When it comes to developing a well-rounded chest, bench pressing will only get you part of the way there. While it should obviously be the foundation of any chest building routine, to get truly impressive pecs you’ll need an effective upper and inner chest workout.
Over time, focusing only on bench press will leave most people with pecs which have thick outer edges, with the upper and inner chest often falling behind. Developing these areas properly requires training them with plenty of intensity to bring them up to the rest of the chest, and with the chest being one of the trickiest areas to add mass for most people it’s going to require some extra effort.
If you have a particular day you like to hit chest then it’s worth throwing these exercises into the mix, otherwise just add them to the end of the day you train your bench press and you’ll start to see results.
- Close-Grip Bench Press 2 x 8
- Flyes 2 x 8
- Cable Crossovers 2 x 8
- Incline Flyes 2 x 8
Close-Grip Bench Press
Typically used to target the triceps, the close grip bench press can also be extremely effective at targeting the inner chest if you really focus on slowing the movement down and squeezing the pecs together at the top of the lift.
You’ll need to drop the weight you use for normal bench quite a bit to allow you to focus on your form, but once you get into the habit of really focusing on the squeeze you can start to up the weight a little.
- Set up on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor
- Grip the bar just inside shoulder width
- Raise the bar so it’s above the middle of your chest
- Slowly lower the bar until it’s just above your chest, then push it back to the starting position
- When you reach the top of the movement, squeeze your pecs together
- Repeat the movement for the target number of reps
While flyes are a great exercise for targeting the whole chest, you can target the inner chest a little more by really focusing on the squeeze at the top of the lift (similar to the close grip bench press). As your arms come together, really focus on squeezing the pecs together and you’ll start to feel the difference.
- Set up on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand
- Lift the dumbbells above your chest, arms fully extended but with a slight bend in your elbows
- Lower the dumbbells outwards in an arc, maintaining the slight bend in your arm
- Slowly raise the weight to the starting position, squeezing the pecs together at the top of the movement.
One of the most effective exercises for adding mass and definition to the entire pectoral muscle, cable crossovers are particularly effective for the inner and lower pecs. As with the other movements, really focus on squeezing the pecs as you cross your arms.
- Set up the pulley with the handles at shoulder height
- Stand around a foot in front of the machine with one foot in front of the other and grip the handles
- Bring your hands together in front of your chest, maintaining a slight bend in the elbows
- Pause at the bottom of the movement, squeezing the pecs together, before slowly returning to the start position
Incline flyes are one of the best exercises for hitting the upper chest, but by really focusing on squeezing the pecs together you can target the upper-inner chest area. Form is the same as for regular flyes, really focus on the squeeze at the top of the movement.
- Set up on a bench at a 45 degree angle, feet firmly on the floor
- Extend the arms and lift the weight above your chest, with a slight bend in the arms
- Slowly lower the weight outwards in an arc, maintaining the bend in your elbows
- Raise the weight back to the starting position and squeeze the pecs together at the top of the movement