Having well-defined pectorals, or “pecs” for short, is essential to a balanced body. A great chest definitely turns heads, but more importantly, it’s essential to making an athlete stronger for competition and for helping perform many everyday tasks.
When talking about your chest, it’s important to remember that the pecs consist of three separate sections: upper, mid, and lower.
Interestingly, the most commonly discussed body part when talking about someone’s strength is chest-related. How many times have you heard someone say, “How much can you bench”?
All of the action hero greats from Conan the Barbarian to Rocky Balboa have all had great chest muscles. It’s no wonder that society has an obsession with them.
While having strong, defined pecs may look good, the benefit goes deeper than appearance. Your pectoralis muscles work to move your arm. This muscle group is responsible for lateral, vertical, and rotational movements of the shoulder joint.
Needless to say, pecs are critical to shoulder strength and mobility. If you want to ensure that your shoulder maintains the necessary function to move your arm in every direction, you’ll need to keep those pecs strong. The body is intricately connected through all of these muscle groups.
It takes time to create balance and shape, but with quality exercises, regular workouts, and rest, you’ll start to see results in no time. Below are four great exercises to help you chisel out your lower pecs.
- Hold yourself up between two bars that are slightly wider than hip-width apart, arms straight but not locked out, and feet off the floor.
- To lower yourself down, bend the elbows, stopping at a 90-degree angle in your elbows while keeping your core tight.
- Without swinging, press down through the hands and raise the body up to the starting position.
- Complete 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps using a 3-second slow up and down tempo.
- Lay back on a decline bench with one dumbbell in each hand raised straight over your chest.
- With a flat back on the bench and a soft bend in both elbows, slowly lower the arms out to the sides. Only go as wide as you can with putting too much stress on your shoulders, and do not let your elbows go lower than your chest. Focus on squeezing your pecs.
- Brace the core, keeping the back down on the bench without arching, while squeezing the pecs, and press the dumbbells back up over the chest to their starting position.
- Complete 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps with a medium to heavy weight.
- Lay back on a decline bench with dumbbells raised over your chest, hands rotated out and positioned to make a “V.”
- Lower the weights down towards your armpits slowly. As you lower, rotate the elbows inward towards each other to create an “A,” bringing each dumbbell just above the space between your pec and shoulder.
- Slowly press both arms back up towards the starting position and carefully rotate both arms outwardly until you return to the starting position.
- Complete 4 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 reps with medium to heavy weight.
- Stand with one foot forward and one foot back while holding both cables in each hand.
- With a soft bend in both elbows, bring your arms together in front of the body, lightly touching your fingertips.
- When your fingers touch, squeeze your pecs together as hard as you can, then alternate opening and closing your arms in a pulsing motion, quickly focusing just on the chest.
- Squeeze for 20 reps.
- Slowly release the arms out wide, back to their starting position and rest.
- Complete 5 sets of 20 reps at medium weight.
These four exercises will help you build fully defined pecs. Adding these exercises to a standard chest workout will help spice things up and give you the tools needed to create size and shape to show off your lower third.
Regardless of your goals, always remember to maintain high-quality form and progress yourself when and where it’s appropriate.