8 Unique Exercises to Force up your Chest Growth
What if you’re doing plenty of bench press but still stuck in terms of adding muscle to certain portions of your pecs? It is known as a lagging muscle group, and many guys, myself included, have struggled with developing either their upper, lower, or middle portions of their chests.
So today I want to give you eight unique exercises that throw into your routine to target your chest differently and force lagging portions of your chest to grow.
1- Incline log or Swiss bar presses
If you don’t have a log bar, then you can use a Swiss bar instead. The point is to use a bar that allows you to take a wide neutral grip.
It will hit your upper chest differently, then regular bench presses, while still allowing you to go heavy.
With regularly inclined presses, many people allow the front of their shoulders to take over the movement and take tension away from the upper chest.
Taking a neutral grip will allow your elbows to follow a more narrow path where they’re closer to your body, keeping tension on the upper portion of the chest. So, to begin, you’re going to grab the neutral grips on a log bar or a Swiss bar and lay back on a bench set to a 30 to 45-degree incline.
Then press the weight, starting from your sternum and ending directly over the line of your shoulders. This should create a slight arc-like path. You want to follow the same arc-like path on the way down. When you come down, you want your hands to end up around your nipple line, and then from there, repeat for reps.
2- Crossbody Incline cable Chest Press
You can see right away that your starting position is very different than most typical chest exercises, even though there’s no such thing as an actual inner chest muscle or an outer chest muscle. By changing the angle that you perform presses from, you’re able to place more tension on different portions of your pectoralis major.
So the cross-body incline chest press is very effective at putting more tension on the inner and upper portion of the chest. So to begin, you’ll take a seat on a bench, but you’re not going to sit straight back. Instead, you’re going to sit at an angle and turn towards the arm that going to be pressing with. You’ll grab the cable and press it straight across your body.
By pressing this way across the midline of your body, you increase the recruitment of the chest muscle fibers closer to the sternum. From there, you’re just going to simply lower back down and repeat for reps, making sure to do each side on each set.
3- Dumbbell pressing exercise
This exercise helps you to target the top portion of the chest muscle. The incline press directly targets the upper chest muscle. You spread your elbows away from your body.
Another way to get more results to incorporate more upper chest is to use a reverse grip. So you’re set on a bench at a 30 to a 45-degree angle. Then press both dumbbells straight up with the help of palms towards your head and slowly lower back down. And as you come down, you want to follow an arc-like path so that the dumbbells end up at about your nipple line. Then press back up in that same arc-like path and repeat for reps.
4- Pectec Fly(Butterfly)
Another exercise that can help with lagging muscle growth around the sternum is the single arm crossbody PECTEC fly.
Now, I’ve heard people say that going any further past the midline of your body is not effective for chest growth. But this couldn’t be further from the truth past the midline of your body. Able to activate the chest in its most shortened position with these kinds of exercises.
If you don’t believe me, feel free to try this without any weight at all, just take your arm, raise it straight in front of you, and try to reach across to your opposite shoulder. While keeping your elbow straight, you will 100% feel your PEC working and likely working in a way that feels very different from traditional chest pressing or fly movements.
So to do this correctly, you’ll take a seat at the peck deck fly, grab one handle and bring it across your body, aiming to bring your hand across to your opposite shoulder, then lower back down in an arc-like path, keeping your elbow bent the entire time. And when you get a nice stretch at the bottom, bring it back and repeat for reps.
5- low to high cable flies
If your upper chest happens to be a lagging muscle group, we can do low to high cable flies after you’ve already gone heavy with some of your more challenging, pressing movements.
So lower both pulleys to the bottom of a cable cross machine and grab a handle in each hand. Then raise both handles up and together at the same time.
Once the handles meet in the middle, directly in front of your chest, squeeze your pecs hard together and lower back down and repeat for reps.
Keep in mind that it’s easy to use your shoulders and allow them to take over this movement. So focus to concentrate on squeezing your chest. And if you notice that you’re using too many shoulders in the movement, you can raise the pulleys a little bit so that they’re still below, but not at the lowest setting.
6- crossbody cable and dumbbell presses
we have an exercise similar to the crossbody cable and dumbbell presses to target the inner chest with the angled single-arm dumbbell press. You can also do this one on a hammer strength machine if you’re struggling with stabilization, and I’ll show you how to do both.
With the dumbbell press, your starting position will be angled towards the side that you’re going to be pressing with, and you’ll be pressing straight up across the midline of your body, just like with the cable that we were doing earlier.
To make this exercise more effective, I recommend grabbing something with your other hand that you can use to stabilize your body and lift a heavier weight. So after getting into the starting position, simply press the dumbbell across your body and squeeze your chest at the top, then lower back down and repeat for reps.
7- crossbody cable and dumbbell presses
the incline hammer strength machine is one of the few machines that’s excellent at hitting your chest, specifically your upper chest. Make sure that you use this machine only after you’ve already done some heavy, more challenging barbell and dumbbell exercises.
It will actually help you use and focus on your chest rather than your arms. So you’re going to adjust the incline bench so that the handles end up around your nipple line when you take a seat.
Then you’re going to press straight up and at the top of each rep you want to pause for a second and squeeze your pecs together.
Then slowly lower back down and repeat for reps going back to the cables, we can perform cross body flies to get a nice peak chest contraction at the end of each rep while still being able to use both arms simultaneously.
So you’re going to raise the pulleys a little higher off the ground than before so that they’re about even with your shoulders or slightly lower than your shoulders.
Then you’ll grab a cable in each hand and perform a fly by keeping your elbows bent and bringing your arms together like you’re hugging a tree. Rather than stopping in the middle of your chest, you’re going to keep coming across until one arm fully crosses over the top of the other
8- low to high dumbbell fly
Another unique exercise is the low to high dumbbell fly.
Again, this one is intended to help target more of your upper chest fibers, so you’re going to set the bench at about a 45-degree angle.
Then you’re going to grab two dumbbells and make sure that you grab lighter than what you normally use for regular flies. Take a seat on the bench and lean back with both dumbbells at your sides.
Turn your hands over so that your thumbs are slightly facing away from you and while keeping the elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells away from your body out to the side.
That right there is going to be your starting position. So from there, you’ll raise the dumbbells and bring them together in a similar way to the low to high cable crossovers.
As you’re lifting the dumbbells, pretend that you’re trying to lead with your elbows and bring them together. Then repeat reps. So that about wraps it up. Those exercises are great to throw into your routine.
That isn’t supposed to be an entire workout, but you can take a couple of these exercises and throw them into your routine to help you break through this lagging chest plateau. If you’ve enjoyed this article, make sure you follow my website.
Also, to maximize the results you get from the time you spend breaking down your chest at the gym, you’ll need to make sure that you’re eating the right muscle-building foods in the right amounts.
All too often, people will work out without focusing on nutrition, or they’ll eat as much as they can, and both of these routes will lead to bad results. So if you’re looking for a done-for-you approach that will help you hit your goals as fast as possible with minimum hiccups along the way, we can help.