I’m having trouble developing my inner pecs. How can I target this area?


I often altered my pre-contest chest workout in order to stress my inner pecs. Dumbbells isolate specific parts of a muscle group better than barbells do, so I would incorporate more dumbbell exercises into my workouts when looking to hit inner pecs.

I’d start my workout with flat-bench dumbbell presses. Concentrate on getting a deep stretch at the bottom of the movement and then exploding up through the positive portion of the rep. That explosion is what stimulates the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the ones you want to target for building mass. Then, at the end, squeeze and flex your pecs, making sure to get every fiber involved in the movement.

Don’t smack the dumbbells  together at the top of the movement. This only loosens tension on the pecs and sometimes gets you a faceful of metal chips! Keep the dumbbells a few inches  apart, at a point where you’re still feeling stress on the chest.

I’d go next to incline dumbbell presses. Make sure that every rep is a quality one; get a full stretch at the bottom of the movement and a strong contraction at the top.

Finally, do dumbbell flyes. I consider these to be a polishing movement, whereas presses are  mass movements. Flyes are tricky, though, and you must do them carefully to minimize the risk of shoulder injury. Although it’s important to stretch at the bottom of the movement, don’t bring your wrists out too far past your elbows. When you spread your arms too wide, you open yourself up to injury. Keep your wrists in a vertical line with your elbows, and don’t let them drop below the bench pad.

You also want to avoid bringing your elbows up too high along the plane of your body. It’s unnatural to keep them up by your shoulders. Instead, drop them down so they’re more in line with your ribs. This will help you avoid injury.

As when performing presses, squeeze your pecs at the top of the flye movement and remember not to let the dumbbells touch. I like to rotate my wrists a bit throughout the course of the movement. In other words, at the bottom, your palms should face slightly away from your head. Then, when you bring up the dumbbells in an arc, begin to turn your wrists so your palms are more or less facing your head at the finish point. This will allow you to place even more stress on your inner chest.

By doing all these things — squeezing at the top, stretching at the bottom, twisting your wrists just so — you teach your pecs to “speak” to you. In other words, you train them to respond when you’re posing. When Ronnie Coleman or even yours truly hit a side-chest shot, our chests would speak to the audience with all of the fibers of our inner pecs jumping to attention. Not coincidentally, we have all incorporated dumbbell work into our chest programs. Give it a try, and I’ll bet you’ll hit your target, too. – FLEX


  • Flat Dumbbell Presses | SETS: 4-5 | REPS: 8-10
  • Incline Dumbbell Presses | SETS: 4-5 | REPS: 8-10
  • Dumbbell Flyes | SETS: 4-5 | REPS: 8-10

Note: Alternate this with your regular chest workout.