A Guide To Exercises That Target The Inner Chest

The quest for exercises that stimulate the inner part of the chest is much like the search for the holy grail for many bodybuilders.

As we all know, there are no separate “inner” and “outer” chest muscles but instead one large pectoralis major which stretches the entire breath of each side of the chest.

Why Ectomorphs Struggle to Develop Inner Pecs

For ectomorphs, getting solid chest development, especially the “inner” part can be quite difficult.

Often times being long limbed, our arms have a tendency to take over the movement instead of letting the pecs take the full workload, which is required if they are to grow.

Similarly, because of our long arms and joint mechanics, developing the outer peck often happens quite easily, as we tend to get a really good stretch at the bottom, “decentric” part of the movement.

Getting the good squeeze at the top and the pinch on the other hand, can be a little more difficult.

Long arms aren’t always such a useful thing and in the case of benching, can make moving that weight a more challenging task.

ectomorph chest

At the end of the day however it is the struggle and our bodies response to it that creates muscle growth; resistance and hypertrophy are the pillars of bodybuilding.

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. chest muscle diagram

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.

chest broInstead, 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:

The plate press is an absolutely awesome finisher exercise after a fully brutal chest day.
Since the weight your limited to supporting with your hands is dictated largely in how much surface friction you can generate it’s best to shoot for high reps on this one, and always after pre-exhausting the chest beforehand.
To really take things up a notch try super-setting plate presses with pushup variations to utterly destroy your entire chest, including the inner part, on your next chest day!

***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. Get Knuckle Deep In 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).

how to plate press

Get in there deep, as close to your third knuckle as possible as it provides a little more stability, which you want when hoisting 45lb over your face.

2. Create a Hanging Point For Safety & Higher Volume

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.

plate pressing for chestBy 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. Try to Distribute Weight Between Clamping and Hanging 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:

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