The upper chest—the portion just below the clavicle or collarbone—is often neglected in favor of the larger, more prominent pecs located just below it. If you’re looking to really make your chest look incredible, however, you can’t do without the upper pecs.
To build an impressive upper chest, follow this workout at least twice per week. It will help you develop sculpted pectorals and create the coveted peak on your upper body that makes women drool and men jealous.
Your upper chest tends to be one of the last muscle groups that people consider developing. However, in order to make the most of your fitness routine, you should focus on all parts of your body, not just your abs and arms.
As you may already know, adding more muscle mass to your upper chest can dramatically improve your physique while also boosting your strength and overall functionality. Don’t waste any more time wondering how to workout your upper chest — this article has all the answers you need!
What muscles does it target?
An effective upper chest workout will build your clavicular pectoralis major and minor. This muscle is visible when you wear a tank top and it’s easily one of the most impressive muscles in your body. If you want to be healthy, athletic, or just look great in a t-shirt, you need to have a strong upper chest.
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This can also help prevent problems like text neck as we spend more time on our phones these days. If you’re not sure how to perform an upper chest workout. We’ve got you covered with some excellent tips below.
What are the best exercises?
The best upper chest workout will mainly focus on developing your pectoral muscles (chest). When building a strong upper chest, it is essential to incorporate many compound exercises such as bench press, cable flyes, and push-ups. You may also want to include some isolation exercises like dumbbell pullovers and cable crossovers.
For your lower chest area, try incline presses and low incline flies with dumbbells or cables. An impressive physique depends heavily on great pecs that make up a large part of your upper body; develop them properly with these targeted moves.
Be sure to stretch well before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you are already experienced in weight training. Start off slowly by doing only one set of each exercise, then work your way up to two sets per exercise over time.
Rest in between sets should be no longer than 90 seconds at first and eventually build up to resting only 60 seconds between sets. While performing your chest workouts, be sure not to neglect other muscle groups in order.
Your back and triceps will help support your chest during many of these movements so don’t forget about them! Good luck with your new workout plan!
here are three moves that will help:
1 The Cable Flye
Using either pulleys or resistance bands, attach two handles so they hang at chest height. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold both handles together with straight arms out in front of you.
From there, simply bring them together until they touch above your head while keeping tension on both handles throughout. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for reps (or sets). Make sure to keep tension throughout by resisting any urge to relax at any point during movement.
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2 Incline Dumbbell Presses
Begin with dumbbells resting comfortably against your hips. Take a step forward so that you’re standing over a bench set at about 45 degrees from horizontal. With knees slightly bent, bend forward from your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor, and then lift weights up directly in front of you until they meet above your chest. Lower back down slowly and repeat for reps (or sets).
3 Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes
- Reps: 8-12
- Duration: 60-90 secs.
To do flat bench flyes, lie down on a flat bench holding dumbbells over your chest with straight arms. Keeping them together, lower them outwards towards each other until they meet about halfway between where they started and where they ended up once fully extended.
Since these are isolation exercises, you’ll do fewer repetitions with lighter weights; ideally 8-12 reps. Remember to take 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.
4 Bodyweight Flyes:
Bodyweight flyes aren’t just great for your upper chest—they work your triceps, deltoids, and a slew of smaller muscles. It’s one of those exercises that can develop your physique while also giving you impressive strength gains.
The key is to do them right: Start with a solid base and then bring your arms together at 90 degrees as if trying to clap your hands behind your back (or as far back as you can). Once in place, open up again, keeping tension on those pecs all throughout.
5 Butterfly Machine:
The butterfly machine is similar to a chest press and can be used in place of it. In general, butterfly machines allow you to lift more weight than with a chest press. For best results, push your elbows together as much as possible at all times during exercise execution.
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This will put stress on your upper chest rather than your triceps. After that, focus on getting a full range of motion by lowering and raising yourself until your arms are almost fully extended and then lowering again until they’re bent at 90 degrees or so.
6 Cable Iron Cross:
This upper-chest exercise is one of my favorite upper-body moves. Stand facing a cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab both ends of a barbell (or straighten out a straight bar), and let it hang at arm’s length in front of you.
Take a deep breath, bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your forearms are parallel to the floor, and pull across your body toward your collarbone as if you were trying to tear it off—you want to move slowly during each repetition. Don’t allow any movement through your torso; keep your hips completely still throughout each rep. Lower under control back to starting position.
7 Cable Crossovers:
When it comes to building a wide, full chest, many lifters make a common mistake: They stick with only horizontal push and pull movements. Sure, standard bench presses and rows are great moves; but if you want truly impressive pecs that pop out from your shirt even when you’re standing relaxed with your arms by your sides, you need to supplement these staples with more vertical pressing work. One of my favorite upper-chest exercises is cable crossovers.
