Middle Chest Workout For An Epic Middle Line 

Solid middle chest development is a game changer. 

It gives your pectoral muscles that impressive, squared-off appearance that looks good in a t-shirt or on the beach. 

Welcome to the ultimate Middle Chest Workout guide. As a certified personal trainer, I’ll reveal powerful techniques to enhance your middle chest and transform your physique.

Are you ready to take your chest workouts to the next level? 
Here’s what’s coming up. 

2 Factors That Determine Middle Chest Development
How Do You Get A Middle Chest? 
Middle Chest Workout 
Middle Chest Anatomy 
Middle Chest Workout Tips 
Bottom Line 

2 Factors That Determine
Middle Chest Development

I think we can all agree. Chests with the middle line look a whole lot better than chests without them. 

It gives the chest a powerful, symmetrical look reminiscent of super hero physiques. But how do you get it?

That’s what we’ll talk about now. Let’s look at 2 definitive factors: genetics and nutrition. These will ultimately determine your middle chest development. 

The first factor that determines middle chest development is genetics and bone structure.   

There’s no way around this one ya’ll. 

It’s something you can’t do anything about, but that doesn’t serve as an excuse to be inactive about it. You can be responsible and take the right approach to get results. Back to genetics. 

Genetics determine the shape of your sternum and the muscle attachments to it. These will define how your middle chest looks. To check your genetic potential, do a finger test. 

The Finger Test

  • Take your index finger and place it at the top of your sternum. That’s the notch right in the middle between your collar bones. 
  • Drive your elbows to your sides to activate your chest a little. 
  • Drag your finger down the the middle of where your chest line is (or should be). Feel for the insertions of the pecs. A good cue is that if you roll your finger to the right or left, it’ll go up a little hill. 

If you have tight insertions, then you have excellent pec and sternum genetics. This means the insertions of the muscles are super close, so there’s not much exposed space on the sternum. 

What happens if during the finger test you don’t feel a little hill, but instead a flat bone? Nothing happens there unfortunately. Meaning, there’s no muscle insertions in that spot, and therefore no tight middle chest line. 

There’s also two bony problems that can occur on the sternum.

  • There is a sternal deformity called pectus excavatum. The sternum gives the chest a caved in appearance, and surgery may be the best option.
  • The second bone structure issue is that your sternum may not be straight. This will cause diagonal or jagged muscle breaks in your middle chest.

That genetics for ya. Asymmetries and other crooked lines around the sternum are here to stay. You can’t do anything about that.

But that in no way means that you’re doomed to have a bad looking chest forever. It’s just something you have to mentally accept and work around. 

The second factor that determines your middle chest development is nutrition.   

Any aesthetic goal that you have is going to have muscle tone and defined lines at its foundation. 

More body fat will cover the muscle you’ve been working hard to show. Higher levels of body fat will make the middle chest line disappear and instead add emphasis to the outer pecs.

Lower body fat levels will give you good definition and make your chest look more impressive. 

If you want to lose some weight, check out these science based weight loss tips. Maybe it the opposite and you’re trying to bulk. If so, go to my bulking blueprint.

How Do You Get A Middle Chest?

The answer is that you choose the right exercises. Besides genetics and nutrition, a third factor to middle chest development is training. 

First, let’s get this off our chest. There’s no way to totally isolate middle chest fibers with exercises! 

That’s because there’s no “middle chest line head” of the pectoral muscles. I’ll get more into this in the anatomy section at the end of the blog post. 

To get a middle chest, you have to learn how to train the rest of your chest. 

For instance, you can learn the direction of the muscle fibers and how to adduct your arms. Then learn technique and how your body moves while strength training. 

Stop focusing completely on strength development.  

Understand me here. I’m not saying to stop doing heavy bench presses, dumbbell presses, or weighted dips. 

Those are amazing exercises that allow you to overload the pecs quickly. These give your body the opportunity to build muscle as fast as possible (with the right nutrition and recovery). 

If you continue to focus on solely on strength development exercises, you’ll be left without middle chest development. But why? Let’s look at two reasons. 

Reason 1: There’s no arm adduction on strength development exercises.

Adduction of the arm is the movement where the arm is brought closer to the body’s midline. In the case of middle chest development, you want to move across the midline to get full chest contraction. 

You want a full chest contraction
to get middle chest development! 

  • The big, heavy exercises mentioned above (heavy bench presses, dumbbell presses, or weighted dips) only slightly adduct your arms. The adduct from the side of the body to halfway to the midline. 
  • To get maximal arm adduction, single arm movements are the best. We get the working hand past the midline of the chest, almost towards the opposite shoulder. 

Reason 2: It’s all about how you perform strength development exercises.

You don’t want to rush through the movements. If you move slow, it becomes easier to take the shoulders and triceps out of the movement.  This lets you focus on solely using and contracting the pecs. 

No matter what exercise you do, slow down the pace and let the chest work without momentum. Hold your chest and rib cage high to have good posture. 

This will force your chest muscles to be the dominant contributor to the exercise. Because it’s very natural to let momentum take over and let the front deltoids do the work. 

Middle Chest Workout

Flat Push Exercise 4 x 8-10 
Options: Barbell Flat Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press, Chest Press Machine 

  • Do a warm up set to two, then lift moderately heavy for 8 to 10 reps to get a good chest pump. 
  • The more blood that get into your muscles the better! Remember to use full range of motion and good form and technique. 

Single Arm Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 4 x 10 per arm 

  • The point here is to adduct beyond the midline. 
  • Tweak your form to get more adduction by shifting your body and rotating onto half your butt. Drive your arm up and across your body. 

Single Arm Cable Chest Press (adduct beyond the midline)
3 x 15-20 per arm 

  • High reps are to get a good burnout and full chest contraction. 
  • Again, adduct your arm beyond the midline of the chest. 

Middle Chest Anatomy 

middle chest workout

Your chest muscles are scientifically known as the pectoral muscles or “pecs” for short. They help to move your arms and shoulders. 

Understanding how the pecs work can help you better appreciate your body and this middle chest workout.

The Main Players: Pec Major & Minor  

The pectoralis major is divided into three heads. The clavicular head, the sternocostal head, and the abdominal head, a finding acknowledged in this study from 2020.

  • Upper Chest (Clavicular Head). This part of the pec major is found near your collarbone. It’s responsible for moving your arm up and across your body. 
  • Middle Chest (Sternocostal Head). This is the bulk of the pec major, stretching across your chest. It helps you bring your arms across your body, like when you’re giving someone a big bear hug.
  • Lower Chest (Abdominal Head). Found towards the bottom of the pec major, this part helps you push things down and away. 

The pectoralis minor is located underneath the pectoralis major. The pec minor helps stabilize your shoulder blades and is essential for shoulder movement and posture. 

How the Chest Contracts 

Your pecs are like a powerful elastic band that acts as front armor for your chest.

When you stretch out your arms, this elastic band lengthens. When you bring your arms back towards your body, the band contracts and shortens. Here’s how it works. 

  • Activation: Your brain sends a signal to your chest muscles via your nervous system, telling them to contract.
  • Contraction: Muscle fibers within the pecs slide past each other, shortening the muscle and pulling your arm towards your body. This is why you feel your chest tighten when you bench press. 
  • Relaxation: When the movement is complete, the muscle fibers slide back to their original position, and your chest relaxes.

Contraction of the middle chest can be hit or miss because the middle chest is a non spanning muscle fiber. This means does not have origin or insertion in the chest muscle. 

The middle chest muscle fibers lay in the middle of the pec major or only attach to one end. 

So how do they contract if they’re not attached? The fibers have special sticky filaments that hold onto other fibers to contract. 

That’s why it’s ultimately up to your training style to determine if you’re targeting the middle chest or not. 

Middle Chest Workout Tips 

Tip 1: Aim for a strong contraction  

Stronger middle chest muscle contraction should be an ongoing goal for a developed chest. 

The contraction tip is to bring your arm from the side of your body to past the midpoint (sternum). Find the sweet spot of how far your arm is from your torso when doing a middle chest workout.  

Some will feel their chest contract better with their arm close to the body, while others may feel it better further away. Experiment with the cable settings and weight to find where you feel best middle chest contraction. 

Tip 2: Drop the weight down  

Go for a more metabolic route with higher reps instead of a strength route with lower reps. 

Drop the weight down to get into a fully contracted chest muscle state. It may even be the first time you experience this sensation if you’re lifting heavy all the time. 

You need to go a little bit lighter on the weight in order to get to the full contraction of your arm past the midline of your body. 

This will ensure that you get maximum hypertrophy and the deepest middle chest line you can.

Tip 3: Burn out 

You’ll notice that the middle chest workout has high reps (15-20) on the single arm cable chest press. 

You really want to celebrate the burn and enjoy it. Create an intense burn that you can barely stand it! That way you are getting a full chest contraction that can lead to middle chest gains. 

Bottom Line

Congratulations, you now have what it takes to build a defined middle chest! 

The big takeaways are that genetics, nutrition, and training habits will determine how your middle chest looks. Go for exercises that let you adduct the arm past the midline of the chest for maximal contraction. 

A strong contraction, lighter weight, and burn outs will help you get one step closer to the covered middle chest line. With this dynamic middle chest workout, you’re working towards a chiseled, powerful look.

Want more way to work the chest? Check out the Best Barbell Chest Exercises or these Do Anywhere Push Up Variations.


Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!

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