Workouts for the Sternum

Opening and closing your arms helps target your sternum area.
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Working out the pectoral muscles in your chest isn't always enough to build up the center and lower sections where the muscles connect to the sternum, or breastbone. If you need to build up that area and get rid of a dip, often called a sunken chest, target that area with several types of pectoral workouts. Stand and sit up straight with your shoulders back throughout the day to keep the muscles around the sternum engaged as they help you maintain good posture. Tilting your shoulders forward as you walk, run or sit in a chair at work can weaken the muscles around the sternum.


Add different types of dumbbell flies to your workout to help target the muscles around your sternum. Lie on a weight bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift them above your chest with your palms facing inward and the dumbbells almost touching. Round out your elbows as if you were hugging someone, then open your arms, keeping them rounded. Vary the routine by performing the move on a decline bench, sitting straight up, standing and bent over at the waist or while balancing your shoulder blades on a stability ball. Start with one set of 10 and work up to two sets of 10 repetitions.


A pullover is a similar move to a skullcrusher, but it engages more of the chest as you move the weight farther back. Hold a single dumbbell in both hands, gripping it at one end and letting the other end hang free. Lie on your back on a weight bench and hold your arms straight up; the weight should hang over your face. Bend your elbows to lower the weight, bringing it behind your head. Keep the rest of your body still and your elbows close together. Do one set of 12 repetitions, using a spotter to make sure you have a good grip on the dumbbell.


While most dips are designed to work your triceps, you can focus more of the move on the sternum area of your chest by changing your position. Lift yourself up on the dip bars so your arms are straight, directly beneath your shoulders. Cross your feet and bend your knees slightly, then use your shoulders as a lever and lean your head and neck forward while your feet and legs go backward slightly. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and push up. Start with one set of five repetitions and work up to one or two sets of 10.


Stretching your chest area can be challenging, but it can help elongate the muscles and keep them from sinking in along your sternum. Stand in a doorway and bend one elbow. Place it on the door frame with your forearm pointing up and your elbow at shoulder height. Turn your body slightly away from the arm on the door frame to stretch across your pectorals. Repeat with the other side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

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