10 Lower Chest Workouts For Well-Defined & Rounded Pecs

One of the main goals of every man who goes to the gym is to build chest muscles.

Although every chest exercise trains the lower pecs, we often find it way more difficult to emphasize the lower pecs compared to the upper pecs.

That's why we analyzed numerous exercises to discover the ones that target those muscle group fibers primarily.

The following 10 are the movements that have proven to be the most effective.

So how to workout lower chest?

Each of the best lower chest exercises (sometimes called hugging muscle) will affect not only the strength and size of the lower pecs but also the entire chest, anterior deltoids, and triceps.

Therefore, everyone should incorporate them into their workouts.

1. Bar Dips

This exercise is very popular both because of its effectiveness and because you can do it anywhere, so it is suitable for a calisthenics workout.

Weak wrists and core often prevent people from doing this exercise. If you are one of them, start with static holds, band-assisted dips, and negative dips until you can do parallel bar dips properly.

Have you ever heard someone referring to the bar dip as "the squat of the entire upper body?"

This is quite true since there are not many, if any, upper body exercises that can involve so many muscle groups.

Advanced exercisers often decide to add weight with a dip belt and thus make dips even more difficult.

We compiled a list of even more dip bar exercises here!

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, forearms, lower back, core

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Stand between the bars or in front of it, depending on the type of bar, and hold it firmly with both hands.
  2. 2
    Begin by extending your arms.
  3. 3
    Bend your elbows and begin to slowly descend your body to include the negatives in the movement.
  4. 4
    When you have reached your maximum in terms of the range of motion and strength, push back to the starting position.
Man Doing Bar Dips

2. Chest Dips

This is a variation of the classic dip exercise. When you lean your chest forward, you will shift the focus from the triceps to the pectorals. 

How far forward you will lean depends on your anatomy, goal, and pecs strength.

When you perform the chest dip exercise, your shoulders will go past your elbows, thus putting your pecs under greater tension. It is also a great way to protect your shoulder muscles.

Shoulders often get hurt during dips, so if you've had a recent injury or just want to keep them safe, be careful with this variation in your workouts.

Learn More - Chest Dips Vs Tricep Dips

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, forearms, core

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Stand between the bars and hold it firmly with both hands.
  2. 2
    Extend your arms and lean slightly forward.
  3. 3
    Keep elbows bent to avoid elbow strain and lower your body.
  4. 4
    The whole movement should be controlled.
  5. 5
    At the bottom of the movement, push back up. Avoid using momentum.
Pro Tip: Use a dip station or dip machine for this exercise rather than parallel dip bars.
Man Doing Weighted Chest Dips

3. Bench Press or Decline Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most popular weight training exercises and is sometimes considered the best lower chest workout.

It is a compound movement that activates some of the biggest upper body muscles. The chest press is crucial for building strength and increasing muscle mass.

You can use a barbell or dumbbells for the bench press.

A barbell bench press allows you to push more weight while dumbbells are safer because you can drop them next to you in case of mid-rep failure.

Some people feel dizzy doing a decline dumbbell bench press (or any other decline bench press alternative variation).

If this is the case with you, try to change the decline angle or skip decline bench press and replace it with one of the following below.

If you don't have these problems, then definitely include it in your routine.

We believe that the flat bench press is already part of your training, so we won't emphasize it any further.

It is bodybuilding 101, after all. You can try floor press too. Changing bench press grips is useful, so try shoulder width grip, then go wider until you feel lower chest muscles being more involved.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Put weights on a barbell or place dumbbells close to you.
  2. 2
    Lie down on the flat/slight decline bench.
  3. 3
    Grip a barbell slightly wider than shoulder width or place dumbbells at that width.
  4. 4
    Slowly lower the weight to your sternum (breastbone).
  5. 5
    Pause in the bottom position for a moment.
  6. 6
    Press the weight back up.
Pro Tip: When you lie down on the bench, do a move similar to Superman ripping his shirt. This is the ideal shoulder position for this exercise. 
Of course, don't really rip the shirt; just simulate that move.
Man Doing Decline Bench Press

4. Cable Crossover

The cable crossover is often called the cable chest fly, so we could have mentioned it as a variation or alternative of the chest fly.

However, the cable crossover is one of the most important lower chest exercises so I felt it necessary to single it out as a separate exercise.

There are several reasons why this exercise is one of the best lower chest exercises. The first reason is the angle at which you target the lower chest region when you lean your torso forward.

Another reason is the huge range of motion, which is practically impossible with any other exercise. The only downside is that you will need access to a cable machine.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoids, biceps brachii

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Set the cable machine pulleys at the highest level.
  2. 2
    Stand in-between with one foot in front of the other and take both handles.
  3. 3
    Lean your torso forward, the same as for the chest dip. Maintain your spine straight and a slight bend of the elbows.
  4. 4
    Keep the core tight.
  5. 5
    Pull both handles down and across your body.
  6. 6
    At the end of the movement, squeeze the lower chest muscles.
  7. 7
    Slowly return to the starting position without extending the elbows.
Pro Tip: Don't go for the maximum weight. It is much more important to correctly perform the exercise through the entire ROM.
Woman Doing Cable Crossover

5. Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is a challenging exercise for beginners and even for advanced exercisers because it also targets some less active muscles such as the serratus anterior and teres major. 

