The Chest Muscles
The human chest cosists of two
muscles: Pectoralis Major, which is the bigger
muscle and leads from the
middle of the chest to the upper arm bone,
and Pectoralis Minor, which is the smaller chest muscle and connects
3rd, 4th and 5th rib with the shoulder blade.
The pectoralis major covers the pectoralis minor and is the big muscle bodybuilders
want to focus on.
It's quite common to say "Pecs" instead
of pectoralis or chest muscles. Find exercises and information about other muscle groups at weight training main.
- Pectoralis Major.
The pectoralis major is the bigger muscle and
goes from the
middle of the chest to the upper arm bone. Its function is
to move the upper arm forward. The shoulder muscles lift the arms, the chest
muscles move them forward. The Pectoralis major consists of 3 parts.
(see illustration above)
- a) Pars Clavicularis / Upper Pectoralis
You can work on your upper chest by doing bench press or flies on an incline bench. The higher you adjust your back lean, the more you will work
your shoulders instead of your chest muscles. When you sit vertically and press your barbell straight up, we are not talking about a barbell bench press variation anymore. That would be
- b) Pars Sternocostalis / Middle of the
Every chest exercise where you press the weight 90°
- c) Pars
Abdominalis / Lower Pectoralis Major
For example decline barbell bench press or chest dips on parallel bars.
- Pectoralis Minor.
The pectoralis minor is the smaller chest muscle underneath the pectoralis
Its function is to
shrug the shoulder forward. When you bench press, you
hardly work your pectoralis minor. Swimmers, on the other hand,
usually have very well developed pectoralis minor muscles, which is the reason
why their chest is usually thicker around the shoulder area. The pectoralis minor does not go all the way to the
middle of the chest
the pectoralis major.
- When you bench press, you should keep your shoulder
still and low. The reason for this is not that you don't want your pectoralis minor to develop! The reason is that you lie down with
back on a bench and the shoulder blades
would move when you use the pectoralis
minor. When you do push-ups on the other hand, you
can shrug your shoulders up and down without problem.
- Swimming is a good exercise for
the pectoralis minor.