When it comes to chest exercises, many people jump straight into trying to get the biggest pecs possible. Usually, that means doing the typical heavyweight exercises. But there’s actually way more to the pectoral group, and a lot of it is in your upper chest.
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- How to Train your Upper Chest
- Incline Chest Press
- Reverse Grip Bench Press
- Low to High Cable Flys
- Decline Push-Ups
How to Train your Upper Chest
Your chest is made up of several different regions, and to maximise your results, you need to be training all of them. A neglected area is the upper chest. For some reason, the middle and lower areas of the chest seem to get the vast majority of our attention and effort. That isn’t necessarily the best way to build, and a good upper chest workout is always a good call.
In light of this, we’ve put together a list of the most hard-hitting upper chest exercises. These exercises will help to build up your chest as a whole. Your performance in other exercises should see a huge boost, too.
Incline Chest Press
First up, the incline chest press. This is a multipurpose chest exercise. The incline means that you’re working at a different angle, and the weight needs to be moved upwards as well as outwards. You can complete this exercise with either a barbell or dumbbells depending on your preference. Before you choose, remember that your stabilisation and use of supporting muscles will vary.
Lay on your back on the weight bench with your equipment in hand. Start with an overhand grip on the weights, with your arms in front of you, making a right angle at the elbow. Push forward, focusing on the chest to get the best contraction.
Ensure your pectorals are contracted tightly at the top before you lower the weight back down. Make sure you do not bring your arms too low when bringing back down, stopping again to make a right angle at the elbows.
Reverse Grip Bench Press
Going back to a flat bench, there are other ways to work the upper chest. Using the reverse grip barbell chest press is one of them. Changing the grip of the bench press massively reduces the use for the shoulders and utilises more work from the upper chest and the triceps. That makes it ideal upper chest exercise for muscle variation, without too much extra work.
The same mechanics as the exercise above take place here, but with a flat bench and the opposite grip. Hold the equipment with an underhand grip this time, and extend the arms again to full contraction of the chest. Then, bring back down to a near right angle in the arms.
Low to High Cable Flys
The incline in this exercise is not owed to thee equipment or the position of the body. Instead, it’s in the actual movement of the resistance itself. Pulling the weight upwards means your upper chest gets a huge contraction, and that’s what we need. Cable exercises are always good to mix things up.
These are safer than flys that need a bench, due to the lower risk of over stretching, which is caused by gravity pulling the weights lower than you may have intended. It also allows you to really hit the pec group a lot harder.
From a standing start and pulleys at either side of you, set to a low position, you’re ready. 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.
Finally, the decline push up can’t be forgotten as one of the best upper chest exercises. Best of all, you don’t need any special equipment. With your feet elevated above the rest of your body, you are creating an inverse incline and using the same movement that you would be doing with an incline bench.
The difference is, you are doing a much more natural and balanced movement with your bodyweight alone. This way, you put less stress on your joints and don’t rely as heavily on balancing the weight. That’s another great way to boost performance and progress, even from home.
The decline push up follows the same mechanics of the standard push up, but with legs elevated and hands on the floor. Lower yourself to the floor and extend your arms to push yourself back up to the starting position. That’s about all there is to it! It’s simple but effective.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.