Working on those muscles will give the lower pec muscle fibers a more defined look and increased strength, which will translate into an improved bench press and other exercises.

If you feel shoulder pain while performing the dumbbell pullover, reduce the weight or try a dumbbell pullover alternative workout.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, teres major, triceps brachii, deltoids

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Lie on your back on a bench or lie on the edge of the bench depending on what you find more comfortable.
  2. 2
    Slightly bend your elbows and hold one dumbbell with both hands.
  3. 3
    Place the dumbbell over your chest.
  4. 4
    Extend the arms back and let the weight reach behind the head.
  5. 5
    When you've stretched your lower pecs and lats to the limit, pull the dumbbell back to the starting position.
Pro Tip: The resistance band may help beginners and those with shoulder pain to progress with this exercise before moving on to the dumbbell pullover.
Man Doing Dumbbell Pullover on a Bench

6. Chest Flys

You can do chest flys on a flat, incline, or decline bench using cables, dumbbells, or machines. This makes flys one of the most versatile exercises for the pectoralis muscles.

Decline dumbbell fly or cable fly is especially beneficial for the lower pecs. During most of the movement, it emphasizes exactly the lower muscle fibers that you want to train.

When you are in that position, shoulders and upper pecs are significantly less involved. So we get something similar to an isolation exercise.

Of course, lower pecs can't be totally isolated since it is compound movement and because of the characteristics of the pectoralis major, which we will explain in depth later.

Weight for chest flys should be considerably lighter than for bench presses to avoid getting hurt. Rotator cuff injuries are the most common.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoids, biceps brachii, serratus anterior

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Lie down on the bench.
  2. 2
    Take dumbbells or handles.
  3. 3
    Push the weight above your chest, with your palms facing each other, and a slight bend of the elbows is recommended.
  4. 4
    Drive your arms slowly outward.
  5. 5
    Aim for width, not depth.
  6. 6
    As you get to the bottom of the flye, pause for a moment, and then push the weight back to the starting position.
Pro Tip: Avoid touching the dumbbells or handles at the top of the movement to keep the muscles under tension throughout the full ROM.
Man Doing Dumbbell Chest Flys

7. Underhand Front Raise

You need to have a pair of dumbbells for this lower pectoral exercise.

Unlike the standing underhand front raise, where the focus is on the anterior deltoids and the focus shifts to the upper chest when you sit down, the angle and thus target muscles change.

The angle of sitting on the incline bench is what you need to target the lower pectoral muscles. It is very simple to perform this exercise, so it is also suitable for beginners.

On the flip side, it's difficult to lift heavy weights from that angle, so always strive for lighter weight, more reps, and proper execution.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoids, biceps brachii

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Set the incline bench at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees.
  2. 2
    Place dumbbells on both sides.
  3. 3
    Sit down, grab the dumbbells and place them on your knees.
  4. 4
    Lift the weights up front until you reach the level of your middle chest.
  5. 5
    Then, return the dumbbells to the level of your thighs.
Man Doing Underhand Front Raise

8. Plate Pinch Press

A plate pinch press or a plate squeeze press specifically targets the inner chest. For most, it is even harder to target the inner chest than the lower chest muscle fibers.

The goal of this exercise is not to improve overall strength but to build the inner and lower chest due to increased time under tension.

Since you have to squeeze the weight all the time, the contraction of the pecs lasts through the entire range of motion.

It would be best if you did the plate pinch press to failure to stimulate the muscles. It is possible to reach failure with a lighter weight. You should go with lighter weight for safety reasons as well.

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoids, triceps brachii

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Lay on a flat or incline bench.
  2. 2
    Grab the plate between your hands and hold it firmly.
  3. 3
    Perform bench press movement but don’t forget to squeeze the plate throughout the repetition and thus maintain constant tension.
  4. 4
    Add a negative phase too.
Man in Blue Shirt Doing Plate Pinch Press

9. Machine Triceps Pushdown

Triceps are the primary muscles in this exercise as the name suggests.

However, chest muscle is secondary muscles, and you will be surprised how much the pecs are actually involved in this movement.

While, for example, the cable pushdown is an isolation exercise for the triceps, the machine pushdown affects other muscles as well.

There is another benefit of doing this exercise. Strengthening the triceps and upper arms as well as the chest in general allows you to progress on the bench press and other exercises where the pecs are the primary muscles.