8 Decline Cable Chest Press:
- Reps: 10
- Duration: 60 secs.
The decline cable chest press is one of my favorite exercises. It’s easy to do and it also builds functional strength that you can take into daily life and sport. If you want to improve your bench-press strength and upper-body appearance, then try doing two sets of 10 reps with a weight that’s challenging but still allows you to complete all ten repetitions.
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Be sure to use proper form: Keep your back flat, push through your heels while squeezing your glutes, and shoulders back and down; retract your shoulder blades; depress and tighten your chest muscles at the top of each rep.
9 Cable Chest Press:
This exercise will work your pectoral muscles—which is why it’s a great addition to any upper-body workout. Begin by loading one side of a cable machine with a weight plate and adjusting it to a lower weight than what you typically use, says Clark Bartram, owner of Boost Performance & Wellness, in San Diego. (This will help prevent injury.) Sit down on a bench in front of the machine and grab hold of the handle.
10 Single-Arm Cable Crossover:
The single-arm cable crossover is among our favorites. In terms of aesthetics, few exercises can match it. It looks great in a tank top and is a surefire way to help you achieve that sought-after V-taper. As if its aesthetic benefits weren’t enough, it also gets your chest ready for pressing movements like pushups and bench presses by enhancing upper-body mobility.
11. Incline Cable Flyes:
While there are a number of exercises that target upper chest muscles, incline cable flyes are among one our favorites. This exercise can be performed with either free weights or resistance bands and offers several advantages over other chest exercises.
For starters, it hits both your upper and lower pectoral muscles, offering complete development. In addition to improving symmetry in your chest, you’ll also see results in just a few sessions—just make sure to keep constant tension on your pecs throughout each rep for optimal results.
12 Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
The single-arm dumbbell bench press is a great exercise to give your upper chest a nice pop. You can start with 2 pounds, and eventually work your way up to 20 or 30. If you’re going heavy, it’s important to find someone else in your gym who can spot you.
For example, if you’re using two 10-pound dumbbells and have a 40-pound barbell on each side, then that’s 80 pounds of weight. That’s too much weight to risk hurting yourself when doing bench presses at home or in a public gym.
13 Decline Cable Flyes
Many people exercise their chest without focusing on all three parts of their pectoralis muscles. Your upper chest, which is located in front of your shoulders, doesn’t get enough attention during standard chest exercises like bench presses and dips.
To maximize your results, ensure that you train all parts of your pecs with a cable crossover. Adjust two weight stacks to a height that allows you to lay back over them as if you were lying down on an incline bench. Step forward so that your arms are extended overhead and hold onto handles at eye level with palms facing in. Starting with arms fully extended, slowly lower one arm out to each side until they’re parallel to the floor and then raise them back up again.
14 Dumbbell Flyes
This exercise, also known as pec deck flyes, targets your upper chest. But it’s not just about building bigger muscles—it’s about changing your body composition. Pec Deck Flyes work more than just your chest muscles. It also puts great emphasis on your shoulders and arms, developing overall arm strength that makes you stronger in every other upper-body movement.
This exercise is simple and effective. That makes it one of my favorites! If you don’t have a machine like a pec deck (which works similar to a bench press), you can do dumbbell flyes on a flat bench or even use resistance bands anchored to something sturdy for resistance during your pec deck flye workout routine.
15 Decline Dumbbell Flyes
It’s important to mix up your chest workouts so you’re hitting different muscles, and not just relying on flat bench presses every time. Your upper chest is a muscle group worth targeting as well. A great move to get it going is a low cable crossover. You’ll begin by sitting at a cable station with one handle in each hand, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
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Face away from the machine and pull the arm across your body (keeping elbow back at shoulder height) until the elbows are close to your sides—try to keep your forearms parallel with the floor throughout the movement. Reach arms out straight with palms facing in towards each other before bringing them back across the body towards starting position; repeat 10 times before switching sides.
16 Low Cable Crossover
If you’re looking to maximize your upper chest development, you might want to consider incorporating low cable crossovers into your workout routine. This exercise helps build thickness in your pecs and gives your overall chest a more athletic, rounded look. It’s also very effective at stimulating growth in both upper and lower chest muscles; which makes it a great choice when it comes to blasting away stubborn body fat from around your pectorals.
17 Incline Dumbbell Flyes
These flyes are ideal for targeting your upper chest. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells in front of you at arm’s length. Bend over slightly, exhale and lift one dumbbell up while turning your palms to face each other.
This will be your starting position. Inhale as you slowly lower both arms out to each side until they’re parallel to the floor, fully extending both arms at an angle in front of you with palms facing down. Continue lowering until your back is about 30 degrees from straight (don’t round it). Exhale as you squeeze your pectorals and bring them back up along their natural arc, contracting your chest throughout each rep. Repeat for reps before switching sides.
