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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today I want to talk to you about a sunken
chest, or in more severe cases, something called pectus excavatum. You see it’s that noticeable deformity in
the lower chest that sinks in, down near the lower sternum, that really, really can be
something that’s not just psychologically tough for those that have it, but it could
actually be physically impairing because it can interfere with your ability to expand
your own lungs, or even have your heart contract without beating against the sternum itself. So what I want to do is give you a game plan
to, number one: figure out how severe your sunken chest is – is it something simply
that is cosmetic, or is it bordering more on that line of interfering with your physiology? So what are we talking about? Let’s look at a couple of pictures. This picture right here, this would be what
I call a ‘mild’ form of this. As a matter of fact, I actually don’t have
the best pec development myself. What we do is, sometimes we confuse poor lower
pec development because of attachments with this sunken chest. So if you look here at me, this pec here noticeably
takes a little left turn, compared to this one that’s a little bit more full. This is simply having distal attachments – or
further out on the sternum – than this. Which makes this look wider at the bottom,
and creates a little bit of a hole here in the lower sternum. But that’s something that – again, we can’t
change muscle attachments. What we can do is try our best to develop
that. But this picture right here, this is definitely
pectus excavatum. You can see a major hole here, or a sinking
in the bottom of the chest that can probably, in this case, start bordering on those physiological
implications that I talked about in the beginning. If you have this I’m going to tell you here,
right now guys, I never bull shit you and I tell you the truth. If it’s this bad and it’s actually making
you more fatigued, or it’s getting in the way of your ability to do endurance events
because of this limitation on lung expansion; you’re probably going to have to look at the
surgical route. The good news is this: there are two procedures
now. One of them is the NUSS procedure where they
actually go in and correct this. Almost like the same way you would brace your
teeth. A long duration change to the sternum by actually
bracing it and trying to pull it outward by putting a bar in there and trying to pull
it outward. The second thing is actually a little bit
more optimistic because it’s less invasive. It’s a metallic bar, a magnetic bar, that
they put in the lower chest and then externally fixate a brace that will pull that out over
time. But both of them are long duration fixes. You’re going to have to have that on for a
long period of time, just like you would braces for your teeth. So what I want to do is say “Look, even if
you have those conditions and you want to try to do something in the gym, something
that’s in your power that’s not going to require that”, what I show you where is going to help
you. If you have a much more minor version of this
– like I showed you in the beginning – what I’m going to show you here today is going
to help you as well. So the first thing you want to do is: adjust
your posture. Why? Because we know that if your chest is sunken
in, the first thing that’s going to happen is, you’re going to get tightness mostly in
your pec major and pec minor, which is going to round your shoulders down, further creating
a sunken chest, right? If it’s already hollow and I do this, I lift
up here and show you – when I do that – everything sinks in even more. Now what we have to do is stretch those two
muscles. Instead of making this video a million minutes
long, what I’ve done is I’ve already done a video in depth on how to – I even broke
out the muscle marker on how to stretch the pec major, and the pec minor specifically. Each one. I want you to make sure that you do that. Then what I want to show you is the other
things that you can do. It’s not just the exercises, guys. It’s the ‘how to’ on the exercises that’s
going to matter the most. Right away we start with working the other
side because when you stretch a muscle on this side you want to make sure that you strengthen
the muscles on the opposite side. So we’ve got to make sure that those rhomboids,
and mid-scapular muscles are strong enough to handle the posture that you have to, now,
recreate and retrain. So we do that with band pull apart. When we do that we stand back, we actually
don’t just do them from here with a sunken chest. You always have to make sure that you’re creating
the condition and the positioning that you want. So you try to protract your chest out. “Lift your sternum”, is what I say. If your sternum is pointing down here, the
angle of it pointing down, lift it up until it’s right, straight ahead. So I can rest a glass of water on top of it. From here is where I do my band pull apart. Right from here and I pull back, and I hold. The idea here is to get your shoulder blades
retracted, pulled together, and down. Now what I want to do is, I don’t want to
do one set of 20 here. What I’d rather have you do is 20 sets of
1. Execute each rep as if it’s the only one you’re
going to do. Then retrain your muscles to contract in that
position. So right here, the quality is always going
to be better than quantity. As I transition here to some of the other
exercises that you’re going to want to do, focus on how I’m telling you to do this and
not just what to do. Everybody always tells you what to do, but
they don’t tell you how. The how is much more important because you’re
trying to create a long term change. If you’re not going to have a brace on here
24/7 you need to be able to do things that are going to have an impact on it. Guess what? You’re likely going to have to own this program. Meaning, you’re going to have to take ownership
of the fact that your special circumstances require you to do much more than the average
person who doesn’t have this. But if you’re okay with that then that’s cool. I’m going to show you exactly how that’s done. When you bench press, let’s hold off on creating
mass as a major focus at this moment because you can always do that. This is more of a repetitive program that
you would do three, or four, or five times a week in small doses. Why? Because we’re trying to create that brace-like
effect. So when I bench, as I pull the dumbbells down
you actually want to pull the dumbbells down and move the chest up, and pause at the bottom
of the rep. at the same time you’re trying to pull your stomach in. Contract your abs because you want to make
sure that whenever you’re expanding your ribcage you’re getting a co-contraction of your abs
at the same time. Because the sunkeness actually results in
