The Best Inner Chest Exercises for Athletes | STACK

Hone In on Your Inner Chest For More Definition and Sports Advantage

February 8, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

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Want a big advantage in your sport? Whether you're setting picks in basketball or blocking in football, extra muscle packed on your upper body will help you be a more effective athlete. (See Build a Game-Ready Chest.)

To get a fully defined chest, you need to hone in on training your inner chest. Try the following combo exercises, which include specific inner chest exercises using cables, med ball, Swiss ball, free weights and your body weight.

Inner Chest Workout

Cable Fly and Lunge with Med Ball Push-Up and Squat Thrust Combo

Sets/Reps: 2x10 at 80% RM

Performing Single-Joint Cable Flys immediately followed by Multi-Joint Med Ball Push-Ups is an advanced weight training method known as a pre-exhaust set. (Ndamukong Suh does it.) Isolating the chest and then performing an additional exercise for more intensity not only adds size to the targeted muscle but also builds other muscles used in the movement.

  • Set the cables at chest level, grab the handles and lunge forward with your left leg while pulling the cables across your chest in two seconds
  • Bring one hand over the other and squeeze the inner chest for two seconds, then slowly release in three seconds to start position
  • Do five reps lunging with each leg
  • Without rest, assume a push-up position with hands around a small to medium-sized medicine ball
  • Lower in two seconds and press up in one second
  • Do Squat Thrusts (rapidly bringing legs towards hands and back) between Push-Ups

Standing Swiss Ball Squeeze and Squat/Push-Up Combo

Sets/Reps: 2x10 at 80% RM

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The holding Squat works the leg and glute muscles and the Ball Squeeze and Push-Ups fatigue the inner chest while also developing the triceps, shoulder and core muscles.

  • Assume athletic stance holding a medium-sized Swiss ball with arms extended at chest level
  • Squat and squeeze ball for 30 seconds
  • Without rest, go to a push-up position with hands close together on Swiss ball
  • Slowly lower in two seconds and press up in one second for 10 reps

Barbell Bent-Over Rows and Bar Dips Superset Combo

Sets/Reps: 2x10 at 80% RM

Using supersets is another advanced training method that boosts growth and muscle endurance. Barbell Bent-Over Rows work the back and biceps muscles while close-grip Dips work the inner chest, triceps and shoulders.

  • Perform 10 Bent-Over Rows
  • Immediately follow with 10 bar Dips (grip handles with palms facing each other, elbows close together and lean slightly forward)

Elevated Prone Planks on Med Ball and Elevated Push-Ups 

Sets/Reps: 2x10 at 80% RM

This advanced prone plank version, with one foot on a ball and the other foot off the ground, forces core muscles (abdomen, lower and middle back) to work harder compared to standard prone planks with both feet on the ground. Elevated Push-Ups with one foot on the ball and the other foot off the ground not only build and strengthen the inner chest, shoulders and triceps, but also work the core muscles.

  • Place one foot on a med ball and the other foot off the ground in a prone plank position
  • Hold this for 45 seconds and immediately do 10 Push-Ups
Topics: CHEST
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...