What’s your workout routine?
I prefer to do two sets of each exercise, then I rest in between each set. So if I were doing push-ups, I would do 20 total push-ups by alternating between one set of 10 push-ups and one set of 10 sit-ups. After that, rest for about a minute and repeat.
This is called circuit training and it’s my favorite way to work out because you’re able to burn a lot more calories and it allows you to finish your workout faster. If you like doing exercises one after another without resting in between, that’s OK too; just make sure you aren’t overexerting yourself at any point during your workout or burning fewer calories than planned.
When do you workout chest?
You should workout the upper chest at least twice a week and lift weights that allow you to complete six to twelve repetitions per set. To build a muscular upper chest, complete 3-4 sets of 6-12 repetitions in each exercise.
Once you’ve completed your three sets, you can rest for 30-60 seconds in between exercises before moving on to your next group of exercises. You’ll be working with dumbbells for these upper chest workouts, so make sure that you’re using weights heavy enough to challenge yourself without becoming too fatigued at any point during a given set or throughout all three sets!
How often should you train your chest?
It depends on your goals. If you’re looking to add muscle, train your upper chest workout at least twice a week—with three times being ideal. If you’re trying to maximize strength gains, training every other day works best. You’ll also want to take a moderate approach when it comes to sets and reps, performing no more than 10-12 of each per workout.
Remember that each workout should include a mix of exercises that work different areas of your chest—for example, barbell bench presses and incline dumbbell presses can target upper and lower regions, respectively. This will help prevent you from overtraining any one area. Also, make sure to choose exercises that allow you to use heavy weights (8-12 reps) while still allowing you to complete 3-4 sets per exercise. These are some great options:
Barbell Bench Press – The most basic chest exercise out there is also one of the best. Lie on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the floor and grasp a barbell with hands shoulder-width apart. Lift it off its rack or off safety bars in a power rack with arms fully extended above the chest and slowly lower it until it nearly touches your chest (but don’t let it touch). Pause briefly at the bottom then press back up through a full range of motion.
Incline Dumbbell Press – An incline dumbbell press targets upper pecs while allowing you to use heavier weights than a flat bench. Set an adjustable bench to 45 degrees and lie faceup with head supported by padded rest; hold two dumbbells straight over the chest, palms facing each other. Keeping elbows slightly bent, lower weights toward sides of the body as far as possible without moving torso; reverse direction to return to start position.
Incline Flye – This exercise is a great way to finish off your chest workout. Lie on an incline bench set at 30-45 degrees with your back firmly against the pad and feet planted on the floor or platform beneath the bench. Hold dumbbells directly above chest, arms extended and palms facing each other.
Slowly lower weights out to sides until they are just below shoulder level (arms should be perpendicular to torso); squeeze shoulder blades together at the bottom then slowly raise them back up through a full range of motion.
It’s also important to remember that while training your chest once per week will help you maintain muscle mass, it won’t produce optimal results. If you’re looking to add muscle quickly, you need to train more often—at least twice per week.
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If you want both upper and lower pecs: While many people try to target upper pecs by performing exercises like barbell bench presses and decline flyes, it’s important not to neglect your lower pecs as well. That’s because if one area of your chest gets bigger than another, it can throw off overall symmetry—not exactly what you’re going for when trying to create a balanced physique!
Do you follow split routines? If so, what are they like?
I do follow a split routine. I workout my upper body every day and my lower body every other day. A typical upper body workout might look like this: chest, triceps, shoulders, back, biceps, and abs. Each muscle group is worked out with 3-4 exercises that target that specific area of my upper body.
Depending on what I’m looking to focus on that week or month, I rotate these different exercises throughout my workouts. By rotating them it gives me more opportunities to grow as a lifter and get some much-needed rest in between sets! I’ve been following a Power style training routine for about 8 months now which has really brought up my strength and size in my lifts.
Do you use advanced techniques such as dropsets and supersets?
Yes, both. A great upper chest workout will definitely include dropsets, as they are a fantastic way to add some intensity to your workout while allowing you to burn more calories in less time. Dropsets are also ideal for changing up your routine and hitting different parts of your muscles so that you don’t grow accustomed to doing the same exercises over and over again (which can lead to stagnation).
For example, you can do supersets of incline dumbbell presses with dips. The first set should be done at 90-95% of your maximum; then on the second set, drop down by 15-20 pounds on each dumbbell and finish off with a third set of drop sets on push-ups or dips. This will burn out your chest like nothing else! You can also try supersetting bench press with close grip pull-downs to really give your upper chest some attention.
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