7 BEST Upper Chest Exercises (You’ve NEVER Done!)
Check out my client Alex’s transformation where he gained a whole bunch of chest muscle
the pectoralis major is the largest and most visible muscle that makes up your chest,
and it’s composed of two distinct muscle heads, an upper portion known as the clavicular head also often referred to as the upper chest,
and a lower portion is known as the sternocostal head, which is often referred to as the mid and lower chest.
and the amount of muscle that you can add to these portions of your chest is highly dependent on your genetics,
the types of exercises you’re doing, and how you’re performing those exercises. and while some men have no problem building bigger pecs,
others struggle to gain any kind of ground when it comes to building muscle on their chest giving them a flat-chested appearance.
I myself unfortunately have always fallen into the latter category, and my chest has always been a lagging muscle group, especially the upper portion.
but even if you don’t have optimal genetics for massive pecs you can still build up all parts of your chest including the upper portion to the best of your genetic potential,
just by performing the right exercises many of which most men ignore entirely when training their chest.
1.so let’s start with one of the most overlooked exercises for the upper chest the reverse grip bench press.
the typical go-to exercise for building up the chest is the bench press,
however, research shows that by taking a reverse grip you’ll actually increase muscle activation of the clavicular head which is that upper portion of the chest by over 30 percent.
Meanwhile performing an incline bench press only increases your upper chest activity by about 5 to 10 percent when compared to a regular bench press,
so the reverse grip bench press is truly a great exercise if you have trouble with developing your upper chest.
So to perform the reverse grip bench press you’ll first want to lay down on a flat bench and grip the bar with a supinated or a reverse) grip so your palms will be facing you rather than turned away from you like a regular bench press.
your hands should also be about shoulder-width apart or a little wider, and to be safe you want to keep your thumbs around the bar the whole time.
from there retract your shoulders, unrack the bar and keep it directly over the line of your shoulders.
then you’re going to lower it down in an arch-like angle towards the bottom of your lower chest. throughout the exercise,
you don’t want to let your elbows flare out, and instead, they should be tight your ribs. once the barbell comes down to your chest you’re going press it back up in a slight arch-like motion until its back at the starting position.
Keep in mind when you get to the top you still want to maintain a very slight bend in your arms rather than locking your elbows out because locking out will put a lot of unnecessary pressure on your joints.
Now remember when doing this exercise you won’t be able to use as much weight as you normally could with the bench press, so you will have to go lighter there’s nothing wrong with that.
2.next, we have the crossbody incline chest press.
this exercise usually uses the incline hammer strength machine, but if you don’t have access to this piece of equipment you can also set up a bench next to a cable crossover to mimic a similar motion.
also even if you’ve already used the hammer strength chest press machine to do this exercise I highly recommend you try it with cables too because it gives you an incredible pump in your upper chest and keeps constant tension throughout the movement.
So to perform this exercise with the cables you’ll first position a bench next to a cable crossover machine and adjust the pully so that your hand ends up being about even with your chest.
Then instead of sitting straight back, you’re going to turn to one side and using the arm on the same side that you turn towards you’re going to hold the d handle with an overhand grip.
keep in mind that you’re not going to be completely turned all the way out to your side at a 90-degree angle. you’re going to be turned out a little less than that at about a 60 to 70-degree angle.
then you’re going to press the weight across your body until your arm is almost fully extended.
then really squeeze at the top for a second or two before lowering the weight back towards your chest and repeating for reps.
3.another great exercise that many people don’t even know about is the standing svend press.
now, this is another exercise that I would save for the end of your workout after you’ve already completed your heavy pressing movements.
start by standing straight up with your chest out, your shoulders back, and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
then you’re going to take a pair of plate weights and press them against each other. you should be holding them when palms and the weight should be about at your chest or shoulder level.
Your fingers should be open and pointing straight ahead and you want to make sure that you’re really squeezing the plates tight together throughout the entire movement to incorporate more horizontal adduction which is the main function of your chest.
while squeezing the plates you’re going to extend your arms straight out in front of you until they’re almost fully locked out.
then you’re going to bring the plates back in towards your chest and repeat for reps.
4.another awesome exercise that many people forget to include in their routine is the hex press,
specifically for the upper chest we’re going to go for the incline hex press. not only will the incline hex press help hit your upper chest in a unique way but it will also help you develop the inner portion of your chest which will help you get a nicer outline.
to begin you’ll grab two dumbbells and take a seat on an incline bench with the dumbbells resting on your knees.
then as you lay back kick your legs up to help get the dumbbells up over your chest. instead of turning your hands out as you would with a regular dumbbell press,
you’ll want to keep them in a neutral position and bring them together so that they are touching.
Then lower the dumbbells down towards your chest while squeezing them really tight together and keeping your elbows close to your sides.
once the dumbbells meet your chest press back up until your arms are almost fully locked out and then lower back down and repeat for reps.
