In this video I talk about developing the pec minor, which is a chest muscle located underneath the pec major. The pec minor is a thin, flat muscle about equal in size to your biceps muscles. When you build up the pec minor, it can contribute some serious thickness your chest.
The great upper-chest development of swimmers is due to the activation of the pec minor, which is responsible for half of the freestyle stroke.
Most chest exercises stress the pec major as a prime mover and the pec minor as a stabilizer. Very few exercises target the pec minor specifically as prime mover.
The best exercise to target the pec minor is the LaLanne push-up with a narrow hand placement. The LaLanne push up with a narrow hand placement targets the pec minor, which in turn will “push out” the pec major, making the chest look thicker.
Q: I’ve read through your book Bodybuilding Calisthenics and have a question regarding chest development with dips. I have found dips to work well when training the lower and outer chest, but for the upper and inner chest, I’ve relied more on decline push ups and close push ups, respectively.
However, at this point, I find that these two exercises have become too easy and am wondering if there are any dip variations that target the upper and inner chest. Also I have been trying to get that line between the pecs and close push ups don’t seem to cut it.
Recently I made the switch from doing inverted rows to now doing tucked front lever pull ups. This means I can do both my horizontal and vertical pull work all on the pull up bar. I’ve been trying to figure out if it is possible to do all my horizontal/vertical push work on the parallel bars by replacing push ups with analogous dip variations.
I’ve really enjoyed reading your book!
My Answer: Glad you like the book. If you’re trying to hit the upper chest with dip bars, then you don’t have too many options. If you’re able to do handstand pushups (HSPU) on parallel bars, then that would be an excellent upper pec exercise.
If you can’t do HSPU on parallel bars, then try tucked dips instead:
Tucked dips work the entire chest (upper and lower). Other body weight exercises for the upper chest are the upper chest push-up:
And the CTI pull-up, which works the pec minor located underneath the upper chest:
To thicken up the inner ends of the chest fibers, an excellent exercise for this is the Svendt press, which you can perform without weight: