It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female. Underneath the pectoralis major is the pectoralis minor, a thin, triangular muscle.
A variety of resistance exercises can be used to train the pectoralis major, including bench pressing (using dumbbells, barbells or machines at various angles such as decline, incline and flat where the hips are above, below and level with the head respectively), push ups, flyes (using dumbbells or machines at either flat or inclined angles), cable crossovers or dips.
Multi-joint press exercises are better for building muscle mass, while fly and crossovers are more suited for shaping and increasing striations.
Muscles can be developed by working four regions of the muscle, upper, lower, outer and inner.
The pectoralis can also be trained through a variety of sports as well as by all four Olympic styles of swimming, i.e. the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl.
The anaerobic work capacity of the pectoralis is a major determinant of swimming speed, whereas swimming endurance is more influenced by the aerobic capacity of the deltoid muscle (apart from overall cardiopulmonary aerobic capacity).