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I have been trying calisthenics and when doing pushups I find that the next day the muscles that I feel sore are the lats (gods know why) and my upper chest. The part near the clavicle.

I was wondering if there is any way to target the lower chest?

  • That may feel like sore lats, but actually be your serratus. You can tell the difference by raising your arms over your head and feeling the serratus squeezing. It will be more sore than when you flex your lats. – Noumenon Jun 6 '16 at 7:15
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You say that you're doing calisthenics and you want to target the lower pecs. You have effectively just described the need for dips! My personal favourite exercise. I'm sure you already know how to do them and what they are. But a few pointers:

  • The more horizontal of an angle your torso is in equates to more of the chest being worked. This will still hit your lower pecs a lot regardless because of your hand positioning.

  • The more vertical your torso is, the more triceps you will engage (although your chest will still get worked quite a bit).

  • If you wan't to target the lower chest in pushups, basically the lower your hands are positioned relative to your torso, the more the lower chest will come into play. A very effective pushup for this purpose would be the elevated pushup with a little modification. To perform: put your feet on an elevated surface (chair, bed, bench...whatever), and position your hands a little lower than you would for a regular pushup, and push in a straight line, squeezing your pecs in the meanwhile.

Now, to make an entire workout of this. I would suggest starting with dips (3-4 sets of as many reps as you can do). Then moving onto to the pushups that I described above. After these two, presume your regular pushups. The reason being, that once you do these two predominant lower pec exercises, your lower chest will be exhausted and therefore will have to work harder for regular pushups, hitting them even HARDER! As you get more advanced you can try supersetting the dips with the pushups and etc.

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If you're just doing push-ups, it's all about the angle. As your hands go higher, you're targeting more of the upper-chest. As your feet go higher, you're targeting more of the lower-chest. The catch is that lowering your hands (or elevating your feet) will also make it harder because you're supporting less of your weight with your feet, increasing the amount of work your arms, shoulders, and chest have to do.

  • Exactly, that's why the best exercise for the lower chest with bodyweight should be the dips. – Boris May 30 '16 at 7:00
  • Actually, it is the other way around. Your legs/torso should be elevated if you are targeting lower pecs. See decline bench press. – Enivid Jun 2 '16 at 17:35
  • You are right. I was thinking pushups against a wall. – Sean Duggan Jun 2 '16 at 17:46

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