Inner Pectoral Dumbbell Workouts

Close up on rows of dumbbells on a rack in a gym.
Grab a dumbbell or two and get ready to activate your clavicular heads. (Image: kitzcorner/iStock/Getty Images)

When people say "pecs," they're saying it because it's a whole lot easier to say than "the sternal head of the pectoralis major." But that's what they're actually talking about, whether they know it or not.

While the sternal head makes up the meat of the chest, spanning from about the mid-shoulder down to the upper abs, the clavicular head of the pecs — which occupy the space between the top of the sternal heads and the collarbone — make up the "upper" or "inner" pecs.

The reality is that most dumbbell exercises that target the chest put their focus on the more prominent sternal pecs, but not all hope is lost — leave it to a few pro trainers to recommend their favorite workouts for challenging your clavs.

The Dumbbell Fly

The time-tested dumbbell fly comes recommended by AFPA-certified trainer Davey Wavey as among the best ways to work the inner pecs (he also recommends the close-grip bench press and cable crossovers on his website). Though you can do chest flyes with cables or a machine, Wavey champions the dumbbell variation.

A man with a beard and pink shirt performs inclined dumbbell chest flyes at the gym.
Two dumbbells and a bench have got your inner pecs covered. (Image: LUNAMARINA/iStock/Getty Images)

Dumbbell Crossover Shrug

If you've got just one dumbbell — no fancy bench required — MSPT and CSCS Jeff Cavaliere believes that you can give the inner pecs a solid workout with an exercise he calls the dumbbell crossover shrug. This simple movement, detailed on his website Athlean, activates the clavicular fibers with a short, contracted rotation of the shoulders.

Intensifying Your Inner Chest Workout

Once you've got flat-bench dumbbell flyes down pat, personal trainer Russ Howe suggests moving the bench into an inclined position to boost your chest muscle engagement, calling inclined flyes the "go-to move" for the inner chest. You can also add a slight twist of the wrist to the top of the movement on your flyes, so that the dumbbells form a sort of "V" when you're holding them aloft.

As focus on this these small muscle fibers, concentrate on activating your pecs throughout your workouts — as you push weight, squeeze those clavs together to really engage them.

Feel that? It's your clavicular heads saying "thank you for noticing us."


Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.