Upper-Chest Training Made Simple
Struggling to sculpt powerful pecs? Simplify your chest routine by building your shelf from the top down.
If you want to sport a powerful, thick, and full chest, then you have to start at the top. In other words, make your upper pecs the top priority.
If you like the volume of this workout by itself, use it as your chest day plan. If you’d prefer to do more work, then start with this workout and add one or two other movements of your choice at the end.
Low-Angle Incline Dumbbell Fly
Set an adjustable bench to the lowest incline. This will help you focus on the upper pecs and minimize front-delt involvement. When you lower the dumbbells, keep your arms as straight as possible without locking out. Push your chest up as the weights go out to your sides so you can maximize that pec stretch. Keep your shoulders back so they don’t try to join the lifting party.
When you lift the weights back up, focus on contracting your chest instead of just lifting the weights. Squeeze your arms together, but don’t let the weights touch at the top. Instead, when the weights are above your chest, squeeze your pecs as hard as you can before going back down for your next rep. Once the set is over, rest 45 seconds before your next set.
Smith Machine Incline Press
The Smith machine helps you maximize upper-chest recruitment without having to worry about stabilizing the weight, so you can really exaggerate the “chest up, shoulders back” form on this exercise.
Set your bench to a standard 45-degree angle. As you lower the bar, stop an inch short of touching your chest. Pause. This keeps tension on your pecs and keeps momentum at bay. After the pause, press the weight back up and squeeze your pecs at the top. Do not lock out your elbows. If you do, your triceps will take over, which is not what you want. Rest 60 seconds between sets.
Push-ups are a basic chest move, but elevating your feet shifts the focus to your upper pecs just like with an incline bench. Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart to add even more intensity to this movement.
Once you reach failure with your feet up on a bench or box, lower your feet to the floor and keep going. Once you reach failure again, your set is over. Rest 30 seconds, then start the next set. You probably won’t get as many reps on your later sets, but work hard to make each rep count.
If you want a greater range of motion, or have wrist pain when doing push-ups, use dumbbells or push-up handles.