10 Best Exercises for the Outer Chest

Chest day is the finest day. Maybe you disagree, however should you’re trying to carve out a strong chest from the inside to the exterior, it’s essential to work on the chest from all angles. This means placing a bit of additional emphasis on the outer and facet space of the chest.

The outer chest is just not distinct from the remainder of the chest. This means you’ll want to emphasise hand positioning and make use of a little bit of mind-muscle connection to focus improvement right here. When emphasised accurately, the outer chest will add width and definition.

In this text, we’ll discover the make-up of the chest, then share the finest workouts to develop the outer chest. We’ll additionally share just a few exercises designed to focus on the outer chest. Read on for extra.


The chest, or pecs, consists of enormous muscle groups that run horizontally from the center of the rib cage to the higher arm. It consists of two muscle heads, sometimes regarded as the higher and mid-to-lower chest. However, being that the chest is a big muscle, it has many fibers working alongside the chest, inserting into the similar place close to the prime of the higher arm bone. With that, many individuals like to debate workouts as higher, decrease, internal, center, and even outer chest. But once more, anatomically talking, it’s one muscle with two heads. These additional distinctions are merely gym-talk. 

The pec main works to carry out rotation and pushing actions, like the bench press or entrance elevate, in addition to hugging motions, like a fly. Below we now have outlined the largest elements and capabilities of the chest:

Clavicular head: This group of muscle groups makes up the higher a part of the chest, simply superior to the primary pec muscle. It connects the higher sternum and collarbone to the higher arm. The clavicular head is generally concerned in shifting the arms upward (that is referred to as flexion). The incline press and cable fly variations are the finest actions for the higher chest. Part of the “outer chest” is technically a part of the clavicular head, simply earlier than its attachment level.

Sternocostal head: This is the main muscle of the chest. It connects the sternum and higher arm and handles the majority of arm pushing and rotation actions. The finest workouts to stimulate this a part of the chest are all bench and dumbbell presses in addition to cable and dumbbell flyes. As with the higher chest, the sternocostal head comprises a part of the outer chest area, the place the chest muscle fibers joins the higher arm.

Abdominal head: The belly head can be a part of the decrease chest. This portion of the pec main runs from the higher abdominals alongside the decrease and outer chest, inserting into the humerus (higher arm bone). While it is actually part of the sternocostal head, it’s innervated in a different way. To goal these fibers of the pec main, which additionally comprises the outer chest area, it’s going to require slight grip modifications for most recruitment. The decrease chest is accountable for adduction of the arms, like a hugging movement. So the finest workouts for this area can be the similar as the decrease chest, i.e. dips and excessive cable flies, however with some slight modifications.

Serratus: The serratus anterior is just not technically a part of the chest anatomy, however it contributes vastly to chest and arm motion. The serratus runs diagonally up and backward from the center ribs to the decrease and center a part of the shoulder blade. The serratus extends the arms downward and inward, as in a hug or throwing a punch. A well-developed serratus will add width to the decrease chest. The finest train to stimulate the serratus is the pullover.

In abstract, the chest is reasonably easy anatomically talking. This means you’ll be able to rotate by means of a small collection of chest workouts, and with easy modifications to grip, set up a well-developed chest.

For the goal of this submit, we’ll contemplate the outer chest to be the space that runs from under the nipple up alongside the facet to the entrance delt, which incorporates each outer space of the sternocostal and clavicular head. So, principally precisely as described, the outer/facet area of the chest. 

The outer chest will reply effectively to basic workouts as long as you emphasize the proper grip and arm positioning. This will take some focus too. It’s additionally value noting that the outer chest integrates with the entrance shoulders, so any good chest routine will embrace a little bit of shoulder work. Now let’s transfer on to the key rules of concentrating on the outer chest.

side chest exercises


The outer facet of the chest, as with the internal facet of the chest, or different such muscular areas, requires modifications to sure facets of your routine. To develop the outer chest, it is advisable focus much less on particular workouts and extra on changes to these key actions. We’ve highlighted the most vital ideas under:

Rep Range & Volume: The chest usually responds effectively to quite a lot of rep ranges, from low for power, to excessive for progress. That stated, the outer chest is just not designed to deal with gross stress at maximal load. For true outer chest stimulation, follow the mid-higher rep ranges, which is good for total chest muscle progress. You ought to all the time incorporate strength-based workouts to make sure you’ll be able to successfully deal with progressively heavier hundreds. 

Grip: How you grip the bar throughout chest workouts vastly dictates the muscle groups concerned. Just as an in depth grip will emphasize the internal chest, a wider grip (ends of the bar) will goal the outer chest area. This grip additionally recruits the serratus and entrance deltoids, which is able to add definition to the outer chest.

Barbell vs. Dumbbell: In basic, each contribute equally to chest muscle activation and improvement, however there are slight variations between barbell and dumbbell work. Barbells will let you raise extra weight, after all. But barbells typically limit the vary of movement and muscle recruitment. Dumbbells permit you differ the vary of movement and rigidity throughout a number of muscle teams. Dumbbells will enable you obtain a higher emphasis on the outer chest specifically.

