Despite what some say it is completely possible to target a different parts of a muscle.
Anyone who has ever gone from something like a standing barbell curl to a spider curl can confirm muscle-targeting is a real thing.
So, how do we go about targeting just one part of a large muscle? Is it even possible or do genetics dictate our chest-crack 100%?
How to Stimulate the Inner Part of the Pectoralis Major
Again, we must emphasis that you CAN indeed focus stimulation on the inner part of the chest. Still don’t believe us? Who would argue that there’s no difference between dumbbell presses and dumbbell flyes? Of course there is! You have stretching-pushing motions vs. stretching-pinching motions. Same with barbell curls and spider curls. Same with squats and leg extensions.
However, we do admit that it is true you cannot singularly isolate the inner pec exclusively. No matter what chest motion you do you will be engaging the entire chest; it’s just a matter of emphasis.
This isn’t a bad thing. By focusing on one part while incorporating the whole muscle group will only result in a more well-rounded and balanced physique. What we want to do here is just split the load up like 60/40 on the inner/outer part of the pecs.
Why Changing Your Grip Doesn’t Always Work For Inner Chest Development
One of the most common pieces of advice handed out in the gym regarding stimulating inner/outer parts of muscle groups is that you simply have to change up your grip.
This holds true for many muscle groups. For wider backs you widen your pat pulldown grip. To hit the outer bicep more than the inner you also widen your grip. Logic that can be felt in the gym.
For the chest however it’s not quite so simple. Bench pressing in particular requires maintaining strict form. There are variations that will allow you to hit the chest from different angles such as pressing with close grip or reverse grip.
However, there is a confined range for hand placement, too close and the wrists are strained. Too wide and range of motion is decreased and re-racking the weight becomes a challenge.
Instead, stop thinking pushing and start thinking “pinching” to place extra emphasis on your inner pecs.
How to Pinch the Sh*t Out of Your Pecs
Sure, flyes provide some serious chestical squeezing and are a must-do staple for complete chest development. There exists however an exercise that is the master of pinching movements. It’s so pinchy it should have been called the crab-press.
The movement we’re talking about here is the plate press (Or reclined, single-plate Svend Press). Simply explained, laying on a flat bench or a bench with a very slight angle grab a 15-45lb plate and open palm squeeze it in the center while pressing upwards.
BSN athlete Scott Herman from Scott Herman Fitness demonstrates this exercise perfectly:
***Skinny Yoked Chest Press Tip***
We’ve been incorporating plate presses into our workout over the last month and are absolutely in love with them. Nothing get’s that titty-squeeze pump better. One problem we encountered though was that by the end of our workout our hands are usually sweaty as f*ck, making gripping the plates a scary task.
After one plate completely slipped out of our grip and cracking down on our upper sternum we started looking for ways to “hack” this exercise to make it safer.
Here’s what we came up with:
1. FINGER THAT PLATE!
Put one of your center fingers through the hole where the bar goes. We used our middle finger because it’s our strongest one, it makes it through thick plates and is pretty strong, not that we’re constantly using it or anything (joke).
2. CREATE A HANGING POINT FOR SAFETY & HIGHER REPS WITHOUT SLIPPAGE
Press both hands, palms flat, together while interlocking your middle fingers between fingers of the opposing hand. The idea hear is to balance out the weight distribution of the plate. As previously mentioned, trying to just open palm grip a flat 45lb plate is pretty hard, and equally dangerous.
By sticking a finger through the center to “hang” the weight a little you supplement friction as your only means of holding the weight.
Note: you don’t want to let all the weight rest on your crossed fingers, this defies the essence of the plate press, which is to focus on a squeezing/pinching motion.
4. DISTRIBUTE WEIGHT EVENLY BETWEEN HANGING/PRESSING FORCES
Try to distribute the weight of the plate 50/50 between your connected fingers in the center and the pressing motion exerted by your opposing palms.
Put together it will look like this:
Now you’re set. Plate press away. Focus on the pressing of your palms together and squeezing of your pectoral muscles. Build that inner chest by working it in a way you haven’t before!
Still looking for more ways to bring up a struggling chest? The guys at Critical Bench have an excellent workout program designed for hard-gainers who want to build bear-like chests we recommend checking out.