Upper chest training is perfect for building your chest and achieving your desired physique. Yes, you may not like your chest much because of how imbalanced it looks.
Maybe you have even tried several bodybuilding workouts to build your chest so that it fits well with your arms and shoulders. Here’s the thing: when growing your upper chest, you should use weights and track your progress.
No doubt, the upper chest muscle is one of the most difficult muscles to grow. But with the upper chest training tips in this post, you’ll discover the proper way to build your upper pecs and establish a training routine that suits your lifestyle.
Upper Chest Muscle Anatomy
To begin, the upper chest, technically called the clavicular pectoralis, is found in a part of your chest muscle. It’s on the area between your shoulder, arms, and pectoralis major (the big chest muscle).
Basically, when you engage in upper chest muscle exercises, your area of emphasis is the clavicular pectoralis. Working out with the bigger chest muscle in mind shows that you understand these two realities:
- Many times, the upper chest muscles do not grow as fast as the big muscles. Why? Big muscles generally grow faster. Try decline bench press and you’ll discover this.
- Also, when you perform exercises for the upper chest, other areas of the chest grow. Incline pressing and reverse-grip bench pressing are two exercises which build the upper chest muscles as well as the bigger parts of the chest.
In essence, when your upper chest muscle is flat and firm, your pec major won’t be the only dominant thing about your chest. What you get from the ideal chest workouts is a well-developed upper chest.
Common Chest Workout Mistakes
Before we discuss the exercises for building your upper chest, let’s talk a little about some of the common mistakes people make.
- Focusing on machines like the Smith Machine and engaging in isolation exercises – In a 2011 study that compared the effects of the Smith Machine and bench exercises on muscle activation, it was stated that the Smith Machine produces smaller muscle gains and don’t make you as strong as you really should be.
- Again, spending too much time on achieving bigger rather than stronger muscles has its downsides. High-rep training can produce bigger, bolder muscles but this doesn’t necessary make these muscles strong. So strength and size should always go hand in hand.
- Taking steroids to boost upper chest growth – what you get from using drugs to speed up your upper chest growth is an imbalance or abnormally big shoulders and chest. This study discovered the impact of steroids (which contain high levels of anabolic hormones including testosterone). It is true that an excessive supply of these hormones can make the shoulder, upper chest, and trapezius become unnecessarily bigger and poorly-shaped.
Consider switching to compound movements and heavy training. Here, you’ll give more of your time to bench presses, barbell workouts, dips, and flyes.
To grow your chest (and other) muscles naturally, you need to engage in heavy lifting and workouts that emphasize your upper pecs.
What are Upper Chest Exercises?
Upper chest exercises are typically workouts that target the use of heavy weights. To get a bigger upper chest, you need to find a balance between doing too many or too few reps of chest workouts with heavy weights.
Learn to perform upper pec training in sections. To get that armor-like chest appearance, try to concentrate on your weaker areas. Same applies to other muscles in your body.
Why You Need Upper Chest Training
Three major reasons you should engage in upper chest training are:
- To build thickness in your upper chest – It’s true that the upper chest isn’t just a myth. The way your upper chest looks influences the overall outlook of your upper body. Hence, chest training will give you that thick, big look which makes your shirts fit perfectly and makes you feel good about yourself.
- To gain upper body strength – Upper chest workouts produce both bigger upper chest muscles and stronger pecs. A mix of both allows you to lift weights more comfortably and without the fear of failing or dropping them over. Upper chest training for strength, therefore, involves trying several angles rather than staying in a fixed position on the incline bench.
Do Supplements Affect the Upper Chest?
For many men, supplements play a big role in shaping their physique. The trick to finding the right supplement is to look for products which do not overpromise or include empty ingredients.
What you really need is a product with the right ingredient, results, and reasonable price. So before you purchase a supplement product, check if it has the following natural substances:
- Creatine – this has been proven to be safe (especially for people with healthy kidneys). It also helps in muscle building and boosting endurance.
