If you like to sport a chiseled chest like Conan the Barbarian or Rocky Balboa, or just improve your posture and general fitness, then you can’t neglect training your lower chest muscles.
I spent hours researching lower chest development for my clients, so read on to learn the best lower chest exercises to include in your chest workout.
Summary of the Key Findings
- There are five best lower chest exercises you can do.
- It’s important to do these exercises correctly. There are between 3 to 5 steps you should follow for each one.
- There are 3 benefits of training lower chest muscles.
- It’s possible to do lower chest exercises at home, without any special equipment.
5 Best Lower Chest Exercises
Though dips typically hit the triceps, leaning your torso forward engages your lower pectoral muscle fibers or lower pecs, giving it a sharp cut look.
Chest dips also work the outer chest, which can make your chest look bigger and broader. It's also a functional movement that develops your strength to perform athletic activities.
How to do the dips:
- Grip the dip bars and hold yourself up, arms straight but not locked out, and feet above the ground.
- To engage your lower chest, lean forward at a 45-degree angle while performing the movement.
- Lower your body by bending the elbows, stopping at a 90-degree angle. Engage your core.
- Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
2. Decline Dumbbell Fly
Doing dumbbell fly on a decline surface helps target the lower chest while also bringing the upper back and triceps muscles together.
Not only does this exercise add muscle definition and tone, but it also opens up your chest muscles, increasing your range of motion.
How to do the decline dumbbell fly:
- Lie back on the decline bench with dumbbells in each hand. Lift your arms right above your chest with a slight bend in the elbows.
- Open your arms while keeping the elbows slightly bent and slowly lower them to the sides until they’re the same level as your shoulders. Pause and feel the deep stretch in your chest.
- Lift the dumbbells back up to your starting position - this completes one rep.
3. Decline Dumbbell Press
Decline dumbbell press gives the chest a more round look, makes it look fuller, and increases its thickness.
If you’re new to decline movements, this exercise is a great place to start before the barbell press, so your shoulders can get used to the movement first and prevent risks of injury.
How to do decline dumbbell press:
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand in an overhand-grip and shoulder-width apart.
- Lie back on a decline bench and extend your arms right above you.
- Slowly lower the weights until they reach the chest. Lift the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
4. Decline Bench Press
When it comes to lower chest workouts, for a lot of people the bench press comes to mind first.
Decline bench press is said to be the most effective than the flat and incline bench press in activating the lowest area of the pectoralis major and engaging the upper pecs.
It also puts the least stress on your back and shoulder muscles because the focus is shifted to the lower pecs.
“A mixture of decline, incline, and flat bench presses will ensure you target your chest from top to bottom.” - Robert Stevenson, Personal Trainer and T1 Fitness Owner
How to do decline bench press:
Note: I suggest having a spotter or a smith machine for safety.
- Secure your feet firmly under the pads. Lie back on the bench, and position your eyes under the bar.
- With your palms facing forward, grab the bar and arms slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly unrack the bar and lift it over your chest.
- Inhale as you bring the bar down until it nearly touches the lower part of your chest.
- Exhale as you lift the bar back to its starting position. That’s one rep.
5. High Cable Crossover
Doing the cable crossover in the highest position is another great lower chest exercise for defined pecs. It stretches the pecs all the way from starting position, squeezing the outer chest muscles.
How to do high cable crossover:
- Attach each grip handle at about chest height. Grab the handles and stand between the cable machine, with one foot forward and the other behind.
- Contract your chest while pulling the handles down in front of your body.
- Return your arms up to the starting position to complete one rep.
3 Benefits of Training Your Lower Chest Muscles
Doing lower chest workout goes beyond aesthetics. Here are the benefits of targeting your lower pectoral muscles.
The pectoralis muscles or chest muscle group work to move your arms, so a stronger chest means better stability and mobility for your shoulders. When you have a well-built chest, you're able to move your arms with ease and perform arm workouts efficiently.
If you want to stand taller, relieve back pain, and boost your self-confidence, you’ve got to work on improving your posture .
Working out your chest has a twofold effect on your posture: having sturdy chest muscles strengthens your back muscles as well, and these two muscle groups help keep you upright.
Improved Athletic Performance
Training your chest muscles prepares you for a variety of activities, either in sports or everyday life.
Sports like baseball, football, swimming, or rowing require a strong chest and muscle endurance because athletes need to perform pushing or throwing motions repetitively over a long period.
In everyday life, you need a strong upper body to push carts or heavy doors.
Related: 10 Best Push-Ups For Your Chest
How Can I Work My Lower Chest at Home?
You may do bodyweight exercises at home without any extra equipment or setup. Here are several exercises: bar dips, incline push-ups, pseudo push-ups, and single bar dips.
How Many Lower Chest Muscles Exercises Should I Do?
Too much variety in your workouts can lead to poor quality reps and muscle fatigue. So, just aim to do at least 2-4 different lower chest workouts per session and limit the weekly training volume to 12-16 quality repetitions.
Final Thoughts on Lower Chest Workouts
Chest training in the lower pecs is crucial to build muscle, improve general fitness and boost athletic performance.
These lower pecs workouts can be difficult, but you'll get your results in no time with consistency and discipline.
Make sure to perform the forms correctly to get massive results and avoid risks of injury.