Connect with us

Bodybuilding

The 10 Best Lower Chest Exercises

Published

on

The Best Lower Chest Exercises

What are the best lower chest exercises? 

The best lower chest exercises help with the development of strength and definition in the pectoralis minor muscles.

They’re also an effective method for boosting overall strength in the upper body and can assist with growth in other muscles, including the triceps, back, and shoulders.

This guide explores the best exercises for the lower chest, breaking down how to perform them and when to include them in your gym routines.

 

The Best Lower Chest Exercises

Our exercise lists are created by determining the best exercises for muscle growth, core strength, and overall health and well-being. 

Here’s our list of the 10 best lower chest exercises:

 

10. Barbell Bench Press

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Barbell Bench Press

Great for:

The barbell bench press is one of the most popular exercises for building upper body strength and power. 

It activates the full pectoral region and engages the triceps and biceps, making it an essential compound movement.

How to do it:

Stack a barbell with your weights of choice while it’s on the bench rack, then:

  1. Lie on the bench and take the barbell in both hands with an overhand grip, at shoulder-width distance
  2. Tighten your glutes and drive your feet into the floor
  3. Pull in your shoulder blades and lift the barbell off the rack holding it above your chest
  4. Lower the bar slowly until it lightly touches the center of your chest
  5. Push the bar back up to the starting position, activating your chest muscles as you do so

Why:

As well as improving upper body strength and pectoral development, the barbell bench press will help improve push-ups and a range of sporting activities.

While you should include other chest exercises in your routines, this chest exercise stands out as one which will deliver impressive gains.

When:

Performing the barbell bench press 2-3 times per week as part of your chest day sessions will lead to great results. 

It’s also a perfect addition to full-body workouts, hitting a range of other muscles for each rep performed.

 

9. Jackhammer Pushdowns

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Jackhammer Pushdowns

Great for:

Resembling an inverted tricep pushdown, the jackhammer pushdown allows you to target your lower chest by pushing down with cable-loaded weights.

Get the form right, and you’ll engage a nice selection of secondary muscles as well as improve core stability.

How to do it:

Move the pulley for a cable machine up to the top, and add the weights of your choosing. Then:

  1. Take the cable grip in both hands with the cable coming down over your shoulder
  2. Lean over the cable grip bar, so you’re looking down to the ground with your hands at waist width
  3. Push the cable bar down, keeping your body poised above it
  4. Make sure you’re driving the bar down from the chest, avoiding just using your arms to perform the motion

Why:

Both the pectoralis major and minor are activated with jackhammer pushdowns, with the former in particular getting a focused workout.

In addition, traps, lats, obliques, and even your abs are worked with this chest workout, making it perhaps the best lower chest exercise to include in full-body sessions.

When:

This is a great exercise to include either as part of your chest day sessions or a full-body workout. 

Ensure you get the form correct; otherwise, you’ll be sacrificing results and won’t get the full benefits for your balance and stability.

 

8. Decline Dumbbell Press With Rotation

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Decline Dumbbell Press With Rotation

Great for:

Adding a rotation when performing the decline dumbbell press eases tension and stress on your shoulders at the top of the press.

This places the shoulders in a safer position, meaning you can build your chest muscles with a lower risk of injury.

How to do it:

Set a bench in the declined position and grab the dumbbells of your choice, then:

  1. Hook in your feet and lie back on the bench
  2. Take the dumbbells and hold them above your shoulders with your palms pointing towards your feet
  3. Engage your chest muscles, then push the dumbbells up over your head
  4. As the dumbbells reach the top of this movement, twist your hands so that your palms come to an inward-facing position
  5. Lower the weights back down to the starting position in a controlled motion, returning your wrists to the original orientation

Why:

As well as relieving pressure on your shoulder joints, the decline dumbbell press with rotation also works additional muscles in the chest.

By rotating your hands as you reach the top of each repetition, different areas of the pectoralis major get engaged.

When:

This is a fantastic chest workout for those who may have injuries to their shoulder or are concerned about causing damage. 

The reduced risk from the rotation means you can push towards using heavier weights, too.

 

7. Dumbbell Pullovers

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Dumbbell Pullover

Great for:

In order to fully develop your chest muscle, you need them to stretch, and dumbbell pullovers fulfill this necessity perfectly.

This lower chest workout can take a little time to master, so begin with lighter weights to avoid tearing your chest muscle.

How to do it:

Grab a bench and a dumbbell with the weight of your preference, then:

  1. Lie back on the bench holding one end of the dumbbell with both hands, palms facing outwards
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor to stabilize your body
  3. Holding the dumbbell directly over your head, lower it back and down behind your head with your chest muscles engaged
  4. At the end of this movement, your arms should be in line with the bench
  5. Return the dumbbell to the starting position

Why:

As well as stretching and developing muscles in the lower chest, dumbbell pullovers give your lats a good workout as well.

They’re also a good way to improve flexibility and joint health in your shoulders, which play a large role in the range of motions for each repetition.

When:

If you’re using a lighter weight, you can perform 15-20 repetitions across 2-3 sets to help build strength and endurance.

 

6. Decline Dumbbell Flyes

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Decline Dumbbell Flyes

Great for:

This is an effective lower chest exercise that also involves the anterior deltoids.

By adding this decline to the bench, this workout helps you to target your lower chest muscles more effectively than a traditional flat bench flye activity.

How to do it:

Set the bench in a decline position, then take your dumbbells:

  1. Hook your feet into the bench and lie downwards
  2. Bring the dumbbells up over your head with a slight bend to your elbows and palms facing inwards
  3. Lower your arms down to the sides, engaging your chest region while maintaining the slight elbow bend
  4. Raise the weights back to the starting position, keeping your chest muscles tightly engaged

Why:

The downward angle of the bench makes the dumbbell flyes ideal for activating lower chest muscles nearer the sternum. 

You’ll also experience a tightening of your core, enhancing stability, while your biceps and shoulders will also be engaged.

When:

Include the decline dumbbell flyes exercise in your chest day workouts to really hit the lower chest muscles.

 

5. Decline Barbell Bench Press

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Decline Barbell Bench Press

Great for:

Decline barbell bench presses deliver greater activation of the lower pecs, allowing you to focus on stretching and developing this region.

The triceps are also activated while your core is engaged through balance and control of the lift.

How to do it:

To perform the decline barbell bench press:

  1. Set the bench in a decline position and load the weights onto the barbell
  2. Secure your feet and lie under the bar, taking it in both hands, with palms facing forwards at shoulder-width
  3. Lift the bar off the rack and hold it over your chest
  4. Slowly lower the bar towards your chest until it touches it, then hold for a second
  5. Push the barbell back up to the starting position, using your pectorals to drive it upwards

Why:

If you want to reduce stress on your back and shoulders, including decline barbell bench presses in your routine is a great option.

With this method, you can also lift more weight, meaning your lower chest will benefit more than it would from a traditional bench press.

When:

This chest exercise is ideal for bodybuilders and athletes who want to give their lower chest a great workout. 

 

4. Cable Crossovers

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Cable Crossover

Great for:

This exercise targets the muscles in your lower chest, namely the pectoralis major and the sternal head of this muscle.

Cable crossovers also engage your back and shoulder, assisting with better motion in the latter.

How to do it:

Set both cables to the top of the pulleys on the cable machine with the desired weights, then:

  1. Take a cable in each hand and adopt a stance with one foot slightly forward and the other foot slightly back, so you’re leaning forwards a touch
  2. With your palms pointing inwards, drive both cables forward to the front of your chest, engaging your lower pecs as you do so
  3. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows as your hands come together, then pause before reversing this motion back to the start position

Why:

Cable crossovers impact the lower chest through their broad, sweeping motion, making sure the muscles in this area are thoroughly engaged.

Since your pecs are stretched from the start position right through each repetition, strength and muscle growth are greatly enhanced with this exercise.

When:

To start seeing benefits from cable crossovers, include them 2-3 times per week as part of your chest day routines.

 

3. Incline Push-Ups

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Incline Push Up

Great for:

Push-ups are one of the best chest exercises there is and can be performed with no equipment and minimal space. 

By adding an incline to this exercise, you can better target your lower chest to build additional strength in your pecs.

How to do it:

Grab a bench or another elevated surface you can find, then:

  1. Place your hands on the edge of the elevated surface at shoulder-width distance apart
  2. Place your feet back so your legs are straight and your weight is resting on your toes
  3. Lower yourself down towards the elevated surface until your chest nearly touches it
  4. Hold here for a second, then push back up to the starting position, engaging your chest, so it does the lifting

Why:

By reducing stress on your body due to the inclined nature of these push-ups, you can perform more reps safely while giving your lower pecs more attention.

