The upper chest is one of the most difficult muscle groups to grow. Additionally, it is essential in maintaining a well-proportioned and aesthetic physique. There are a few main reasons why this area is so troubling to progress. First, the upper chest region responds to different stresses more effectively and certain exercises do not incorporate enough activation to see results. Second, common gym routines often neglect movements that are useful in building an aesthetic upper chest.
For example, the flat barbell bench press is a staple within the average gym routine. While this exercise does encourage upper chest activation, it is more effective at hitting the lower fibers of the pec. The same can be said for other compound movements such as weighted dips. Yes, the upper chest is incorporated when performing these progressions. But these types of movements should not be your ‘go-to’ if your goal is to grow the upper chest most efficiently and productively possible.
Many people need to target their upper chest to get a fuller and more aesthetic-looking physique. Basic gym exercises often neglect this area, and it is important to incorporate movements that prioritize the upper chest to see results in this region. In this article, I will give you 2 exercises that you need to use in your gym routine to effectively grow the upper pectorals. Also, I will give an in-depth description of how these movements should be performed. After utilizing these workouts for the upper chest, many of you will likely experience the following:
Better Mind Muscle connection with the upper pec when exercising
Development of a more aesthetic all-around chest
The chest is made up of two muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Additionally, they are often referred to as the upper and lower chest. The fibers of the pectoral muscles vary based on the region. Thus, it is important to understand the direction of these fibers when deciding upon exercises to better target a specific area of the chest.
Moreover, the fiber direction in the pectoral muscles influences the ability of a certain movement to activate different regions of the chest. When aiming to build a more aesthetic upper chest, it is essential to employ exercises that best utilize these specific fibers of the pecs which are also identified as the clavicular head of the pectorals. Examine the diagram above to better understand this idea. Now, I will give you the two exercises that are necessary to build the upper pec region.
Workout for Upper Chest
Exercise 1: Incline Barbell Bench Press
A key to targeting the upper chest in your routine would be to incorporate the incline barbell bench press. I understand that some of you are already utilizing a variation of this within your regimen. Although, there are a few cues that are important to know when performing this specific exercise to build the upper chest.
Focus on “pinching the shoulder blades together”
While performing this workout for the upper chest, it is important to retract the scapula or put an emphasis on pinching the shoulder blades together. What this does is that it places the shoulder in a position that is safer and less compromised which will lessen your risk of injury. Also, this cue establishes more activation within the chest and helps place the focus on this specific region.
Try to “slightly tuck the elbows”
The elbows are an important focus when performing this workout for the upper chest and they can greatly impact your risk for injury. Additionally, they can hinder the ability to fully activate the upper pecs if not in the correct position. It is best to keep the elbows at a 45-degree angle and avoid flaring them outward. Another cue that is useful when trying to incorporate this strategy is to ‘bend the bar’. Pretending to bend the bar will help externally rotate the shoulders and place them in a safer and more stable position.
Have a slight arch in the lower back
It is okay to have a slight arch in the lower back when doing the incline barbell bench press. Having an arch will place more focus on the upper chest. Perform this exercise with a slight arch in the lower back and the core firmly engaged to see the best results.
Performing the Incline Barbell Bench Press
Lastly, you should focus on driving the weight up while keeping your body tight and engaged making sure everything is stable. Plant the feet firmly into the ground and avoid too much movement within the legs. It is encouraged to perform a warmup before attempting this exercise. Also, during your working sets, try to go light to moderate on the weight with a primary focus on proper form and execution. If you do not have access to the barbell bench press a good alternative for this workout for the upper chest would be the incline dumbbell press. The same cues can be utilized when performing this movement.
Exercise 2: Low Pulley Cable Crossover
Now, we have the low pulley cable crossover. Grip the handles so that your palms are facing forward. With a slight bend in the arm, drive the hands upward focusing on bringing them together towards the midline of your body. Keep the core engaged. Additionally, the legs can be in a neutral or staggered stance. I prefer using the staggered stance to better maintain the technique while also keeping balance.
Like the incline barbell press, you need to keep your shoulder blades retracted and avoid rounding the upper back. What this will do is keep the shoulders in a safe position and prevent them from being compromised during the exercise. This will also help activate the upper chest more effectively.
A cue that can help the mind-muscle connection with the upper chest is to concentrate on bringing the elbows together. This visualization will aid in upper chest contraction and mindfulness of activation during the exercise. This movement is one of the best isolation exercises that focuses solely on building an aesthetic upper pectoral. If you do not have access to a cable system an effective alternative or workout for the upper chest would be to use a band with a similar setup/execution.
The upper chest is one of the most neglected areas of the average person’s physique. To build this region more effectively, you must incorporate exercises that target this specific area. The best workouts for the upper chest often include movements such as the incline barbell bench press as well as the low pulley cable crossover. When many of you integrate these exercises into your routine you will start to feel how it is to target the upper chest.
Overall, it is important to be aware of the movements you use in your routine to target specific muscle groups as well as the way the exercise is being performed. Paying attention to these things will provide effective changes for many of you in the gym.
Are you looking to get fit? Look no further! Our fitness programs are designed to help you build a strong and aesthetic physique. We also provide easy-to-follow routines that will fit any schedule. With our fitness programs, you'll have the tools you need to build muscle and achieve your fitness goals. Click the link below to get started!