this sunken chest, but also in extending stomach. You lose ab tightness and strength when you
have pectus excavatum. So we want to be able to contract that, pull
that in, and then lift the chest up. That will actually help to make the appearance
of this start looking better. So when I do that on the bench press I pull
down and push out at the same time. It’s literally and active movement. I’m not just coming down here. I’m coming down and moving my chest up toward
the ceiling as far as I possibly can. Hanging out at the bottom here, and then coming
back up out of it. Again, this is not what the chest training
session looks like. That’s still doing the same technique, but
with heavier weights in an effort to build. This is the repetitive three, four, five times
a week program that you do three sets at a time, just as if you would do rotator cuff
work three, or four times a week to try to overcome a weak rotator cuff. It’s the repetitive stuff. Next we have another great exercise. The dumbbell pullover. The dumbbell pullover helps us to create the
rib expansion, at the same time it requires us to contract your abs, if you’re doing it
right. A lot of people don’t do that portion of
it. So we come down here with a dumbbell, put
your shoulder blades right on the top of the bench, okay? Then don’t leave yourself up here in the
air like that. Drop down. Just by dropping all the way down I’ve already
extended the rib cage, and expanded the rib cage. When I breathe in here I’ve got this massive
expansion of the ribcage, but at the same time, as I come back up I’m breathing out
and tightening the abs at the same time here, to create that core contraction while I have
the expanded chest. So don’t just do pullovers. Pullovers alone is not going to do it, guys. You want to have the right performance of
it. As I said in the beginning, I’d rather you
do 20 sets of 1, than 1 set of 20 here. Come all the way down, just drop, expanded,
tight abs. Don’t be afraid to hang out down here because
again, we’re going more for that brace-like effect, making change. Look, if you’re younger, you’re an adolescent,
you’ve got soft bones still; you can actually change your bone. That’s what happens when you have braces. You’re actually changing the bone that your
teeth are anchored into. It just takes a very, very long effort – prolonged
effort – over the course of many, many days, many, many workouts, many, many hours. So don’t think you’re going to make these
massive changes in a pectus condition just by running through the gym and doing a couple
pullovers, or bench press. That’s not how it works. Same thing here: dips. When you do your dips – another good exercise
– lower portion of the chest. What you do is, you do the same thing you
did on the bench press. When I come down I’m not just dropping here
at my elbows. In fact, if I do that and I do this, I’m actually
just sinking my chest in more, right? Just recreating the same positioning here. What I want to do is, I want to go down at
the same time that I’m pushing out my chest, pull my shoulder blades back together, and
of course, tightening the abs that way, and up. That way, and up. Breathing in. again, hanging out at the bottom here. This is not meant to go to failure every single
set with the fact of over doing your chest work because that’s not how you build a bigger
chest either. You’ve got to give it a chance to recover. This is more of that remedial stuff that you’re
doing on a consistent basis. Another exercise here. We’ve got two left. What we do is, we take a dumbbell – a single
dumbbell – and we pull it up, and across. So we’re literally just adducting from the
arm this way, up, and across the body. Trying to get a lift up, and across. Initiate the movement from the chest. You’re not lifting with your front delt here. You’re initiating with a contraction of the
chest on the inside here, okay? Again, more longer duration work. Finally we have a stomach vacuum. Now, the stomach vacuum is another exercise
I went much more in depth on, and I’ll link over here so you can see more of the nuances
of it, but the good thing about the stomach vacuum is, you are teaching yourself to, again,
expand your ribcage, and at the same time contract your abs, and bring them in. so we can create this differential here and
try as best we can to cosmetically reverse that sunken in chest. So here’s the bottom line out of all this:
whether you have a minor case of pectus excavatum, whether you have just a little bit of a different
attachment of the lower pecs that create a wideness, that sort of sunkeness on the lower
chest; whether you have a severe case of pectus guys; there’s a lot of things you can do to
develop the rest of your body. Don’t let that define you. Don’t ever let what you feel self-conscious
about define you. I realize that when people say – when they
point to themselves – they usually point right here, in this particular case. This issue is right where you’re pointing. So it reinforces all those negative thoughts
that you might have. But remember this, guys: everybody has something
that holds them back, and there’s always something you can do. Let it motivate you to do something about
it. Let it motivate you to train the rest of your
body to make people take notice of that instead. But you can do something about it. Whether you go down the surgical route and
that’s what helps you to fix that condition, or whether you go down this route here and
it helps with the minor cases to at least become more cosmetically in control of what
you have going on here; just make sure you do what I’m telling you. Forget about just doing the exercises. That alone is not going to help you. It’s how you do the exercises, and it’s the
quality of what you do, and it’s the frequency. I can’t say that enough. The frequency. Adopt this as your program. Other people have their things they have to
do to maintain whatever it is that they’re dealing with. Your program happens to be this, and something
you’re going to have to stick with and own if you want to make permanent changes, but
I know if this is something that bothers you, I know it will be something that you will
do. In the meantime, guys, I hope you found this
video helpful. Here we’ve always put the science back in
strength, and we try not to bullshit you about anything. I try to give you the exact answers to whatever
it is that you’re dealing with. I do the same things with all of our training
programs over at All of our programs, no BS, step by step,
we put the science back in strength. Those are all available over there. In the meantime, let me know what else you
want me to cover here on this channel, because this was a direct response to all of your
requests that I got from you viewers out there, that wanted me to do something on this. All right, guys. I’ll see you soon.

