The reason you need to do an upper chest workout is simple, you have under-worked your upper chest region and now you can see a visible difference.
This difference can exist for a number of reasons. The majority of our chest workouts start with the flat bench approach. Because we hit the flat bench first, we use our highest energy levels to workout our mid-chest.
Then we gradually workout our lower or upper chest. This usually leaves one of the two neglected. Another reason could be your genetics, there are different body types. Each one of these types has a different frame and metabolic system. Some find it easier to put on weight or lose weight.
These are just a few reasons why you need to incorporate an upper chest workout into your routine.
Check out this in-depth upper chest workout that gives you the right strain and intensity to quickly grow mass and strength.
An In-depth Upper Chest Workout
This upper chest workout consists of 5 movements. It starts working your upper chest muscles, followed by movements that work the overall chest and finally one last upper chest movement.
Even though there are only 5 movements, the first two movements are your major tool for building upper chest muscles quickly.
Incline Barbell Bench Press
Set the bench to a 30 to 45-degree incline. You’ll have to experiment a bit to see which angle targets your upper chest muscles perfectly. Also, do not go so heavy that your back starts to arch. If your back arches, it’s like lifting on a flat bench.
How to do an incline barbell bench press:
- Lie down on the bench with your eyes just under the bar
- With an overhand grip, grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart
- Now, hold the bar over your chest
- Lower the bar down until it touches your chest
- Make sure your elbows do not flare out to the side
- Pause for a second before lifting to rest position
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
This variation is still hitting your upper chest muscles. But you’ll also feel your triceps and deltoids working during this movement.
You’ll want to maintain the same incline somewhere between 30 to 45-degrees. The movement is similar to the first exercise. Therefore, we are going to change up the reps a bit here.
Sets: 3 (do a failure set)
How to do incline dumbbell bench press:
- Lay down on the bench
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and level them with your chest and shoulders
- Now, push the dumbbells up and close to each other but don’t touch the weights
- Finally, in the opposite arching motion bring your dumbbells back down
Dumbbell Chest Fly
The next part of this upper chest workout requires a flat bench. We don’t want to overwork our upper chest muscles. Besides, the flat bench variation will give us a complete chest workout that also involves upper chest muscles as well.
You’ll also feel your deltoids and biceps being worked during this movement.
Sets: 3 (also, do a failure set)
How to do a dumbbell chest fly:
- Hold the dumbbells in your hands and lay down on a flat bench
- Next, lift your arms up and keep them straight
- Now, slightly bend your elbow and lower the dumbbells down until they are in line with your chest
- Hold for a moment before returning to your overhead position
This is a classical all-round chest exercise. The dumbbell pullover is an optimal single-joint movement that works your pectorals, triceps, serratus, and latissimus dorsi.
Start off with a lighter weight for this movement, as there are more reps this time around.
How to do dumbbell pullover:
- Lay down on the bench with your head on the end of the bench and shoulders resting on the bench with the rest of the body off the floor
- Have a spotter help you with the dumbbell
- Join your thumbs and indexes with each other and form a diamond grip to hold the dumbbell from one end
- Now, let the dumbbell drop backward as low as you can
- You should feel your chest muscles and lats stretch
- Next, lift the dumbbell back up until it’s over your head
This is the final exercise in our upper chest workout. Even though this variation is a decline, it still works on your upper chest. This is one of the most difficult variations of the push-up.
Because your feet are higher than the rest of your body, your arms have to do a lot more lifting. Plus, your upper chest muscles are also worked out. Apart from that, your shoulders and the rest of your upper body also plays a part.
Sets: 3 (also, do a failure set)
Reps: 12 to 15
How to do decline push-ups:
- Place your feet on the edge of a box or a platform
- Your hands should be in a high push-up position, shoulder-width apart
- Now, lower yourself by bending your elbows
- Resist arching your back
- Pause when you are just a few inches off the ground
- Now, push yourself up and straighten your arms
Upper Chest Workout Rules To Quickly Grow Mass
Your workout should consist of 6 to 8 movements for the complete utilization of the target muscles.
The first exercise of your upper chest workout should be an upper chest movement.
Whether you want to start with a barbell or dumbbell press, it’s all about the angle.
You need to start with an incline variation. All incline variations of bench-based chest exercises target your upper chest. If you’ve never started chest workouts with the incline variations, chances are your upper chest muscles are going to strain harder than usual. The main ingredient for bigger gains.
Do it manually; avoid fixed benches
Avid bodybuilders usually prefer manual incline benches over fixed machines. There is a different feel of lifting on your own. But, the fitness reason is that some of these machines end up working your deltoids rather than your upper chest muscles because of the wrong angle.
Apart from that, an adjustable incline bench can be set to various angles. This is important because you get to work out your entire upper chest and each body is unique, a set angle that may work for many might not for a few. Hence, an adjustable incline bench is the best bet.
Follow the first upper chest exercise with another upper chest exercise
The upper chest workout is all about working your upper chest. Hence, you’re going to spend a massive chunk of your energy on your upper chest.
However, this second exercise should be a tad different. If you started with a barbell press, do a dumbbell press. Swapping these two movements back and forth at the start of your upper chest workout is ideal because these would be the top two upper chest exercises.
The second movement should also vary in reps for an added intensity. For example, if your initial exercise had sets consisting of 8 reps, then this movement should have sets of 10 to 12. You can also change the incline angle for a change in intensity.
The greater the intensity, the greater the strain and recovery – more ingredients for gains.
The best day for upper chest workout is after the rest day
This one is quite simple. You are well-rested, your muscles have recovered and you are mentally energized for a good hard lift.
Putting your upper chest workout in the middle of your workout week may not give you the straining workout you are aiming for.
Loading up on proper sleep every night and especially during rest days is another game-changer. Sleep is where the magic of recovery takes place.
Add a few failure sets to your routine
Note: doing many failure sets can lead to overtraining which does more harm than good.
On your heaviest set of an exercise, push your limits and do five reps more. This is the hardest rep to pull out and usually strains the muscle more. Try fitting in a failure set at the end of each major exercise in your routine.
Key Takeaway From This Upper Chest Workout
The only reason you would need a chest workout just for your upper chest muscles is that you feel they are underdeveloped. This can be the case if you aren’t getting enough chest workouts done or because of genetics.
Whatever the reason, with the right chest exercises and set of rules you can quickly build heavy pecs.
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