While there’s not many people who genuinely look forward to training their legs, chest day has an altogether different reputation. The key to a well-developed chest is combining a compound lift, specifically the bench press, with isolation movements like the dumbbell fly, and to attack the chest from a range of angles. We’ve already covered the best way to hit the upper chest, so today we’ll outline a simple lower chest workout to help add balance.
In terms of individual muscles there isn’t actually a lower chest you can isolate – essentially any chest exercise will work the entire pectoral area. But you can place more emphasis on the upper and lower chest by training on an incline or a decline bench. While the incline bench places more focus on the upper chest, the decline bench works the lower pectoral a little more.
When it comes to building a well-rounded chest, many people tend to complain that they need to build their upper chest more but in truth there’s usually a simpler explanation. They either don’t have enough muscle mass in general of their body fat is too high, resulting in the classic ‘moobs’ look where fat is stored in the lower chest area. Deliberately targeting a particular part of the chest is best left to those who have been training for a few years and have a reasonably low body fat percentage.
As we mentioned earlier, the key is to use the decline bench to move the focus to the lower half of the chest. Add these exercises to the end of your normal chest workout to help give the lower chest a good workout.
- Decline Bench Press 3 x 8
- Decline Dumbbell Fly 3 x 8
- Decline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 x 8
Decline Bench Press
- Set up on a decline bench with your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulder blades together and lie back on the bench
- The barbell should be grasped slightly outside of shoulder width
- Lift the barbell off the rack and move it to the starting position above the middle of your chest
- Lower the bar in a controlled manner until is just touches your chest
- Raise the bar back up until your arms are straight and your elbows are locked
- Repeat for the desired number of reps
Decline Dumbbell Fly
- Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor
- Lift the dumbbells over your chest with a slight bend in your arms – this is the starting position
- Lower the dumbbells either side of your chest in an arc motion, maintaining the slight bend in the arms
- Return the dumbbells to the starting position in a controlled fashion
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
- On a decline bench with your feet flat on the floor, grab a dumbbell in each hand
- Starting position is the arms above the middle of the chest with palms facing forward
- Lower the weights by bending your elbows until they’re at a 90 degree angle, upper arms parallel to the floor
- Push the weight back to the starting position in a controlled manner
- Repeat for the desired reps