hard to give blanket advice that applies to everybody, we can confidently say that, for the majority of people, training your muscles 2 to 3 times per week is going to produce better gains than just a single session, as shown in this study by hypertrophy expert, Dr. Brad Schoenfeld.