Also Check Out - Best Gym Machines For Arm Fat Loss

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, trapezius

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Set the appropriate weight.
  2. 2
    Sit and grab the handles.
  3. 3
    Keep elbows slightly bent.
  4. 4
    Push the weight down.
  5. 5
    Make sure your elbows don't go outward.
  6. 6
    Control the weight as it returns to the starting position.
Pro Tip: If you notice your back bends during the exercise and feel fatigued in your back muscles, you should reduce the weight.
Man Doing Machine Triceps Pushdown

10. Incline & Decline Push-Ups

You just can't go wrong with the push-up. This all-time classic can be a useful part of an entire warm-up routine or workout, whether gym or calisthenics.

I especially like to do push-ups during a vacation to stay in shape if I don't have access to the gym.

For lower pecs, incline and decline push-ups are more valuable than basic ones. However, for maximum efficiency, do them to failure and think about going through the entire range of motion.

If you can do more than 40 push-ups in a single set, put a weight plate on your back or wear a weighted vest for incline and decline variations because it is more comfortable.

Read More - Push Ups Vs Bench Press

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior shoulders, latissimus dorsi, biceps brachii, core

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Depending on whether you are doing decline or incline push-ups, put your hands or toes/knees on the bench or box in push-up position.
  2. 2
    Whether you will place your hands shoulder width, closer or wider depends on your strength and which muscles you want to primarily target.
  3. 3
    Keep the spine straight and shoulder blades retracted toward’s your body’s midline.
  4. 4
    Slowly lower yourself until your chest is close to the floor/box/bench.
  5. 5
    Explosively return to the starting position.
Woman Doing Decline Push-Ups

Anatomy Of The Chest – Muscles Explained!

Even though we often talk about the upper, middle, and lower pecs, it is actually a single large superficial muscle located in the upper body.

Unlike the deltoids, which are three separate muscles, the pectoralis major is composed of only one set of muscle fibers.

The pectoralis minor is the lower portion located under the pec major and has great anatomical importance because it stabilizes the scapula. But visually, only the pectoralis major matters.

Then the question arises of how it is possible to target lower pecs when it is not two muscles. However, research has shown that regional hypertrophy is possible.[1]

In order to better explain it to you, it is necessary to talk about the origin and insertion points of a muscle.

The pectoralis major is a large, triangular or fan-shaped muscle; hence it has multiple insertion points. This is exactly the reason why you can target different parts of the same muscle.

Also, muscle fibers run in somewhat different directions, which also has an impact.

The middle and lower pecs (sternal head) belong to the sternocostal part of the muscle, while the upper pecs belong to the clavicular part because the insertion point is on the collarbone (clavicle) and the humerus (upper arm bone) too.

Therefore the angle at which you bring your arm forward determines which part of the pectoral muscle will be more engaged, but the whole muscle will always be involved in the movement.

The origin of the pectoralis minor is located on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs while it inserts into the coracoid process of the scapula.[2]

Man Doing Cable Machine Flys

The Benefits Of Training Your Lower Chest

Well-rounded, defined chest muscles are certainly not the only benefit of training your lower chest. Aesthetics is only one less important part of the puzzle.

Improved Posture

Lordosis, kyphosis, and scoliosis are some of the most common abnormalities of the spine.

When treating these problems, the focus is usually on the back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, while the chest muscles are often overlooked.

Since these are very large muscles, their weakness or stiffness can also cause improper posture or muscle imbalance.

On the other hand, when you train the pectoral muscles, you achieve a better posture of the spine and the position of the shoulders.

Better Breathing

Chest muscles, attached to your ribs, and intercostal muscles, that lie between your ribs, play a key role in breathing.

Strong muscles in that region enable deep breathing and thereby increase lung capacity.

Improved Athletic Performance

Your athletic performance will benefit you in different ways.

Deeper breathing, which we talked about in the previous paragraph, is crucial for performance because your heart, brain, and the rest of the body will get a significantly higher amount of oxygen during maximum efforts.

That's not all. Strong pecs affect the weights you can lift during a workout, and as you get stronger, your performance improves.


Common Lower Chest Questions

How long does it take to build the lower chest muscles?

The answer depends on several factors such as frequency and volume of workouts, nutrition, recovery routine, and genetics.

How many exercises should I do for my lower chest?

Two to three exercises, three to four sets, and 8-15 reps are enough per workout.

How many times should I work out my chest a week?

There is no need for more than two workouts focused on the chest weekly.

How do I know if my chest is growing?

You can measure the chest at the beginning and then compare results every few weeks.

Why is my lower chest not growing?

They usually need more time to get big, so maybe you just can’t notice muscle growth with the naked eye but your lower chest muscles slightly grow every day.

How do you warm up your chest before exercising?

Active stretching, push-ups, and a few basic chest exercises including barbell bench press using light weights should be part of your warm-up routine on chest day.


Conclusion

Persistence is the key to building lower pectoral muscles with our list of the best lower chest exercises.

Unlike some other muscles that will noticeably grow after a few weeks, lower pecs require more time and effort.

We believe that you will find all the information we have given you useful, and do not forget that regular lower chest workout, nutrition, and rest are indispensable.

References: 

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34743671/

2. https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/pectoralis-minor-muscle

Filip Maric

Last Updated on December 18, 2022