The Best Inner Chest Workouts to Perform With Dumbbells

One of the trickiest, but most desired muscle development for weightlifters is that of the inner pec muscles of the chest. Avid gym goers may feel that regardless of their commitment to working out, fully developing the chest feels hard to achieve. It’s important to learn exactly how your body works in order to maximize the efforts of your workouts.

The chest muscles are responsible for a lot of the movement your arms make. While it’s difficult to target the inner chest muscles individually, it is still possible to work the chest and achieve definition.

The pecs can be a struggle, and it’s easy to miss knowing the best exercises for developing this body part. Be sure to check out these 8 exercises to build your inner pecs as well. In this post, we’ll talk about the various exercises with the use of dumbbells, supportive of achieving this beautiful aesthetic.

Anatomy of the Chest Muscles

Before diving into more detail about developing the chest with dumbbells, let’s first look at the anatomy of these fan-like muscles.

The pectoralis major, or pecs, are the muscles of the upper torso area of the body. Running from the mid-ribcage to the arm’s humorous bone, the pecs are composed of two muscle heads and perform rotating and pushing movements. 

The first and more pronounced muscle is the sternocostal head or the lower chest. This muscle head is responsible for the majority of adduction and arm rotation, running from the sternum to the upper arm. The upper chest, or the clavicular head, supports the lower chest and is primarily responsible for lifting the arm.

The pec minor is a small muscle that runs underneath the pec major. This muscle connects the upper ribs to the shoulder blade just under the collarbone. Although it’s active in most chest exercises, it can’t be fully isolated.

A muscle not belonging to the pecs but still acts in direct support of a defined chest is the serratus anterior. These finger-like muscles are responsible for pulling the shoulder blades back around the rib cage. Dumbbell movements, such as a pullover, especially support the building of this muscle group and in turn, provide more chest definition. 

4 Dumbbell Exercises for Inner Chest Muscles

Now that we have a brief concept of the anatomy of the chest, let’s look at the movements that matter most to this development. When performing various exercises with the pectoralis major, you’ll notice they are not engaged in every movement your arm makes. 

The chest is responsible for three movements of the humerus, which are 

  • internal rotation, 
  • adduction, 
  • and flexion. 

Flexion is a type of activity that’s responsible for reducing the angle of your upper arm and shoulder joint. Adduction is the movement of limbs toward the midline of the body. Internal rotation is any movement that’s directed toward the body’s central axis. 

The inner chest poses one of the greatest challenges to development as this is where internal rotation and adduction occur. Stimulating the inner chest requires performing movements that involve the sternocostal head and working the entire chest muscle.

The pecs are responsible for a lot of things in your body and working them out completely requires a lot of dedicated effort. Below are the best dumbbell inner chest workouts to develop the pecs of your dreams.

Dumbbell Chest Fly

The dumbbell chest fly is a basic exercise that’s commonly performed for achieving arms to midline motion. This exercise is rather simple and made more comfortable with the use of dumbbells, but effective for carving the inner chest. 

How to do this exercise:

A dumbbell chest fly is the first exercise to make our list as one of the best for defining the pecs. With the support of a bench, lie back with feet firmly on the ground and dumbbells held against the chest. Pointing the elbows down, extend the arms outward with a slight angled bend. Keeping the arms in this stance and while maintaining controlled tension, push them together in a wide arc over the chest. When returning the arms to their starting position, be sure the elbows do not go further than just past the bench. 

Hex Press 

The goal of the hex press is to transfer tension using the dumbbells. Keeping the dumbbells pressed together during the duration of the exercise greatly activates the inner chest. 

How to do this exercise:

This move gets its name from the utilization of hex-shaped dumbbells, but any set will do. Laying on your back over a bench, press the set of dumbbells together over the center of the chest. Press the weights together, squeezing the inner chest and maintaining tension, then push the dumbbells straight up. This movement should be slow and determined while ensuring the weights don’t hit the chest or rest too long between reps. 

Dumbbell Pullover 

A dumbbell pullover is similar to ‘skull crushers’ but with a few modifications. Keep in mind that you should keep your hands close together throughout this exercise. Although we suggest using a dumbbell for this variation, there’s nothing wrong with using a close-grip barbell for this exercise. This movement works well for both the back and chest while still targeting the inner chest. 

How to do this exercise:

Position the shoulders perpendicular across a weight bench, allowing your head to hang over with your feet rooted to the ground. Extend the dumbbell straight up over the chest, and slowly bring the weight down over the head until parallel to the bench. Squeezing the chest, bring the dumbbell up and forward to return to the starting position. 

Dumbbell Crossover Shrug

This is a standing dumbbell exercise that doesn’t require a bench and only uses a single dumbbell.

How to do this exercise:

To perform this exercise, hold the dumbbell with an overhand grip. Bend your elbows slightly. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your back should be straight. To start, rotate your shoulders and wrist toward your inner chest until the bar of the weight is horizontal to your thigh. Shrug your shoulder up, bringing your bicep across your chest until the dumbbell reaches the center of your chest. After reaching the starting position, repeat the movement on the other side of the body.


With the challenges that developing the inner chest muscles can pose, it’s easy to leave it out of your workout routine. But with dedication and full-range chest movements, a fully defined set of pecs is completely obtainable. 

Dumbbells provide a lot of functionality and comfort for working out the inner chest muscles. Remember to target the inner pecs, and stick to exercises that have your arms extending in front of you, joining your body’s midline. 

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