When it comes to this muscle, in particular, it gets all the attention. One of the largest muscle groups in the upper body is the chest muscles, which are made up of the pectoralis major, aka the “pecs” and the pectoralis minor. You stimulate the pectoralis minor in most chest exercises for why it may not be relevant for most people. Although it may be invisible hiding behind the bigger pecs, it can add decent size near the shoulder area; the pectoralis major is mainly the focus of development.
The pectoralis major is the larger muscle and has two parts, which are the upper portion “aka” upper chest (clavicular head) and the lower part “aka” lower chest (sternal head). Although there is one part of the lower chest, two sections are covering the middle and bottom part. Therefore, you may want to apply exercises that will target the upper, middle, and lower chest.
Basic Anatomy Of the Chest
Pectoralis major muscle: The attachment of the upper chest start from the clavicular bone (collarbone), while the lower chest starts from the sternum bone (breastbone) onto the top portion of the upper arm bone (humerus).
Pectoralis minor muscle: The attachment starts from the 3rd-5th ribs onto a small hook-like piece of the scapula.
Functions Of The Chest and Why You Need To Care
The pectoralis major, in general, has four basic functions:
- Horizontal flexion of the upper arm (think of a hugging someone)
- Flexion of the upper arm (think of raising your arm forward)
- Adduction of the upper arm (think of bringing your arm to your side)
- Rotation of the upper arm (think of bringing your shoulders forward)
The pectoralis minor has two functions:
- To bring the scapula out towards the front of the body while depressing it respectively
- To help with the expansion of the rib cage
Aesthetic and Strength Purpose for Training Chest
Since the chest is a large muscle group in the upper body, you use those muscles all day long. Besides being a symbol of pride, these muscle groups definitely can have an impact on your quality of life. You activate the chest when you want to help yourself get up off the floor in case you fall as if you’re doing a push-up. The stronger you can get your chest muscles, the more powerful your entire body and physique will be.
Your chest muscles can handle more weight once the size and strength occur, which will allow for you to use more calories as you perform. Along with working the chest, you activate your front delts (shoulders), and triceps (muscles behind the upper arms), which will add a bonus when using more energy. So by focusing on the “pecs,” you can get other muscles in decent size and strength. Also, it may be best hit the weakest portion of your chest to take advantage of your development. The upper chest is often underdeveloped, which may look as if you have “man boobs.”
What Sample Exercises Target The Chest
Any chest exercise will work for the muscle group in total, but some activities will emphasize the chest in different ways. A prime example will be decline push-ups as it involves the pectoralis major with a focus on the lower portion of the chest. If the position was to change to incline, you still stimulate the whole chest group, but now the emphasis shifts to the upper chest. Other activities that are helpful are the pushups, incline bench press, and parallel bar dips. Once again, each motion targets the chest but from different angles.
The pushups will target the muscle in whole with a focus towards the middle part. The incline bench press will do the same but the focus in on the upper chest. Lastly, the dips will target the chest with an emphasis on the lower portion. Therefore, understanding the basic movements and knowing variations of exercises; you recruit different muscle fibers and challenge your pecs in new ways that may be helpful when facing a plateau at times.
Sticking to the basics go a long way especially when you want to recalculate your next move. Along with having pecs that command attention as you walk, the function will be more of a benefit depending on the situation at hand. If you see yourself struggling with gaining size in the chest area, click here to download my chest training guide today that includes: numerous exercise for each portion of the chest, nutrition tips, words of encouragement and much more.