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Push-Ups That Target the Inner Chest

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Push-Ups That Target the Inner Chest
Wide-grip push-ups are the best for targeting your inner chest. Photo Credit Julenochek/iStock/Getty Images

Building your ideal body takes hard work, dedication, and, at times, attention to detail. Working specific areas of a muscle can help you create the exact look that you want.

The inner chest is a part of the chest muscle that you can specifically target if you perform the right exercises. Two push-up variations in particular allow you to hit your inner chest: the wide grip push-up and Valslide fly.

Read More: Inner Pectoral Dumbbell Workouts

Get to Know Your Chest

The chest muscle is more properly known as the pectoralis major. It's one of the biggest and most powerful muscles in your upper body. Even though this muscle has one name, there are actually two parts, or two heads: the sternocostal head and the clavicular head.

The sternocostal head originates from your sternum (the bone in the middle of your chest) and from the top of your abdominal oblique. It's larger than the clavicular head and comprises the bottom and inside of your chest muscle.

The clavicular head originates from under the clavicle (collar bone) and makes up the top of your chest muscle. Both the sternocostal head and clavicular head insert into the same spot at the top of your arm bone (humerus).

As one unit, your chest muscles bring your arms across your chest horizontally, the same motion that you use to clap your hands together. Your chest muscles also rotate your arms inwards, which is the motion that you would use to signal a "thumbs-down." Each head of your chest muscle does a slightly different action.

The sternocostal head is used more when you perform wide-grip pressing motions, like a wide-grip bench press. The clavicular head is more active when you do an overhead pressing motion or a press with your hands close together. The sternocostal head extends your shoulder, or pulls your arm down. The clavicular head flexes your shoulder, which means that it raises your arm up, the opposite motion of the sternocostal head.

The sternocostal head is the inner part of your chest muscle.
The sternocostal head is the inner part of your chest muscle. Photo Credit sergio_kumer/iStock/Getty Images

Since the sternocostal head is more active in a wide-grip pressing motion, and that portion of your chest muscle makes up the inner chest, the most important push-up motion for sculpting your inner chest is a wide-grip push-up. The second will be a variation of a dumbbell fly, called a Valslide fly, which targets your inner chest by forcing your to pull your arms together, like a bird flapping its wings -- a primary responsibility of the chest muscles.

Read More: Center Line Chest Exercises

Wide Grip Push-Up

This exercise is a simple variation of the classic push-up.

Step 1

Start at the top of a push-up position with your arms and knees straight. Your hands should be a few inches wider than shoulder-width apart.

Step 2

Lower yourself down into the bottom of the push-up position, keeping your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Step 3

When your chest is about an inch off of the ground, press yourself back up to the top of the push-up position. Make sure that you maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles throughout the movement and prevent your hips from sagging.

Valslide Fly

This variation of the dumbbell fly is done with sliders or towels.

Step 1

Use either sliders on a carpet or towels on a hardwood surface for this exercise. Get into a plank position with one slider or towel underneath each of your elbows and forearms.

Step 2

Slide your arms straight out to the side, lowering your body down until your chest is an inch off of the ground.

Step 3

Pull your arms back in together until you are at the top of the plank position again.

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