5.the next exercise that’s very effective for the upper chest is the incline flye,
but instead of doing it with dumbbells we’re going to use cables to keep constant tension on the chest throughout the entire movement,
and we’ll also be performing laying down on an incline bench rather than standing upright.
the line of resistance created with the cables on an incline allows you to hit the upper chest much more efficiently.
so to begin you’ll set up a bench at an incline angle in between two cables that are set at the bottom of a cable crossover machine.
Once you get to a heavier weight load you’re going to have trouble grabbing the cables from a seated position so stand up grab one cable,
bring it in close to your chest, then go over to the other cable, grab it, and take a seat on the bench.
next, you’ll lay back and press both arms straight up over the line of your chest. Then lower the cables down and out to your sides in a circular arching motion until the cables are about even with your shoulders.
while doing this make sure you’re keeping your elbows slightly bent, and I find that I get better chest activation when I keep my hands open on the way down,
so you can try that but feel free to try keeping your hands closed as well.
once your hands are about even with your shoulders you’ll want to bring the cables back up and together in that same arch-like motion until the handles touch.
hold it there and squeeze for a second or two before bringing the cables back down and repeating for reps.
6.next, we have a flye variation that’s actually one of my favorite upper chest exercises to do with cables.
This exercise is performed on the floor using one side at a time. Here you would lower the cable to the bottom of the cable cross, lay down on your back,
and essentially perform a fly on one side. So the same cues as before we want to have one arm open with a slight bend in the elbow,
and you want to bring the cable up towards the centerline of your chest in an arch-like path.
If you follow these cues it should look like you hugging a tree with one arm. Now unlike a regular flye once you bring the cable over the center of your chest you’re not quite done yet.
the difference is at the end of each rep you’ll really want to reach across your chest and squeeze your pec really hard. this can help give you a great pump especially when incorporated as a superset with another flye or pressing exercise.
7.Finally, the last upper chest exercise that most of you aren’t doing is the landmine chest press.
Now, this exercise can be amazing, but the way you set it up is what will determine if it is effective or not.
Most people will load the barbell up on the ground, and the problem with that is in order to lift the weight off the ground you’ll have to rely mostly on your biceps
which will require you to use a much lighter weight than you actually could push with your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
So to avoid this you’ll want to start with the barbell elevated off the ground by propping one end up on top of a platform or a sturdy bench.
Then you going to kneel down and grab the bar with your hands clasped around it in a prayer position.
You’ll want to be leaning slightly forward towards the barbell with the bar under your chin,
and you’ll want to stick your chest out while keeping your shoulder blades retracted and tight together.
Then press the bar up until your arms are fully extended, and return back under your chin, and repeat for reps.
again this is one of those exercises that is highly dependent on the isometric contraction to be effective.
so While doing this exercise you’ll want to really concentrate on squeezing your hands together to incorporate more of that isometric horizontal adduction.
so those are the 7 best upper chest exercises that you’re probably not doing. Of course remember that the more common upper chest exercises like incline bench press,
and incline dumbbell press should definitely not be ignored. these exercises allow you to load a lot of weight onto your chest helping you get stronger at all your pressing movements.
and studies have shown that there’s a direct link between the size of your chest and the amount of weight that you can bench.
The more weight you can lift on the bench press the bigger your chest will typically be.
so definitely make sure that you’re doing those more common exercises like bench press and incline press and then
you can also throw in some of these less common exercises for a unique stimulus that will help you grow.
IN fact, challenging your muscles in new unique ways and hitting them from different angles are two of the most effective things you can do to force your muscles to grow.
That about wraps it up, I really hope you guys enjoyed the video. if you have make sure you subscribe to this channel and hit that bell icon.
Also to maximize the results you get from the time you spend breaking down your chest at the gym,
you’ll need to make sure you’re eating the right muscle building foods in the right amounts.
All too often people will workout without focusing on nutrition or they’ll just eat as much as they can, and both of these routes will lead to subpar results.
so if you’re looking for a done for your approach that’ll help you pack muscle on your chest back and shoulders fast you should check out my lean bulking program.
it includes a step by step lean bulking diet plan so you can build muscle without getting fatter,
as well as a full 12-week workout plan that can be done in a gym or at home with no equipment.
Both are designed to get you to grow regardless of how much of a hard gainer you might think you are,
and there will always be a coach to help guide you through the whole process. also if you’re looking to burn fat then you should try our 6-week challenge.
Not only will you get a meal plan that will be based around your preferences whether that be intermittent fasting, carb cycling, one meal a day, keto, or vegan,
but you’ll experience some of the fastest fat loss that’s actually sustainable long term.
Between the three gyms, we have in new jersey and our online training we’ve put thousands of people through these programs and
my clients that follow the plan are losing at least 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat in only 6 short weeks.
To learn more click the link below or you can visit my website directly at gravity transformation.com
My passion for fitness began when I was 14 years old. I naturally fell in love with training and haven’t stopped since. At 18 years I acquired my first personal training certification from ACE after which I opened my first of 3 transformation studios in 2011. I love to share my knowledge through personal training, my online courses, and youtube channel now with over 3,000,000 subscribers! I can happily say that we've helped over 15,000 people get in great shape over the years. I'm always here for my customers so if you need help don't hesitate to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org