What are the Pectoral Muscles?

man with big muscles resting after workout cardiac muscle


The pectoral muscles, commonly referred to as “pecs”, are the large fan-shaped muscle group located on the upper chest and front of the shoulder joints.


  • There are two sets of pectoral muscles: pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.
  • The large pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest and handles shoulder adduction. Pectoralis minor lies underneath.
  • Training the pecs improves posture by counteracting hunched, internally rotated shoulders.
  • Target the pecs with presses like bench press, push ups, dips and plyo push ups. Flys, crosses and pullovers also isolate the pecs.


  • Bulging, defined pec muscles in bodybuilders and athletes.
  • Weak or tight pec minor muscles causing poor posture.

Related Terms

  • Chest muscles, chest press

Common Questions

  • Can women get big pecs from chest training? Women lack the testosterone levels to build excess mass naturally. But the pecs can be strengthened and defined.
  • Does bench press work anything besides pecs? It activates the front deltoids, triceps, upper back muscles and core stabilizers as well.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Pectoral girdle – The shoulder bones including clavicle and scapula.
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