Mind-Muscle Connection: While typically not a physiologically-practical idea, the thought of mentally specializing in muscle recruitment is backed by science1. What this implies is that you’ll mentally concentrate on particular muscle groups throughout a given motion. This is especially useful with obscure or smaller muscle teams, like the outer chest. The expectation is that you’ll carry out, say, dumbbell flies, whereas focusing contraction on the outer a part of the chest. This will definitely improve recruitment.

What ought to be clear is that the chest itself is a straightforward space to work out. But the particular areas of the chest, i.e. the outer chest, require some particular functions. Now we’ll apply the following tips with the finest workouts for the outer chest. 


The following workouts are the finest for total chest improvement however are notably suited for emphasizing the outer elements of the chest. Keep in thoughts that the outer/facet chest is just not a definite muscle group, subsequently you can be performing many basic chest actions, with modifications to recruit the out chest. Some could seem redundant, however they had been chosen as they symbolize workouts that finest make the most of these modifications. 

1. Wide Grip Bench Press


The bench press is the excellent free-weight train for total chest improvement. It acts closely on the sternal and belly heads, which is what we would like for the outer chest. To emphasize the outer chest, deliver your palms about 3”-6” wider on both facet of the bar (close to the thicker sleeves). You will really feel rigidity on the lateral elements of the chest. 

How To:

Secure a flat bench and lie beneath the bar. The bar ought to be even together with your upper-middle chest.
Take a large grip – place your palms as vast as they’ll comfortably go, ideally in the direction of the outer easy grip marks.
Lower the bar straight down in the direction of your chest and cease when it’s ~2-4” out of your chest.
Contract your chest and concentrate on the outer area and press the bar again up.

2. Cable Fly

How do you work your outer chest

Flyes are the finest workouts for actually focusing rigidity on completely different areas of the chest. They have a tendency to advertise a set vary of movement with close to fixed rigidity. The cable fly is the elementary fly and is the finest place to begin to isolate the outer chest.

How To:

Set up: Adjust the cable handles so they’re at shoulder stage.
Bring your arms ahead towards the midline of your torso. It’s vital to essentially concentrate on the stretch and contraction the place the outer chest joins the deltoid.
Pause when your palms meet in entrance of you.
Slowly return your arms to your sides whereas sustaining rigidity at the outer chest space.

3. High Cable Cross-over Fly

best lower outer chest exercises

The excessive cable cross-over is a variation of the fly that’s the good train for stimulating the outer chest by means of an altered vary of movement. Remember to essentially squeeze the heck out of your pecs at the finish vary and maximize the stretch every rep.

How To:

Set up: Adjust the handles near the prime of the rail, 10-12” above shoulder stage, forming a ‘Y’. Step ahead barely from the machine and stagger your toes.
Bring your arms down and ahead towards your navel, sustaining the bend. It’s vital to essentially concentrate on the stretch and contraction the place the outer chest joins the deltoid.
Continue the movement so your palms cross over at your entrance, forming an ‘X’; proceed inserting rigidity on the outer chest.
Slowly return your arms to the beginning place.

4. Dumbbell Fly

how to target the side of your chest

The dumbbell fly is a key chest train, and actually ought to be the second motion one learns after the press. The dumbbell fly is carried out mendacity supine on a bench. It works the outer and center chest however will be modified to focus on different areas.

How To:

Lie backward on a flat bench with dumbbells at your sides.
Keeping your arms outward (forming a ‘T’), seize the dumbbells.
With a slight bend in your elbows, pull the dumbbells up and towards the midline of your chest. Keep your arms prolong above you.
Focus on shifting your arms by means of your outer chest. Stop when the weights contact otherwise you can not transfer your palms any nearer.
Slowly deliver the weights again to your sides, simply past even together with your torso.
Keep rigidity on the outer chest and repeat.

5. Wide Grip Push-Up

outer chest exercises at home

The push-up tops this record as a result of it’s the basis of chest improvement. And the vast grip is the finest push-up for the outer chest. Pushups are suited for growing muscular endurance and correcting poor type. They are additionally a good way to get a remaining pump or burnout after a heavier chest day. 

How To:

Assume the entrance leaning relaxation place – assist your physique together with your palms on the floor, arms wider than shoulder stage, and toes straight down, again straight.
Lower your torso to simply earlier than it touches the floor.
Push your torso again upward focusing rigidity on the outer chest.

Related: Best Bodyweight Chest Exercises

6. Pec Deck

exercises for side chest

The pec deck is a machine that sometimes additionally doubles as a reverse fly. It mimics the fly motion however is carried out seated. The machine offers you a set vary of movement and fixed rigidity all through, notably on the outer chest.

How To:

Sit at the peck deck going through ahead (away from the weight).
Adjust the handles so the beginning place places your arms barely behind your entrance.
Squeeze the handles collectively to your entrance, ensuring you focus the rigidity to the outer a part of your chest.
Stop when the handles are on to your entrance and return to the beginning place.
Rest briefly, then resume repetitions. 