100 thoughts on “How to Fix a Sunken Chest! (PECTUS EXCAVATUM)

  1. Salut, pour les français j'ai trouvé un site qui est pas mal et récent sur le pectus excavatum, ça pourrait vous aider : @t

  2. Thank you Jeff! Saying to pull down the dumbells really helped a lot. I can feel it in my chest a lot more now, and feels like I can activate the push from my chest properly now too.

  3. I have this. And never noticed it until i was about maybe 15 and it suddenly makes me felt sad and kinda depressed. I read this other dude comment here and he says he'd never be uncomfortable removing his shirt that's exaclty what i felt. One time me and allbmy friends are swimming and all of my male friend remove their shirt except me… And also this moment where my friend saw my sunken chest and he just fuckin shout and looked at me like i was some weirdos or monster or some shit and that really took down my confidence. The worst thing about this is just how people quickly assume this happen because im too skinny which probably not.

  4. I got a slightly sunken chest although i never really focus on my pecks or knew exactly how. On the dailt i keep a tight core and stretch my chest with good posture almost 95 percent of the time that im congnicent of my posture. This video really helped me understand what and how to go about reshaping my chest. Thanks for the time you put into this video.

  5. I m suffering from ankylosing spondylitis my chest size is reduced n i m experiencing breathing difficulties and my hands are also damaged n ihv undergone both knee and hip replacement plz suggest me some exercise how can i increase my chest size plz help

  6. Thanks for being so informed. I had a Nuss procedure about 4 years ago and videos like this help teach people how to adapt with or without surgery.

  7. I am very worried! My 14 yr old boy has it. The point is he is a special needs and he doesnt have much energy to do this. He can but his hands can only pull much lighter version of the elastic band and I am not sure if that will work.

  8. Can I workout regular workouts on top of this? Or when I’m doing this four times a week should this be the only thing I do for best results?

  9. I was never a very active person when it came to sports and working out and I always ate whatever I wanted but lately I’ve decided that I want to try and become a professional wrestler but I always worried about my sunken chest, not just about fatigue and stuff but if I landed on my chest or got hit in the chest area could it be a problem. But I’ve decided I’m going to start trying to work out often and try to eat healthier to help fix my chest, my sunken chest is a big motivator for me to get my life together and start working out and I really appreciate people like you making these types of videos!

  10. Any pectus carinatum guys here? It’s not spoken about much but just as inconvenient and embarrassing

  11. My chest is the Opposite it comes out not go in, i work out tho so you cant see it that much anymore Couse chest muscle covers it up

  12. I had the nuss procedure. They fucked it up. Seriously. You want to talk about the surgery fuck up of your worst nightmares? Pinched my left pec by having the bar pass beneath the sternum, and instead of going under my left ribs, they pinched the lower third of my left pectoral muscle, literally between a solid stainless steel bar and my rib cage. Worst fucking nerve and muscle entrapment pain you could ever imagine. They didn't admit to their fuck up. I had to have the bars taken out about 4 months later. I got them to admit the bar placement but they didn't admit it was wrong. It took me two months to discover this fact. I was in the worst shape of my life for 3 and a half months. I couldn't lay flat in bed,couldn't walk even a block, couldn't go to work, losty job, couldn't breathe without pain, almost became homeless. When the bars came out, my chest collapsed back in and I was in the weakest Condition of my life. Amazed I survived. And my God, the pain. Worse than anything I could ever imagine. I eventually had it corrected the best they could do(new surgeon). But, since my pecs have been cut off my chest wall twice now, when I flext,there's about a 3 inch gap where my muscles pull apart. It's taken years but my bench can't get better than about 180 max. My outer and upper pecs are strong af, but my inner and lower pec has no strength and is non existent. I'm alive though and I give it everything I got. If you absolutely must have surgery, go to Dr. jaroszewski at Mayo clinic Phoenix. She put me back to somewhat normal from the disaster shape I was in. She's a miracle. Seriously. I should write a freaking novel about it. You wouldn't believe it. I have mild symptoms of PTSD and anxious nightmares often, but no health insurance.

  13. To all the people here who have pectus excavatum. We share a comraderie. We're a brotherhood. My heart goes out to you!

  14. Only just come across this video now, loved watching your videos over the years and so grateful for this video. Has really given me a new perspective on the gym and what I need to do to help fix my chest

  15. How would this be incorporated into a regular strength/Mass routine Where you are already working out 4 times a week?

  16. My daughter was born with PE she is now 7 but I was told now that they are not taking on NHS patience to have operation on there chest am fumming why should everyone suffer on more pain now they can't have it fixed

  17. Jeff Big thanks for the video and help I have a pectus excavatum I think it's not severe but it's not just cosmetic but gona try and use wieght training to correct it as best as I can already had to have a spinal fusion performed at age 14 so don't want another major operation, but honestly thank you soo much I love your videos and no bullshit attitude! Keep her lit!
    Michael McCartney from Belfast!

  18. What if you don't have pectus excavatum but have bad chest insertions (no muscle in the middle on the sternum), is there a way to fix this or am I doomed?

  19. I appreciate the focus on this condition. I have had corrective surgery for this condition—3 stainless steel bars under the rib cage for 4 years. The pic at 0:56 is not a mild case. These aren’t really subjective categories. CT scans are used to measure what is called the Haller Index. This measurement is what cardiothoracic surgeons primarily use to classify whether a specific case is mild, moderate, or severe. From looking at that picture, it is clear that he has what a specialist would classify as either a moderate or severe case, but likely severe. Exercise fatigue from this condition isn’t so much due to limited lung expansion, though it feels that way; it is because the chest wall is compressing the heart—and oftentimes displacing it to one side of the chest. Unfortunately, some physicians are still unaware that this condition is NOT merely cosmetic. Cardiothoracic surgeons who are experienced with surgical correction of this chest wall deformity can help anyone suffering from this condition. Many times people with pectus are highly self conscious about how their chest looks. Just know that there is hope. 😊

  20. Thx for this ex and constructions of is good and let compete my way to be a spec ops soldiers I am good in very thing but this
    And I am so happy to fix this problem and thx again
    And continu what u r doing
    Good luck

  21. I wish you lived in Denmark, Copenhagen – because I could seriously use some personal help with these exercises you are showing in the video!

