T Nation

Training with Pectus Excavatum


As this is a cosmetic question, i felt id post it here. I was born with a chest deformity called Pectus Excavatum, which is bascially being 'funnel chested'. I have a dent in my mid to lower chest. I had surgery a few years back to fix it, and while the surgery succeed in getting rid of my asthma, it didnt rid me of the dent.

So i was wondering, do ya'll have any suggestions on how to not bring attention to it, or improve the appearence. ive gained a good deal of muscle since working out, which improves my appearence, but idk if i should enjoy flat bench pressing, in fear of making my lower chest thicker and emphasizing the dent. any advice would really be appreciated.

Also, does anyone know of any bodybuilders or athletes who have this same condidtion, or that look like they may have a mild case (a small dent inbetween their pecs), so i can see what it looks like having it with much more developed body? Somewhere i thought i read Steeve Reeves had it...


I also have Pectus Excavatum and used to be very self conscious of my chest. I'm not sure that anything will "improve" the appearance, but I will say that as I have become more focused on adding muscle everywhere I no longer care about the indention in chest.

At 6'2" 225, I am not big by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel much better about how I look. Also, other people comment about my size now and not about the dent in my chest. Your stats indicate that you are extremely skinny. I think that if you focus on, (and more importantly, commit to) putting on a serious amount of muscle mass you will notice and care about the dent in your chest much less.

For me, it came down to changing the things I could and making those more noteworthy than the bone structure I was born with.


wow, thanks alot 007. im not as selfconscience about it as i use to be, but it still bugs me now and then. what weight did start at when you started training?


Although I do not suffer from this condition, my ex flatmate and training partner did, and was able to make some very impressive improvements in his appearance. In clothes, you would never know.

They key for him was to gain a lot of body weight and maximize his pectoral and abdominal development. He weighs about 220lbs now, at roughly 6'1. He is pretty lean also. By increasing mass over the whole of his upper body; traps, shoulders, chest and abs, and by concentrating on the chest, he developed a very impressive physique that as a whole, detracted from the funnel chest. Visually, with his shirt off, it is only noticeable (to an extent) around his sternum.

If I were you, I would'nt be down about this. Its just another challenge. Physically, we all have them and this is yours. So in sum:

  1. Get bigger all over
  2. Concentrate on your upper body
  3. Pay attention to your chest & abs

Exercise like decline db presses, close grip bench presses, heavy weighted dips along with delts, traps and abs are probably the way to go.

Dont forget to train the lower body also

Good luck!


Well, I started training when I was 13 or 14 and maybe 5'6" 140, so that's not that very helpful. I ate like crap and was fairly lazy most of my time in undergrad until about 2.5 years ago when I got back into training. At that point I dropped about 50lbs of fat, down to 185 at my lowest. Felt to small for my liking, so began increasing my food and focusing on adding muscle.

I'm not quite as lean as I was at the lower body weight and have done a couple month to two month mini cuts in the last two years. Each time I cut down a bit I realized I still did not have enough muscle to look the way I wanted when leaner, so went back to focusing on adding muscle.

In terms of the chest stuff, I will say that I always felt my bench was lagging compared to my other lifts. I don't know if this is related to the indented chest, but always felt that it could be a cause. Maybe someone with more knowledge on that could lend a hand there.


I've heard that about the low bench press numbers before from other websites with pectus weightlifters, and suffer from tha problem also. while most of my other lifts go up consistently, my bench nymbers rarely move with the same consistency.


thanks alot. this was alot of help