The Finest Decrease Chest Exercise for Nicely-Outlined Pecs

Many weightlifters wrestle to develop their decrease chest.

To make issues worse, the evidence-based health group claims there’s not a lot they’ll do about it.

There are various wonderful workouts for creating your pecs as a complete, they are saying, however none of them goal the decrease half specifically. The most effective you are able to do is persist with the identical outdated chest workouts and hope the underside of your pecs fills out in time.

Is that this true?

Or are you able to practice your decrease chest particularly?

And if that’s the case, what are the greatest decrease chest workouts?

And the way do you prepare these workouts into an efficient decrease chest exercise?

Get evidence-based solutions to all these questions and extra on this article.


Chest Anatomy

The pectoralis majors, or “pecs,” are the massive, fan-shaped muscle tissue of the chest.

They’ve two most important sections or “heads:” the clavicular head, or “higher pec,” and the sternocostal head, or “mid and decrease pec.”

Many scientists additionally divide the sternocostal head into two subsections: the manubrial portion, which makes up the majority of the sternocostal head, and the belly portion, which is the small area on the backside of the pec. 

(Some scientists refer to the belly portion because the third head of the pecs, although not all agree.)

You may additional divide these subsections into 6-to-7 segments. Right here’s how all this appears to be like in your physique:


It’s price mentioning that whereas most individuals’s pecs will look much like the diagram above, variations between individuals are common. In response to some research, the pecs are six instances extra doubtless than every other muscle group to look and hook up with your skeleton atypically. 

That is vital as a result of it implies that for you, any of the aforementioned heads, sections, and segments could also be bigger or smaller or roughly quite a few than common (for instance, some individuals have an “further” pectoral head known as a chondrocoracoideus).

This implies your pecs could look considerably completely different from the following individual’s, and relying in your anatomy, there will not be a lot you are able to do to change their look appreciably.

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Can You Prepare Your Decrease Chest?

Acquired gymnasium knowledge states that to coach your higher pecs, that you must emphasize incline urgent; to coach your total chest, you need to prioritize flat urgent; and to maximise decrease chest improvement, you wish to give attention to decline urgent.

There’s some fact to this. 

Studies present that the incline bench press is greatest for coaching your higher pecs and that the flat bench press is extremely efficient at coaching your pecs as a complete.

This logic collapses when it involves the decline bench press, although.

For instance, in a single study performed by scientists at The College of Queensland, researchers discovered that the flat and decline bench press have been equally efficient at coaching the sternocostal head of the pecs, together with the belly portion.

One other study printed within the European Journal of Sports activities Science discovered that the decline bench press isn’t any more practical at activating the decrease portion of the sternocostal head of the pecs than the flat bench press.

As such, most evidence-based health people say there’s no technique to practice your decrease chest. That’s, they are saying you possibly can practice the sternocostal head of your pecs, which incorporates the decrease segments, however there’s no technique to “isolate” the belly portion, which suggests there’s no technique to bias your coaching to creating the decrease pecs if that’s the half that’s lagging.

Why, then, do many weightlifters imagine that the decline bench press preferentially trains the decrease chest?

Anecdotal proof apart (many declare they “really feel” their decrease pecs working extra throughout the decline bench press), it doubtless stems from our information of how the pecs operate.

The sternocostal head of the pecs performs horizontal shoulder adduction (bringing your arm towards the midline of your physique). Nonetheless, not all segments of the pecs contribute equally to this motion; single segments act with a level of independence relying on the calls for of the motion.

In different phrases, how you progress your arms and shoulders modifications which segments of your pecs carry out the lion’s share of the work.

A neat instance of this comes from a study performed by scientists on the College of Wollongong, during which skilled weightlifters carried out a sequence of actions towards various resistance whereas researchers measured muscle activation in every section of their pecs. 

They discovered that the decrease segments of the pecs (the belly portion) have been most energetic when the weightlifters carried out shoulder adduction (pulling your higher arms to your sides), shoulder extension (bringing your arms in an arc from overhead to your sides), and horizontal shoulder flexion from 30 levels of shoulder flexion (shifting as you’ll within the decline bench press, mainly).

Listed here are some illustrations tailored from the examine displaying every of those actions and the way they activated the pecs. Darkish blue denotes excessive activation, gentle blue denotes reasonable activation, and grey denotes low activation:




Whereas it’s tempting to take this as proof that doing workouts that mimic these actions will assist develop your decrease pecs, it could be injudicious to take action. There are too many caveats for that.

As an illustration, this examine solely measured muscle activation. And whereas muscle activation is important for constructing muscle—no activation all the time means no development—it isn’t perfect for gauging development. 

Moreover, this wasn’t a weightlifting examine. That’s, it didn’t have a look at how completely different workouts practice the pecs and the way a lot muscle development occurred in consequence. 

Slightly, it checked out how varied actions change muscle activation within the pecs. And that makes it tough to know whether or not we are able to apply the findings to workouts just like the decline bench press.

This level is much more pertinent provided that when research truly evaluate the flat and decline bench press, the outcomes present they’re comparable lower-pec builders.

Maybe probably the most wise technique to interpret these outcomes is that this: there’s an honest theoretical argument that workouts involving shoulder adduction, shoulder extension, and decline urgent actions will emphasize the decrease pecs.

Thus, in case your mid and higher chest are well-developed, however your decrease pecs are lagging, it might make sense to do workouts that theoretically “goal” your decrease chest. Whereas there’s no assure you’ll get the outcomes you need, taking this tack in all probability received’t hurt your mid-to-lower-pec improvement, making it a low-risk, probably high-reward technique for constructing the underside of your chest.

(Keep in mind, nevertheless, that making decrease chest workouts the main focus of your coaching could stymie shoulder and higher chest development since flat and incline urgent workouts are typically superior at coaching these muscle teams.)

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The Finest Decrease Chest Workout routines

Primarily based on what we’ve discovered about tips on how to work your decrease chest, listed below are 10 of the very best workouts for decrease chest.

1. Bench Press


The bench press is the king of chest workouts as a result of it trains your higher, mid, and decrease pecs to a excessive diploma and means that you can raise heavy weights safely, which is vital for gaining muscle and strength.

2. Dip


The dip is an excellent exercise for training your upper-body pushing muscles, including your pecs. What’s more, performing it with a slight forward lean puts your arms at about the right angle to emphasize your lower pecs.

3. Dumbbell Bench Press

3.PUSH-Dumbbell Bench Press


The dumbbell bench press trains your pecs similarly to the barbell bench press, making it one of the most effective lower chest dumbbell exercises you can do.

4. Decline Bench Press


The decline bench press places your arms into ~30 degrees of shoulder flexion, which may help you emphasize the lower pecs more than other pressing exercises.

5. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press


The decline dumbbell bench press is very similar to the decline bench press, which means it’s about as effective at training your lower pecs. What makes it slightly different is that it involves dumbbells instead of a barbell

The benefits of this are that the decline dumbbell bench press has a slightly longer range of motion, which is important for muscle and strength gain, and it trains each side of your body independently, which helps you identify and even out muscle imbalances

The downside, however, is that it can be challenging to get into the decline position while holding dumbbells, especially as the weights get heavy.

6. Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover trains shoulder flexion, which means it may be well-suited to training your lower pecs. Furthermore, it trains your pecs in a stretched position, which is generally useful for muscle development.

7. Cable Pullover

Cable Pullover (1)

The cable pullover trains your higher physique equally to the dumbbell pullover, making it one other good choice for coaching your decrease pecs. The primary advantage of the cable pullover is that it makes use of a cable, which retains fixed stress in your pecs all through every rep.

8. Incline Push-up

Incline Push-up

The incline push-up (or “decrease chest push-up”) is likely one of the simplest push-ups for decrease chest as a result of, in contrast to different push-up variations, it places your arms into ~30 degrees of shoulder flexion, which may increase the amount your lower pecs contribute to the exercise.

9. High-to-Low Cable Fly

High-to-Low Cable Fly

The high-to-low cable fly (often referred to as the “lower chest cable fly”) trains shoulder adduction, which means it might emphasize the lower pec more than the regular cable fly. To maximize lower pec involvement, bring your hands together (or slightly past each other) 6-to-8 inches in front of your thighs rather than in front of your torso or chest.

10. Decline Dumbbell Fly

Decline Dumbbell Fly

The decline dumbbell fly (or “lower chest fly”) is an excellent lower chest dumbbell exercise for isolating the pecs. The main benefit is that it trains your pecs when deeply stretched, which is important for maximizing muscle growth. 

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The Best Lower Chest Workout

Most workouts for lower chest that you find online focus too much on high-rep, pump-style training and recommend doing too many isolation exercises for the lower pecs.

This is a mistake. 

If you want to maximize lower-pec development, you need to emphasize compound weightlifting that trains your entire chest (and may emphasize your lower pecs) and allows you to lift heavy weights safely and get stronger over time.

With that in mind, here’s what I recommend:

Bench Press: 3 sets of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min rest

Dip: 3 sets of 4-to-6 reps with 2-to-3 min rest

Dumbbell Pullover: 3 sets of 6-to-8 reps with 2-to-3 min rest

High-to-Low Cable Fly: 3 sets of 8-to-10 reps with 2-to-3 min rest

And if you like the look of this workout and want a program based on similar principles to train your entire body, check out Mike Matthews’ fitness books for men, Bigger Leaner Stronger.

(Or if you aren’t sure if Bigger Leaner Stronger is right for you or if another strength training program might be a better fit for your circumstances and goals, take Legion Strength Training Quiz, and in less than a minute, you’ll know the perfect strength training program for you. Click here to check it out.)

+ Scientific References