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The center line of the chest, or sternum region, is the location of the pectoralis major muscle's origin. The muscle's fibers extend from the center of the chest and insert onto the humerus, or arm bone. When you contract your pecs, the fibers draw the humerus inwards towards the midline of the chest. This movement occurs during two exercises: chest fly and chest crossover. Both of these are excellent for building your pecs and should be a part of your regular chest training routine.
The pectoralis major is compartmentalized into three horizontally distinct regions: upper (clavicular), middle (sternocostal), and lower (abdominal). There is no compartmentalization vertically as the fibers extend across the chest. All of this means that you can target the different horizontal regions of the chest by adjusting the exercise angles (incline for upper pecs, flat for middle pecs, and decline for lower pecs). However, you cannot specifically target the inner or outer regions due to the pectoral's anatomy. So, when you do any exercise that draws your humerus towards the midline of your chest, you can rest assured that all the fibers from the center to the outer regions of the chest are being worked.
The chest fly is the best exercise for directly working the chest. Unlike the more popular multi-joint bench press exercise, the chest fly involves the movement of only a single joint, which is the glenohumeral, or shoulder, joint. Thus, when you perform the movement, you basically isolate your pectoral muscles, with minimal work on secondary muscles, such as your front shoulders. You can do the chest fly in a variety of ways, including on incline, flat, and decline angles, and also in a bilateral (two sided) and unilateral (one side) fashion. You can execute dumbbell flys using dumbbells, resistance chest fly machines, cable pulleys, and resistance bands.
Similar to the chest fly, the chest crossover has you move your arms in toward the middle of your chest. However, the difference here is that you are in a standing position. Due to the standing position, you have to adjust the angle of which you bring your arms across your chest to work the different parts of the pecs. This is very simple. To mainly work your upper pecs, bring your arms across the upper chest region. If you bring your arms across your middle or lower chest, you emphasize your middle or lower pecs, respectively. You can only perform the cable crossover using cable pulleys and resistance bands.
Sets and Repetitions
When first starting with a chest training protocol, you should utilize a higher repetition scheme, in the range of 15 to 20 reps, with lighter weights to learn how to focus on each part of the chest. You should do this for several weeks to build this mind-muscle connection. Thereafter, you can decrease the reps, by using a heavier workload, to eight to 12 reps, which is an excellent rep range for developing the size and strength of your pecs. Do three to five sets per exercise, and three to four exercises per workout.