Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Chest Workout- 5 Exercises To Build The Upper Chest

The Upper region of the chest is by far the hardest area of the chest
to build. The Middle and Lower chest are somewhat ‘easier’ to develop,
due to being involved in more exercises – such as a Flat Bench Press
or a Decline Press. You are more likely to be stronger in these

exercises, due to the majority of the Chest muscle fibres being
oriented in this direction.

There are much less muscle fibres of the Chest inserting into the
Clavicle. Whilst these muscle fibres are also involved in humerus
adduction, it is the angle at which the humerus is brought across the
body that targets the Upper Chest.

Having a well-developed Upper chest not only contributes to the
‘fullness’ of the upper body, it also has functional benefits.
Sufficient size and strength will contribute to greater strength in
the Barbell Bench Press and Barbell Overhead Press.
Warming up
The ideal goal is to build a bigger chest, but picking up a pair of
weights without preparing your muscles for a vigorous Chest workout
just won’t deliver the results you’re imagining will instantly happen.
Try a short warm-up routine:
– 1 x wide-grip flat push-ups
– 1 x  neutral grip push ups
– (If possible) 1 x decline push ups to hit your chest from all angles:

#1 Incline Cable Fly

This is one of the most suitable exercises for isolating the upper
chest muscles. Performing this exercise with cables instead of
Dumbbells allows for constant tension to be placed directly onto the
Upper Chest fibres.
This constant tension cannot be achieved with Dumbbells due to the
motion curve not considering gravity.

I recommend this exercise after you have performed heavy Barbell or
Dumbbell Bench Press, as it is less fatiguing on the Central Nervous

Training Tips:

✓ Position bench at around 45 degrees.

✓ Lower cables in an “arc” motion, ensure to feel the chest stretch.

✓ Vary the position of the bench to hit different angles of the upper chest.

✓ Hold and contract the chest muscles when hands are together.

#2  Incline Dumbbell Bench Press.

In my opinion, the best compound exercise for adding mass to the Upper
Chest is the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press.

Including a slight pause at the bottom of the movement allows for the
most recruitment of the Upper Chest muscle fibres. You will have to
use a lighter weight in order to get the benefits of the pause, but
the muscle contraction is much greater.

I recommend performing this exercise during a workout with a lot of
volume, and low-moderate weight, in order to get the most out of the

Training Tips:

✓ Palms to face each other, arms positioned shoulder width – wrists
rotated to face ceiling (see image.)

✓ Exhale whilst pushing dumbbells upwards – keep control at all times.

✓ Take your time lowering weights.

✓ Vary bench angles to hit different angles of the chest.

#3 Incline Barbell Bench Press

The Incline Barbell Bench Press is also a great, compound mass builder
for the Upper Chest. An advantage that the Barbell Press has over the
Dumbbell Press is the weight increments. Barbells allow for smaller
increments to be added, thus making progress more linear – i.e. it is
more realistic to be able to increase the weight of a Barbell by
1.25kg per side that it is to increase Dumbbell weight by 2.5kg each.

Whilst the Barbell allows for only a fixed range of motion, and less
humerus adduction, including a pause at the bottom will again allow
for more muscle fibre recruitment of the Upper Chest fibres.

I recommend performing this exercise during a workout with a lot of
volume, and low-moderate weight, in order to get the most out of the

Incline barbell bench press Training Tips:

✓ Bench to be around 30 degrees – hands positioned slider wider than

✓ Position bar straight in front of you, locking arms to secure
starting position.

✓ The bar should be lowered slowly until it has reached upper chest – and pause.

✓ Power the bar up using your chest muscles – lock arms and squeeze,
getting the contraction.

#4 Incline Hammer Strength Machine

Incline Hammer Strength Machine allows for complete contraction of the
Upper Chest. Due to the machine being designed to only target the
Upper Chest, this makes it a great exercise. It can also be useful to
people with injuries, particularly in the shoulder, if they cannot
perform the Incline Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press pain-free.

The Incline Hammer Strength Machine also allows for less opportunity
of form breakdown. If you are simply going to fail a repetition, you
can lower the machine back down, without any chance of injuring

Again, I recommend performing this exercise as an accessory for the
Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press.

Training Tips:

✓ Ensure to adjust the seat height to ensure the bar levels with your chest.

✓ Dig shoulder blades into the seat and ‘push out’ chest muscles.

✓ Exhale whilst pushing the bar forward, holding the contraction when stopped.

✓ Slowly return to starting position.

#5 The Landmine Chest Press

The Landmine Press is not a popular exercise, yet provides many
benefits in regards to progressing your upper chest.

It can be performed standing, thus increasing core involvement, and
can improve core stability and strength the abdominal muscles. It can
also be performed using one-arm at a time – unilaterally. Whilst this
is not always necessary, it can be used as a tool to increase the
focus on each side of the Chest muscles.

It can also be easily incorporated into a cardiovascular circuit
through high-repetitions and including a jump in the movement, or can
be used as a strength and hypertrophy exercise using lower volume.

Training Tips:

✓ Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury.

✓ Exhale on pushing movement, inhale when returning to starting position.

✓ Contract the pectoral muscle (pecs) at the top of the movement.

Sets & Reps

If your Upper Chest is considerably undeveloped, I suggest choosing 2
of these exercises, and performing 1 of them at the start of your
Chest workout. If your Upper Chest is well-developed, but you’re
looking to continue to add mass, then I would suggest choosing only 1

My ideal sets and repetition ranges would be:

Exercise Sets and Reps

Incline Cable Flies     3-5 x 6-12 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Press  2-4 sets of 5-10 reps.
Incline Barbell Press   2-4 sets x 5-10 reps.
ncline Hammer Strength Machine  2-4 sets of 5-10 reps.
Landmine Chest Press    3-5 sets of 6-12 reps.
For example, your choice may be Incline Dumbbell Press, followed by
Incline Cable Flies. I suggest choosing either the Incline Dumbbell
Press or Barbell Press, and performing these first, as they require
the most energy.

Once the Upper Chest muscles are slightly fatigued, then the other
exercises can be used in order to fully deplete the Upper Chest muscle

Thanks for reading, enjoy working your upper chest!

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