7. Chest Dip

exercises to shape outer chest

Dips are a strong train for concentrating on the outer chest virtually solely. This is a compound motion that takes a little bit of apply to grasp because it requires some stability and steadiness. Try to make use of physique weight earlier than shifting including weight to make sure you aren’t over working the muscle groups. Also, most dip machines at the fitness center could have bars that regulate in width; set the parallel bars to the widest choice for finest outer chest activation.

How To:

Secure a dip bar or Roman chair.
Stand between the dip bar handles going through outward. Adjust handles to a wider grip, if potential.
Grip the bars/handles and raise your self off the floor.
IMPORTANT: hold your torso straight, perpendicular to the floor, and your legs beneath you or barely ahead. Don’t lean ahead.
Lower your self by bending the elbow. Keep rigidity on the outer chest.
Push as much as the begin place together with your higher and outer chest and triceps and don’t fully lock your elbows.
Repeat, inserting rigidity on the outer/higher chest at the prime of the motion.

8. Dumbbell Front Raise

dumbbell outer chest exercises

While technically a shoulder train, this motion particularly recruits the outer a part of the chest to flex the entrance deltoid and stabilize the humerus. Perform these as isolateral actions for elevated emphasis on the outer chest. 

How To:

Secure a dumbbell and maintain at your facet.
Raise the dumbbell upward, palm ahead, above your head.
Stop when your arm reaches about 45-degree angle relative to your shoulder.
Lower the weight to your entrance, stopping simply earlier than it meets your torso.

9. Incline Chest Press

upper outer chest exercises

No chest exercise can be full with out incline bench press. While the incline press emphasizes the higher a part of the chest, it performs the similar motion as a flat bench press. This means you’re recruiting the outer chest, albeit on a unique head. Try this with a large grip. 

How To:

Perform this as you’d a flat bench press however use an incline bench. Or set an adjustable bench to a 35-degree angle.
Secure the bar with a large grip.
Slowly decrease the bar to some inches above your higher chest. Beware to not over stretch the outer a part of your chest: hold your elbows at about 45-degrees.
Push the bar straight up; focus the contraction at the outer chest.
Pause slight with rigidity at the prime and repeat.

10. Dumbbell Pullover

exercises to build outer chest

The pullover is cited as each a again and a chest train, however most individuals do it on chest day. The pullover additionally depends closely on the outer chest, as a lot of the drive is transferred by means of right here.

How To:

Lie backwards (supine) on a bench and maintain a dumbbell straight above you in each palms.
Bring the dumbbell again behind your head; your arms will resist simply as they go the level the place they’re parallel to the floor. This is the start line.
Pull the dumbbell up over your head; cease when it’s simply above your chest.
Return the weight to again behind your head. Be certain to maintain rigidity at the begin level and put emphasis on the outer chest.


Below is a straightforward however efficient chest exercise that can emphasize the outer chest that can assist you add some width on the sides of that birdcage chest:

Wide Bench Press 3 units x 8-12 reps
Cable Crossover 5 units x 12-15 reps
Dumbbell Fly 4 units x 12 reps
Dips 4 units 45 seconds, as many reps as potential (AMRAP)
Wide push-ups 4 units x 60 sec, 45 sec, 30 sec, 15 sec (relaxation 45 seconds in between every set)


Banded Wide Push-Ups 100 pushups in as few units as potential

Push-Up Challenge: Do 4 units of the following 3 train superset, 30 seconds every motion: vast pushup, regular pushup, slim pushup – (rest solely briefly when altering positions; full relaxation for 1 minute between every superset).


As with any train, stretching and warming up are vital to stop damage and put together tissues for work. The chest muscle groups connect with the higher arm, and motion happens by means of the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is complicated and performs quite a lot of actions in area. The shoulder and chest are susceptible to accidents, particularly the outer chest which is generally connective tissue and never designed to deal with extremely heavy hundreds. 

Be certain to implement some static and dynamic stretching and warmups. You don’t have to spend greater than 1-2 minutes, and don’t over-stretch. Also strive 45 seconds of arm rotations to get up the deltoids and pecs. A great way to actively open the chest is with a low resistance band. 

Here are the finest chest stretches for earlier than and after your chest exercises.

outer chest stretches


In abstract, we mentioned the outer chest and methods to goal this space. Remember, it isn’t a definite muscle, so emphasizing it’s going to require modifications to grip, in addition to some good outdated thoughts methods. Here are just a few key factors:

Focus on vast grip bench presses
Incorporate flies, particularly cable flies
Don’t neglect entrance shoulders, which work with the higher and outer chest to stabilize and transfer the arm
For outer chest, focus extra on increased rep ranges, however don’t neglect power based mostly actions for the entire chest.
Don’t work the outer chest greater than twice per week.

Related Content:

References:(1) Calatayud, J.; Vinstrup, J.; Jakobsen, M. D.; Sundstrup, E.; Brandt, M.; Jay, Okay.; Colado, J. C.; Andersen, L. L. Importance of Mind-Muscle Connection throughout Progressive Resistance Training. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2016, 116 (3), 527–533. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3305-7

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