  22. Man, after seeing those pictures it made me realize just how mild my condition is, and it honestly makes any doubts I had about myself seem silly. Glad to know I can actually do something about it, especially while I'm still young. The amount of support and positivity in these comments is truly inspiring.

    Plus I've read several comments saying the ladies like to use it as a boob slot, so it's not all bad.

  23. When I sweat during a workout the sunken part of the shirt gets wet first, and usually stays the only noticeable sweat spot, can anyone relate?

  24. Doctor put a bar in my chest and he will remove it 2 years from now. But it's really really hurt. If could watch this video before i decided to do this, i won't put that bar in my body

  25. I have this thing in my chest…and im su upset about scared to take off my shirt in publick…and everyone bullys my cuz i have hole in my chest.. i dont know what to do…i do sports… but some docktors say that i should get a suregery but im scared :/

  26. Can someone tell me if this gets worse even if you are 20 years old??? Because I have to but it’s sunken only about 1-1.5 inches and I am worried it might get worse.

  27. Ok guys so, I've watched this video like 9 months ago and it definitely motivated me to start working out. At the time I was 16 and I started going to gym, now I have 6 months in and what did I achieved:
    1. I went from 62kg to almost 68.
    2. I've developed all my muscles visibly.
    3. And most importantly I can see a difference in my pectus even tho it wasn't a very bad case I still look better and I don't plan on stopping working out, I'm still young, by the time I get to 21,22 I will be so f big.
    So in conclusion just start working out it will be Soo god one day just start right now!

  28. How many times you should go to gym and how long you should train in it? How about 3 times for 1-1,5 hour/week for 2 years+well eating and eating protein and creatin? Normal? Or need more training?
    Please, answer me. Thanks

  29. great video, i'm italian and i not understand totaly. i can use the fitball for these exercise or you think a bench is better? thank you so much

  30. I've watched several videos on your channel, but this is the one that makes me subscribe. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I love that your looking out for the minority but it’s hard to not feel inferior when I’m taking my advice literally from the Incredible Hulk😂😂😂

  32. The end point really hit home for me. I speant alot of my life letting my P.E define me, but I learned that I can let it go and let other things define me. Working out hlepsgive you self-esteem. I feel inspired tomake my own YouTube series on Pectus Excavatum. I can take your advice and show how I progress and figure out what works for me and give encouragement the way you do at the end of the video.

  33. People with a sunken chest can’t really feel the activation of the pecs when doing chest workouts that a normal person does. This is because the angle should be different as the bone (sternum) which is the platform where the muscle rests on is shaped differently. However different angles will probably activate the pecs more better but will most likely cause your posture to get even worse meaning an even more sunken chest. This is very hard.

  34. Boy I wish my body looked like the guy in the thumbnail. I always envy the guys who’s bodies look otherwise normal despite having the sunken chest. For me though, it completely disfigured my entire upper body.

  35. get the vacuum bell by GTK medical. It's the one that is shipped from Sweden off of Ebay. It has a glass top with blue rubber trim. It's the best. shave your chest to get a good hold. Do it a few hours a day. It will help flatten your chest…you just need to apply for a few hours a day for months or even longer but results will come. These exercises help too.

  36. Just stop misleading people with your false information you give out on your channel your life must SUCK just like that flush you keep hitting in the toilet

  37. Not ivn a single video is informative make it for views that all you do fuck you and other channels out there creating videos without information on leading viewers and giving false information

  38. For everyone out there, let me help you out. When you hit the gym you gotta find the weight that fits for you. It must not be too heavy for you and not too light, somewhere inbetween so you can make reputations. If you have pectus you should probably focus most on core/chest/back/shoulders. Go look up youtube videos for each muscles and see what excercises are good, and then find out what works well for you. Most important of all don't forget to eat a lot of food so you get many calories for you to add weight and muscle (Very much of protein, many carbs and just a lot of healthy food in general, stay away from direct junk food, candy, soda, alcohol and so on.).

  39. It's psychologically impacting, extremly. And it also affects your physiology. I have it myself and it is hell, even in mild forms. And you can maybe change a few things with these exercises, but most people with a funnel chest will need surgery or the suction cup (recommended for younger people)

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