- Whey Protein Powder – the richest protein supplement is excellent for getting the best out of your chest workouts and recovering after training.
- Pre-workout drinks comprising ingredients such as betaine, caffeine, and theanine among others. Ensure that the drinks are free of sweeteners, fillers or other meaningless ingredients.
Upper Chest Training Tips for Beginners
As a beginner trying to build your upper chest, consider the following training tips:
- Begin your workouts with elevated pushups – While it’s true that pushups are great chest exercises, these exercises are equally important for starting any upper chest muscle routine. Place your feet on a raised hard surface such as a bench and pull your body forward with the emphasis on your upper pecs.
- Fill your training with any form of incline workout – Since your target is your upper pec, you should engage in a variety of incline moves which strengthen this specific muscle.
- Try incline benches with different angles – Any angles from 15-45 degrees will work your upper muscles in several result-driven ways.
- Perform incline moves with your shoulder blades tucked – When you’re focusing on building your upper chest, you should keep your shoulder blades in and down. Holding them down firmly will allow your upper pecs to pop out and get all the work down as you push or lift.
- Combine barbell and dumbbells – Using the two equipment will enable you to try different incline degrees. Likewise, you get to work your muscles and address your left and right sides more intentionally.
- Go easy on yourself – As you make progress with your chest workouts, remember to assess your progress and take things easy. Take breaks to view your upper chest and rest when you need it. Taking on endless sets will only tire you out for a longer period.
6 Best Upper Chest Exercises
- Elevated or Decline Pushups
How do you engage in upper chest workout pushups? Step it up. Put your feet on a box or bench so your body is elevated or at an angle.
Unlike the basic pushups, the elevated pushups are more challenging. However, they are equally more productive as far as upper chest muscle growth is concerned.
Plus, pushups are one of the best upper chest home workouts which do not always require equipment.
- Incline Cable Flyes
Cable exercises allow you to try a variety of angles and see how far your muscles can go. Set the pulleys to a low height and stand in between them.
Next, grab the handles on both sides and pull upward until you have both in the middle and your upper pec muscles contract. Repeat this until it’s time to switch movements.
- Incline Barbell Bench Press
Upper chest workout with barbell is easier than you think. For a lot of people, the Smith Machine is a safer option. But with the right activation and use of the barbell bench, you can avoid any accidents.
Lie down comfortably on the bench and be sure that your eyes are just under the bars. Tuck your shoulder blades down and grab the bars with your wrists in a straight position as you press up and down.
Ensure that the bar touches your chest and your elbow isn’t too far away from your torso. 60 degrees is good.
- Reverse-Grip Bench Press
You’ll need a flat bench for this so that you don’t have to change angles. Grab your chosen equipment with an underhand grip and extend your hands until your chests contract fully.
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Performing upper chest exercises with dumbbells allows you to focus on the pec muscles on each side one at a time.
With your back against the bench, hold two dumbbells above your body. Keep them aligned with your chest and extend them up and down until your elbows begin to feel like they need a break.
Remember to inhale when you raise the dumbbell and exhale when you lower your hands.
No doubt, dips are effective workouts for the upper chest. How do you perform them?
Use parallel bars and lock your arms above the bars. As you inhale, lean your torso inward. Keep your elbows spread out until you begin to feel the pull in your chest.
Once you feel the stretch, use your chest to return your body to its initial position. Repeat this within 10-15 minutes.
The Bottom Line
When you work out your upper chest, you transform the lagging muscles into tough, prominent muscles. And it all boils down to establishing the right upper chest training that works for you.
With the top exercises for your upper chest, the perfect diet, and patience, you’ll see impressive results in one to three years. So, include these training tips and exercises in your chest workout routine and track your progress.
You should well be on the way to developing that Arnold Schwarzenegger kind of upper chest. Are you looking to grow a bigger frame and a more attractive torso? Get started with these chest exercises right away!