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I know it's a pun on pectorals, but not even pectorals seem to have anything to do with physical defense. Please don't question my curiosity.

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can’t really give a solid answer, but the japanese name is “pigeon breast” and the pokemon who have it are birds
I imagine that since it references pectorals, big pecs means large muscle mass, which means more girth, which means you can tank hits better? But this is just rampant speculation.
https://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/989552-pokemon-black-version/57617013?page=1 The last post in this thread seems to give a pretty convincing explanation to why, but I'm not sure if you'd count that as an answer.
If you copy paste that into an answer, then I'll select it.
I always thought it had to do with pecking things
I think you're actually right because in Japanese, the translation is pigeon breasts.

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The last post in this thread seems to give a pretty convincing explanation to why.

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