Upper Chest Training And Tips: 

A lot of people in the gym have huge pecs, but it’s rare to see someone who is as developed in the upper chest area as in their mid or lower chest area. For starters, check out how most people do the incline bench press – they either use too much weight and so they end up pushing the weights with their shoulders, or they arch their back so much that it becomes a flat bench press.

Here are some tips for your favorite upper chest exercises.

Incline Dumbbell Press:

The Incline Dumbbell Press is a great way to stimulate your upper chest muscles. Besides working the upper part of the chest, the secondary muscles involved are the front delts and the triceps. The only difference between this exercise and the Incline Bench Press is that in order to stabilize the dumbbells your body needs to recruit more muscle fibers to keep the weight balanced.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: 30-40 seconds depending on amount of repetitions performed and setup time.

Here's How:

  1. Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell on each hand on top of your thighs. The palms of your hand will be facing each other.
  2. By using your thighs to help you get the dumbbells up, clean the dumbbells one arm at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder width. Once at shoulder width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. This will be your starting position.
  3. Bring down the weights slowly to your side as you breathe out. Keep full control of the dumbbells at all times.
  4. As you breathe out, push the dumbbells up using your pectoral muscles. Lock your arms in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly (it should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up).
  5. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
  6. When you are done, place the dumbbells back in your thighs and then on the floor. This is the safest manner to dispose of the dumbbells.


  1. You can use several angles on the incline bench if the one you are using is adjustable.
  2. Another variation of this exercise is to perform it with the palms of the hands facing each other. These variations are good for the second time you go through this program.
  3. Also, you can perform the exercise with the palms facing each other and then twisting the wrist as you lift the dumbbells so that at the top of the movement the palms are facing away from the body.
  4. I personally do not use this variation very often as it seems to be hard on my shoulders.
  5. Another way to perform this exercise is with the barbell, which in this case is called Barbell Incline Bench Press. Beware of letting the bar drift too far forward. You want the bar to fall on middle part of your higher chest and nowhere else.

   Incline Bench Press:

The incline bench press is a great exercise for building a great round looking chest that is full and adds to your stature. This is a great variation to the bench press which helps to develop chest muscles by hitting them from a different angle than the bench press can. Greater stress is placed on the upper chest muscles, which is great for getting that full and round look that pushes your chest muscles through the top part of your shirt.
As mentioned above, primary stress is placed on the upper chest as well as the anterior deltoid (front shoulder) muscles and triceps. Secondary stress is placed on the rest of the chest muscle group as well as the upper back muscles.First, be sure to check the weight racks that hold up the bar and make sure they are in the correct position. Each rack may look slightly different, but you should be able to adjust the height of the bar above the bench. The racks should be in a position that allows you to lift the bar out of the rack and put it back without stretching or significant amount of arm movement.
On some incline benches, the angle can be adjusted for variation in your workouts. If the bench is adjustable, you can experiment with different, angles until you find an angle that works best for you. The angle can be adjusted from time to time to add a different shock to your muscles that will encourage them to grow.
Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor or on the foot rests (if available) on either side of the bench. Grasp the bar with a grip that is approximately 3-5 inches wider than your shoulders. Notice that the gripping has an outer mark to help you find where to put you hands.
For many users, the hand will be just inside this outer grip, or perhaps the pinky or ring finger will rest on top of the line. The width of your grip will vary from person to person your grip will depend on your shoulder width and the lengths of your arms. Keep in mind that a narrower grip places greater emphasis on the triceps, while a wider grip transfers the stress to the chest muscles.With the help of a spotter, extend your arms so that the bar is lifted out of the racks. Slowly move the bar above your chest and take in a large breath to prepare for the lift. Slowly lower the bar to a resting point above your chest, just slightly above the lower chest line. Be careful to keep your elbows back to allow for maximum pectoral movement and stretch. Once the bar has come to a rest, exhale and press the bar forcefully upward. Repeat this motion for the desired number of repetitions. When you are finished, have your spotter grasp the bar and assist you as it is lowered and placed back onto the racks.


When performing the incline bench press, keep in mind that different angles will work your upper chest in different ways. A lower angle will place more stress on the chest muscle group as a whole, but going at too high of an angle will shift the stress to your deltoid (shoulder) muscles and triceps, which is not the purpose of this exercise.
Because the incline bench press focuses more on the upper chest instead of the entire chest group, your muscles shouldn’t be able to press as much as possible as with the flat bench. Plan your exercises accordingly.
Be careful to always support the bar with your strength or the help of the spotter throughout the entire movement. