The chest anatomy includes the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and the serratus anterior. Learn about each of these muscles, their locations, functional anatomy and exercises for them.
This page provides an overview of the chest muscle group. Find out more about the individual muscles within the chest anatomy by clicking their respective links throughout this page.
Function of the Chest Muscles
The chest is part of a larger group of “pushing muscles” found in the upper body. The chest, as part of this group, enables you to perform pushing actions such as the barbell bench press or a daily activity such as moving a heavy dresser.
To fully develop your chest, you need to hit it with heavy weight using a couple smartly chosen exercises. Read on and learn more about each chest muscle, and how to properly perform exercises that adequately challenge them.
The pectoralis major is a large, substantial, fan-shaped muscle. And as you might guess from the word “major,” it makes up the majority of the chest muscle mass. It originates at your clavicle, ribs, and sternum, and inserts into the upper portion of your humerus (upper arm bone from elbow to shoulder).
The pectoralis major helps flex the shoulder joint, and moves your arm toward and across your chest. When training your pecs, you’ll likely notice that your shoulders and triceps also benefit.
The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle that is found underneath the pectoralis major. It attaches at the 3rd, 4th and 5th rib, and it reaches to the scapula (shoulder blade). Think of it as the little (yet very powerful) brother of the pactoralis major. Its job is to help pull the shoulder forward and down.
The serratus anterior, although not truly part of the chest anatomy, is commonly grouped as part of the chest muscle group because attaches near the pectorals on the ribs. Its functions are to move the scapula forward and upward.
Some popular chest exercises include: