The upper chest is by far the most challenging area of the entire chest to develop. The middle and lower parts are easier to develop because they are included in more exercises – such as the bench press or decline press.
These exercises are easier to get stronger because most of the chest muscles’ fibres are leaning in that direction.
There are far fewer muscle fibres in the chest that are directed towards the clavicle. Although these muscle fibres are involved in the arm’s abduction movement, it is the angle at which the arm returns to the body attached to the Upper Chest.
Having a well-developed upper chest not only gives to upper body fullness but also has useful benefits. Sufficient size and strength will add to greater strength in the barbell bench press and overhead barbell press exercises.
The goal is to develop a larger chest, but lifting weights without preparing your muscles for intense chest workouts will not yield results you can quickly see
Try a Short Warm-Up Routine
- Flat push-ups with hands spread
- Neutral grip push-ups
- Decline push-ups to exercise your chest from all angles
For Beginners and Professionals:
Taking this pre-workout 30 minutes before starting your training session will give you an energy boost that allows you to increase your potential from the first to the last repetition!
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The Crossing of Pulleys on an Inclined Bench
This is one of the most proper exercises for locating the upper chest muscles. This exercise with cables instead of dumbbells provides constant tension situated directly on the upper chest’s fibres.
This constant tension cannot be achieved with dumbbells because the movement’s curve does not take gravity into account.
I recommend this exercise after you’ve done barbell presses or dumbbell bench presses, as it is less taxing on your central nervous system.
Tips for training:
- Set bench at a 45-degree angle
- Low cables in arcing motion, make sure you feel the chest stretch
- Vary the position of the bench to exercise different angles of the upper chest.
- Contract and hold your chest muscles when your hands are together.
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 in the movement, the background causes many muscle fibres from the upper chest to be used. You will have to use a lighter weight to take advantage of that pause’s benefits, but the muscle contraction will be much greater.
During a high-volume, low-moderate weight workout, I recommend doing this exercise to get the most out of your exercise.
Tips for training:
- Palms facing each other, arms shoulder-width apart – wrists facing the ceiling (see image).
- Exhale as you raise the weights up – stay in control throughout all reps.
- Take your time when losing weight.
- Vary the angle of the bench to work out different areas of your chest.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is also a good compound exercise for building upper chest mass. One advantage that the barbell press has over the dumbbell press is the increase in weight. The bar allows you to add weights little by little, so the progress is more linear.
This means that it is more comfortable to increase the weights of a 1.25 kg bar on each side than to increase it with the 2.5 kg dumbbells.
Although the bar allows only a fixed range of motion, and less shoulder abduction, including a pause when lowering the weight, it will allow more upper chest muscle fibres to be used.
During a high-volume, low-moderate weight workout, I recommend doing this exercise to get the most out of the exercise.
Tips for training:
- The bar must be placed at a 30-degree angle – the separation of the hands must be the same as the shoulders’ width.
- The position bar should be right in front of you, setting your hands well to ensure a good starting position.
- The bar should be lowered slowly until it reaches the upper chest – and pause.
- Lift the bar using your chest muscles – lock your arms and push, getting the contraction.
Incline Machine Chest Press
The incline machine chest press allows for a full upper chest contraction. Since the machine is designed to focus only on the upper chest, this makes for a great exercise. It can also be useful for people with injuries, particularly to the shoulders, if they cannot do the barbell or dumbbell press.
The incline machine chest press also has less risk of postural errors. If you make a mistake in repetition, you can stop the machine without fear of injuring yourself.
Again, I recommend performing this exercise as a complement to the
barbell or dumbbell press
- Remember to adjust the seat height to ensure the bar levels to your chest.
- Support your back well on the seat and extend your chest muscles.
- Exhale as you push the bar, holding the contraction when you stop.
- Slowly return to the starting position
The T-bar press is not a very popular exercise, although it provides many benefits in relation to your upper chest’s progress.
It can be performed standing up, thus working the entire chest, and can improve torso stability and abdominal muscle strength. It can also be done using one arm at a time.
Although not necessary, it can focus on working more on both sides of the Chest muscles.
It is easily combined into a cardiovascular circuit through quick reps, including a jump in the movement. It can also be performed as a strength or hypertrophy exercise using a lower weight.
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Tips for training:
- Keep your spine straight during movement to prevent injuries.
- Exhale as you push the bar, inhale as you return to the starting position.
- Contract your pectoral muscles when you finish pushing the bar.
Upper Chest Routine
If your upper chest is undeveloped, I suggest choosing two of these exercises and performing one of them at the beginning of your chest workout. If your chest is well developed but you are looking to increase muscle mass, I would suggest choosing only one exercise.
For example, your choice might be an incline dumbbell bench press, followed by an incline bench pulley crossover.
I suggest choosing between incline dumbbell press or incline barbell press and doing this first, as it requires more energy.
Once the upper chest muscles are slightly tired, the other exercises can exhaust the upper chest muscle fibres.
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