It’s also great for those experiencing upper body strain or suffering from joint problems, meaning you can still work out while recovering.

When:

Incline push-ups work well as part of a chest day gym session, but you can also throw a few sets and reps in as part of a broader warmup routine too.

 

2. Chest Dips

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Chest Dips

Great for:

If you want to develop muscles in your lower chest while engaging a range of other key muscle groups, chest dips fit the bill.

While this chest exercise primarily targets the chest, it also engages muscles in your abdominals, triceps, and shoulders, helping to build a better all-around upper body.

How to do it:

Stand between the parallel dip bars, then:

  • Grab the bars and jump up, straightening your arms
  • Lean forwards slightly and lower your body down, focusing on your lower chest muscles
  • Once your shoulders drop below your elbows, pause momentarily
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position, locking your elbows at the top before beginning the next repetition

Why:

By adjusting the angle of your body while performing chest dips, you can really target the muscles in the lower chest.

This is an essential exercise for giving the pectoralis minor a thorough workout while also bringing in other areas of the upper body and core.

When:

Chest dips are perfect for chest-focused workouts and strength training routines and can be included 2-3 times per week.

 

1. Decline Dumbbell Press

Best Lower Chest Exercises - Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Great for:

The decline dumbbell press works much the same way as the decline barbell press. 

The introduction of dumbbells gives your core an additional workout as you adjust and balance to bring them overhead.

How to do it:

Once you’ve set your weight bench in the decline position and selected your dumbbells:

  1. Hook in your feet and lie back on the bench
  2. Raise the dumbbells over your head with palms facing outwards
  3. Lower the dumbbells down and to the side of your head until the handles are level with your chest
  4. Push the dumbbells back to the starting position, contracting your chest as you do so

Why:

By reducing stress on your back and shoulders as you perform each rep, you’re able to move up to heavier weights when performing the decline dumbbell press.

As well as increased activation in the lower pecs, this exercise will also engage your triceps as you control the motion.

When:

Include the decline dumbbell press exercise as part of a complete chest routine to help bring additional definition to these muscles.

 

FAQs About Lower Chest Exercises

We’ve put together this handy FAQ section to answer any questions you may still have about lower chest exercises.

Q: What do lower chest workouts do?

Lower chest exercises help you to focus on the pectoralis minor muscle located close to your sternum.

When combined with other chest and upper body workouts, this helps create a more rounded chest with definition.

 

Q: How many lower chest exercises should I do?

When focusing exclusively on your chest, try performing 1-4 different chest exercises per session.

Mix these up, so you’re working both the upper and lower chest muscles to build more balanced chest muscles overall.

 

Q: How often should you train lower chest?

Training your lower chest at least 2 days per week is a good system for developing these muscles.

Always make sure you’ve factored in time for rest and recovery.

 

Q: Should you focus on the upper or lower chest?

You should aim to focus on both your upper and lower chest if you want to develop a balanced and symmetrical chest.

If one area of your chest is weaker than another, consider working on this a little more to bring the overall region into balance.

 

Q: How do I build my lower chest?

If you’re still unsure what exercises are the best for you to build your lower chest muscles, head back to the top of this guide and check out our suggestions.

Before long, you should have a chest to rival Dr. Size (or at least be on the right track).

 

Summary

The best lower chest exercises will help you to develop a broad and symmetrical chest.

Hopefully, this guide helps you discover the chest exercises that will deliver the best results while improving your core stability and overall health.

Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best lower chest exercises:

  1. Decline Dumbbell Press x
  2. Chest Dips x
  3. Incline Push-Ups x
  4. Cable Crossovers x
  5. Decline Barbell Bench Press x
  6. Decline Dumbbell Flyes x
  7. Dumbbell Pullovers x
  8. Decline Dumbbell Press With Rotation x
  9. Jackhammer Pushdowns x
  10. Barbell Bench Press x

What’s your favorite lower chest exercise? Leave a comment below. 

With almost two decades of lifting experience under his belt, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us around bodybuilding and supplementation. Deadlifts and barbell curls are his go-to exercises, and, when he's not writing about health and fitness, you'll find him in the gym busting out some arms! Follow Jacked Gorilla on Instagram: @jackedgorillanews

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.