A well-developed chest is the immediate focal point of the entire upper body. Thick pecs symbolize upper-body strength and power. In addition, building thickness in the upper portion separates weekend jocks from true bodybuilders. 

There are misconceptions about the best way to target the inner and upper pecs. Studies show that simply changing the width of your grip will not increase the emphasis on the inner pecs. In fact, the inner portion of the pecs (sternal head) cannot be isolated from the rest of the pec any more than you can isolate one portion of a rubber band while stretching it from either end. Thickness along the sternum is determined by the orientation of the ribs adjoining the sternum (genetics) and the thickness of the pecs. Overall pec development requires resistance at three angles— incline, fat, and decline—to cover both the clavicular and sternocostal heads. 

As for filling in that inner or upper chest, when deciding what qualifies as “incline,” remember that it isn’t so much determined by the angle of the bench as much as the angle of the sternum. You’ll notice that even at a moderate incline, the sternum may still be parallel to the floor. True incline requires the sternum to angle downward. 

Hardcore Routines: Chris Cormier, Chest


  • Incline Press (bar to chin) | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-12
  • Dip (weighted if necessary) | SETS: 3-4 | REPS: 8-12
  • Pec Deck*  | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12-15

*Hands at shoulder level and elbows up and out.