When people are trying to perfectly sculpt their pecs, the upper chest muscles are sometimes unduly forgotten. They’re small, they’re not growing so fast, so why pay attention to them in your workout routine? Isn’t it better to focus on more impressive main chest muscles? Well, turns out that it isn’t. If you want to achieve that fully armoured look, focusing on your upper chest is unavoidable. Read this article to sort out how to work on your upper chest muscles to make them finally do their job, and which exercises to incorporate in your training routine to build up the broad and strong chest you’re aiming for.
What are the upper chest muscles?
The main muscle of your chest is pectoralis major. It consists of the upper peck, called clavicular head, and the lower pec, called sterna head. The thing is, your upper pec muscle runs at a different angle to the rest of your chest muscles. Consequently, they’re often underdeveloped as the majority of exercises aiming at chest muscles fail to strain them enough. That’s why, if you’re reading this article, In order to properly target the upper chest. Follow these recommendations to adapt your workout routine to your goals in order to achieve that drool-worthy Greek god body.
How to workout your upper chest
1. Begin with the multi-joint upper chest movement
The easiest and most obvious solution to target your upper pecs is to strain them first thing in your workout. So, instead of starting your workout on the flat bench, begin with the incline bench press. When you flip those movements, you’ll find that you’re significantly stronger, and can do more, because you’re not drained after completing a ton of other exercises yet. That’s why it’s recommended to begin with the upper chest. Forcing the pecs to lift more than they’re accustomed to will put you on the road to the shredded chest. Besides, when you do more on inclines, don’t hesitate to use a bit more challenging weight.
2. The fixed bench is not the best choice
If you take a closer look at incline bench-press stations, you’ll see that the angle of the bench is typically around 45 degrees. There’s no natural law claiming that the upper pecs must be worked continuously from the same angle. Actually, if you variate the bench positions, the development of your chest muscles will be more effective. Looking at the bench that can be adjusted, you can notice a couple of positions marked by notches. If you strongly wish to improve your upper chest, all of those positions will serve you later.
3. Incline barbell bench press
Set the bench at a 30-45 degree angle and you’ll force your upper pecs to literally do the heavy lifting.
You’ll have to experiment with different bench positions within that range as the optimum angle varies individually. Make sure not to set the angle too steep or you’ll end up targeting your delts.
4. Incline dumbbell bench press
As with the incline barbell press, set your bench to a 30-45 degree angle.
Rest the dumbbells vertically on your thighs while sitting upright. Lean backward so that your head is pressed against the bench. Then, bend your elbows and get the weights in position. They must be at the same level with your shoulders and chest.
Push the dumbbells upward and toward each other in an arcing motion, but stop when the weights are a couple of centimeters apart. Don’t smash the weights together as it will reduce the tension in your upper chest. While the weights are in their highest position in the arc, squeeze your upper pecs so that you can feel the tension in them. Now, slowly reverse the upward motion and lower the dumbbells.
5. Low to high cable crossovers
This is one of the most efficient upper chest target exercises. They’re an amazing choice to perfectly sculpt the shredded pecs.
Hold the handles roughly at hip level with your arms at your sides. You should angle them roughly 45 degrees to the floor. Your palms should be facing forward. If there are stirrup handles in your gym, they fit the best for this exercise but all handles will work. Breathe out, and bring your hands to about eye level in a wide arc motion. Your hands should come together in front of your chest, and your palms should face up. Squeeze your chest muscles for about a second. Lower while breathing out and repeat.
6. High Cable Flyes
The incline in this exercise is not in the equipment being used or the position of the body. Instead, it’s in the real movement of the resistance itself. When you pull the weight upwards, your upper chest muscle gets a huge contraction, and that’s exactly what you need. It is remarkably safer than flyes that need a bench due to less risk of overstretching, which is caused by gravity pulling the weights lower than you thought it would. It also allows you to strongly hit the pec group as a whole a lot harder without a lot of worrying.
From a standing start and pulleys at either side of you, set to a low position. Now hold the handles with an underhanded grip and lift upwards and outwards until the two meet in the middle. Contract tightly and return to your starting position. Stop when you meet in the middle, and then lower the cables back down in a controlled way to keep time under tension high.
7. Seated Incline Cable Fly
This is an essential part of every workout aiming at upper chest. It focuses on the upper chest while still working on mid-and low-chest muscles.
Take an adjustable bench over to a dual set of cables, put it between the pulleys and set it at a 30-45 degree angle. Drop the pulleys to their lowest level, the floor level would be perfect. Select the same weight on each of the pulleys. Lie down on the bench and take a pulley in each of your hands. Bring your hands together at arm’s length in front of your face. Lower your arms out at both sides in an arc-shaped movement while breathing in. You should slightly bent them so that you don’t overstretch your biceps. Bring your arms back to the starting position as you squeeze your chest muscles and exhale. Hold the contracted position for about a second.