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Muscle-Building Workout and Diet


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I want to talk about one of the biggest
problem areas for guys. It’s the lower chest. A non-defined lower chest, or saggy lower
chest. We can fix it. I’m going to show you eight exercises here
that are going to allow you to better target this area. But it starts by asking you a question. Of these two pictures right here, if you’re
one that’s dealing with one of those issues with your lower chest, which one is it? Are you looking more like this guy over here? Or more like this guy over here? Because if you’re looking like this guy
over here, the first thing you’re probably dealing with is an overall high body fat level. Which means your diet is really not in check
at all. You need to be much more on point when it
comes to your nutrition to be able to drop the lower levels of body fat, to be able to
see what you’re really working with. I can probably guarantee that this guy, when
he does drop down, he’s still going to be lacking muscular development of the chest. That’s what this guy is dealing with here. The body fat levels are low enough, but the
muscular development is just not there. Meaning, he doesn’t have this defined line
that creates that definitive chest. But again, we can target this. Then what we have to do is apply a little
bit of anatomy. You guys know that on this channel I like
to break out the anatomy, and sometimes the muscle markers help us do that. I’ve done this in a previous video that
I’ll link at the end of this for a little bit more in depth, but the key is this: we
know that with the pecs themselves we have a couple of options here. We know that the pec is pretty much divided
into two main areas. At least from a nerve innovation. We have the sternal area of the pec, which
is the whole area of the lower pec here. The whole pec. Then we have up here, running off the clavicle,
we have the chest fibers here that are separately innovated and can actually be targeted a little
bit differently because of that. But more importantly, what I like to say here
to keep things nice, and simple on this channel is, if you follow the fibers – meaning the
direction of the fibers – when you go to move your body, you’re going to effectively
target that area better. You can contract the area with more focus
and attention by following the direction of the fibers. So, the upper chest, running in this direction,
out toward the arm would mean that anytime you’re bringing your arm up, and across
your body you’d be hitting them more effectively. The sternal area of the pec, we notice here,
runs from the sternum out, toward that same area here on our arm. So, when we do things that come across our
body in adduction we know that we can get this main, beefy area of the chest a little
bit more. But what people don’t realize is the abdominal
head, which is this very small area right here, when I contract you can see right there. That little break of the line here, and then
this underneath, and around. A little hard to draw on here with this marker,
but it comes up, and around, and again, heads toward this same area. What are the directions of those fibers? Those fibers are running up, and out. So, if we want to work that area more effectively,
following those fibers in a consistent manner, we would take our arm from this position and
come down, and across. From here, to here. Not from here, to here. But here, to here. So, any exercise that we did, that allowed
us to replicate that, and even add the adduction – which we know the chest is craving – we
know that we’re going to be able to target that area more effectively. Now, the decline bench-press is the hallmark
exercise that all of us use to try and hit the lower chest. Why is that? Well, if you look a bit more closely what
you might think is actually just pressing away from your body, if you sit up the angle
of your arms is actually not directly perpendicular to your chest. It’s actually angled downward a little bit. What is that? That downward angle here is doing exactly
that. It’s following that same direction that
we’re after. But I’m not going to stop with the decline
bench-press, guys. That’s something you already know. What I want to do is give you eight other
exercise options to really, really hit this area hard, and to get your lower chest looking
better than ever. So, let’s start with another one of the
classic lower chest exercises. The dip. The dip, we should know by now, is going to
hit that lower chest more effectively because it’s actually doing what we just said. The movement of the arm during the exercise
is actually following that same movement that we’re trying to get to. But we know we can actually make this better. We call this a Dip Plus. What we’re doing here is not only including
another muscle that likes to work with the lower chest, but we’re actually angling
our body a little more appropriately to make sure we’re hitting this lower chest area. So, it means you’re going to angle your
body forward, but not too much. If we were to go all the way over the top
we’re almost turning this into a horizontal pushup, which is going to keep the arms more
in this angle here, hitting more of the mid-chest area. But if we get ourselves back up just a little
bit, but forward for vertical now you can see that we actually have our arms following
in the same direction that we’re supposed to be looking to do. However, I mentioned another muscle we can
include here. The Serratus can actively be included as well. This muscle right here, that likes to work
in concert with the lower chest, by doing what we call a ‘plus’ at the end of every,
single rep. That means when you get to the top of the
dip you press away. You try to protract your shoulders, get your
shoulder blades around your body, push your arms away with your arms straight, and you
start to get this muscle to fire up, too. You’ll feel a much different contraction
than you ever have, if you’ve never tried this before. But the combination of both of those elements
makes the regular dip not just a good lower chest exercise, but an even better lower chest
exercise. Okay, let’s stick with the theme of the
dips here and actually do an old-fashioned dip exercise. It’s the straight-bar dip. This is something I was actually doing in
my basement as a kid when I had nowhere to do dips in my house. The thing is, it’s actually a pretty good
variation to allow us to hit our lower chest again. What we do is, we have to hover over the bar,
and we have to actually do this to balance on the bar because you’ll see the second
you try to execute this exercise, if you’re not angled forward appropriately, you’re
going to feel like you’re falling off the bar backward. So, you have to lean forward a little bit. Well, what it actually does is puts your arms
right in that sweet spot of where you want them to be. Not to mention, a little bit of internal rotation
so when you come to the top of the exercise in a full chest contraction, we know that
internal rotation is another element of a full chest contraction. So, you have that working in your favor as
well. So, the straight-bar dip, if you haven’t
tried it, is going to not only give you another dip variation to do, but a little bit of a
different feel than the dip we’ve already covered. Now I’m going to throw you a curveball because
this exercise people think is for the triceps. But it’s actually a poorly performed tricep
pushdown. But it becomes an effective lower chest exercise
if you do this properly. This is our jackhammer pushdown. Now what we’re looking for here is, again,
proper execution of an exercise that some people do in a bad way for the triceps. Look again at what’s happening with the
arms. They’re following the same direction that
we’ve been targeting here all along. But I want you to make a couple of tweaks. You don’t just stand here and move the elbows. You’re not just bending the elbows and straightening
them. Then you’re going to be working the triceps
a little bit more than you are working your chest. Instead what you want to do is open your chest
up by getting your elbows out to the side and let them ride up. So, if they stay the same level here you’re
doing it wrong. If they go up and down, then you’re doing
it right. What we do is angle just a little bit forward
over the top of the bar so when we press down it almost becomes a very close cousin of that
straight-bar dip. Again, it becomes another exercise in your
arsenal for hitting that lower chest. This next one here is one that I actually
love, and I did an entire video on it. I’ll link it again at the end of this video,
so you can watch that because it goes into great detail about why this is so effective. What we’re actually doing here what we call
a Standing Cable LC press. I talk about focusing in this video on the
elbow riding high, and going low, and trying to make contact with the sternum here, at
the end of the exercise. But what we also do is, when we get to the
top we just twist a little bit to open up this shoulder, get it into external rotation,
so when we come back, and in, we get internal rotation as that elbow drives toward that
lower chest. Again, following the fibers, using science,
letting our anatomy dictate the exercise, and making another effective option here when
we’re trying to hit that lower chest. Now let’s take that exercise one step further
because we can actually do better. We can get a little more adduction – provided
we have access here to a cable machine, or maybe a set of bands that we could anchor
up to a pullup bar – but this is the kneeling ex-press. What we’re looking for here is – the two
advantages are more adduction, as we can actually crossover our body here through midline – and
we can also get a better stretch, because we can allow that arm to drift up even higher
and get more of a separation here on this chest muscle from origin, to insertion. That is what we’re actually looking for. If you try this, again, position yourself
down on your knees and focus mostly on the angle of your arms because that is really
dictating how effective you’re going to be able to hit this lower area, and start
to get it to respond. Guys, the problem is, you don’t have a good
mind-muscle connection with this lower chest area. You probably don’t even have a good mind-muscle
connection with your chest in particular at all. You’re probably trying to just press, press,
press with a lot of heavy weight. Go a little bit lighter here. Leave the ego aside and start aiming for great
contractions, one after the next, after the next. If you have to do 10 sets of 1 I’d rather
see you do that, than one of 10 crappy ones. This next one actually comes in handy. Especially if you didn’t have access to
a cable machine, and maybe only have access to one band. If you can anchor that to something high,
like a pullup bar, and get your arm in this position here then you can do what we call
this D2 Flexion pattern. This is from PNF, a classic physical therapy
technique. But it actually works great when we’re trying
to train our chest because it’s following all the same rules that we’re going for
here. That is, you start your arm up high, and you’re
aiming for your opposite pocket. In order to get there, you have to go from
this externally rotated position of your shoulder, to an internal rotated position, as if you’re
going to take a sword out of that opposite pocket. Again, the other benefit here is, let’s
say you are stuck with using a band and you’re afraid that you don’t have enough resistance
by increasing the moment arm, and keeping your arm out straight. You can make that band feel a lot more difficult
than some of these other exercises we’ve already done here. You take that arm all the way across, keep
it nice, and long, turn it in, you’re getting adduction, you’re getting that same downward
and across angle that we’re going for here, and then of course, you go back nice, and
slow. So this is one of those home-friendly versions
that are still going to let everybody here – no excuses, everybody – start to work
on getting a better lower chest. Sticking with that ‘home’ theme, because
I’ve got you all covered here, I promise. We have an incline twisting pushup. We know that the incline pushup is actually
going to hit that area again. Why? Because of the angle of the arm. So, a little bit counter to what you might
think, incline is actually going to hit more of that lower chest. But what we can do is, we’ve got to make
it better because this exercise, by nature, is going to be a little bit easier because
you’re taking away some of the force of gravity down in your body, as it would be
in a regular pushup. But we can make it a little bit harder with
this extra twist. So, what we do here is, as we get toward the
top we twist our body away, which is actually creating something we’ve talked about many
times on this channel. That’s relative motion. We’re getting relative adduction of our
arm across our chest under load. We still have gravity pushing down on us. This is still creating a loaded adduction
as we turn into every, single rep. So, we’re adding an extra element of contraction. Again, we have our arms at that appropriate
angle, and we’ve given you another exercise here to use when you might be training at
home, or even if you’re at the gym and you just need another option. Last, but not least, guys. We have another option here. This one I actually debuted on Instagram. If you haven’t followed us over there already,
I kind of do a lot of unique stuff over there that we don’t do here. It’s @ATHLEANX over on Instagram. You’ll want to check us out over there. This is something we call a decline cable
dip. Again, we’re going back to that whole theme
of ‘dip’, because the dip is really putting us in that position we need to be in. But we setup a decline bench, and then we
lay back on it, and slide forward. Now we grab the cables, and you can see that
we’ve automatically put ourselves in that position. Almost like we do with the jackhammer pushdown
where our elbows are up nice and high. Then when we press we’re almost trying to
go right down, along the line of our body. Again, you can see that by doing that we’re
actually getting this really focused contraction here and feeling it really intensely down
in that lower chest area. Now you can try to bring your hands together
here if you’re able to, in order to intensify that contraction a little bit more, with a
little bit more adduction, but the fact is, you can load up this exercise a little more
than you can some of the other ones. That is its main benefit over the others. The bottom line is, it’s just another option. You don’t have to do all eight of these,
guys. You’ve got to start mixing some of them
in to start developing that better mind-muscle connection with this area, the better development
of this area, and if you need to work on that diet, you need to do that too, to be able
to see this area better. But I promise you’re going to see better
results here, once and for all. There you have it, guys. Eight new weapons in your arsenal for getting
that harder to hit lower chest area. Guys, remember, it’s not all about the lower
chest. If you want to get a complete physique you’ve
got to hit everything. We overlook nothing here at ATHLEANX. All of our programs make sure we guide you
through step by step to give you the science. Put the science back in strength, but to help
you develop a complete body. Those are all available over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else I can cover for you
and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.

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