Building a strong and powerful chest, is key to better performance metrics and outcomes. If you can press more weight, you’ll inevitably be able to improve functional movement assimilation, hit more reps, and build a more well-defined physique. However, when chest day rolls around, the lower chest is an often neglected segment of the pectoralis major. We’re going to cover the best lower chest workouts, so you can build that specific portion of your chest to build more muscle and strength.
Your chest is comprised of many different muscles and segments, such as the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and the serratus anterior. The chest is part of a larger group of “pushing/pressing” muscles found in the upper body. As the name implies, the pectoralis major, makes up the majority of your chest mass. Fanlike in shape, it’s proximal end attaches itself to your clavicle, and distally to your ribs and sternum. The pectoralis minor is a small, thin triangular muscle found beneath the pectoralis major, attached to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rib. Lastly, the serratus anterior, is attaches on your sides, near the pectorals on the ribs, with its main function to move your scapula forward and upward.
Bench press is a compound movement that involves the pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, and the upper arms. Barbell bench can develop and build more strength and size, and also improve balance in movements amongst athletes. The decline bench press, simply takes the conventional bench press, and angles downward 15 degrees, it to isolate and activate the lower chest.
- Set the angle on an adjustable bench to 15 degrees, or sit at a decline bench press. With your hands positioned just outside your shoulders on the bar, lie on the bench with your head lower than your hips. Brace your legs to stop yourself sliding off the bench.
- Lift the barbell, push and hold it over your shoulders. Turn your wrists, so your palms are facing away from you. Pull your shoulders down and back to stabilize and protect your shoulder joints.
- Bend your arms and lower the bar, just beneath your nipple line down to the outside of your chest. Keep your wrists straight and your elbows directly below your hands. Lower the bar to your chest or as far as your flexibility, and shoulder joints allow.
- Press the bar back up, stopping just short of locking out your elbows.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
Just like the decline barbell bench, the decline dumbbell bench press, is a key functional and compound strength movement, that can greatly increase your chest strength, and build stronger core stability, since the dumbbells are independent of on another, recruiting and activating your core muscles.
- Set the angle on an adjustable bench to 15 degrees. With a dumbbell in each hand, lie on the bench with your head lower than your hips
- Tuck your feet firmly between the pads, with each dumbbell on your knees. Lie back on the bench and bring the dumbbells back to your chest and push up as you lay down.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
- Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells, squeezing them tight.
- As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out.
- Lower the weights and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
The decline dumbbell chest fly is a fun and effective accessory movement, mainly used to build more muscle and strength. The decline fly provides assistance to help build bigger lifts such as the barbell bench press. The decline dumbbell fly also activates secondary muscles groups such as your shoulders and triceps. The decline provides more emphases on the lower chest and provides variety for your chest day split.
- Set the angle on an adjustable bench to 15 degrees. Grab your dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing in. Position the dumbbells in the crest of your hips and lay back.
- Lie back on the decline bench, keeping the weights close to your chest, with your feet firmly placed into the pads.
- Push the dumbbells away from your body and press them above you.
- Slightly retract your shoulder blades by pinching them together, unlocking your elbows and slowly lowering the dumbbells laterally while maintaining the angel at your elbow.
- Once the dumbbells are in line with your chest on each side, reverse the movement, squeezing your pecs together, until you reach the top with the dumbbells back at the starting position.
- Lower the weights and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
The dumbbell pullover is an accessory strength training movement, which targets your pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi. This movement is a great finishing exercise to strengthen your chest and build more lean muscle mass, especially considering its extensive range of motion.
The key to the dumbbell pullover is the load and range of motion. Due to the range of motion and positioning, you will not be able to perform the dumbbell pullover with an excessive heavy load. Grab a manageable weight that you can lift without compromising form. The pullover can also be performed with a barbell or EZ bar.
- Grab a single dumbbell with both hands and position yourself on a flat bench with your shoulder blades resting on the bench, feet firmly planted into the ground.
- Positioned at a 90 degree angle to the bench, your back shoulder be straight, and your knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Holding the dumbbell in both hands, making a diamond, straighten your arms so that dumbbell is directly overhead above you. This is the starting position.
- Bending at the shoulders only and keeping your arms straight, slowly lower the weight down behind your head until the dumbbell reaches the height of the bench. Here you should feel a stretch in the lats.
- Slowly raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Repeat for desired number of reps.
The hex press is a functional strength movement typically performed with a pair of dumbbells closely positioned together. This is a great movement, to help build the lower chest cavity as well as isolate the inner chest.
- Position a bench at 15 degrees incline. Grab a pair of dumbbells or kettlebell, and position together and press straight overhead.
- Slowly lower the load down to your chest with both hands, bracing your core, pushing with your weight into your heels, and pressing the weight back up.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of reps
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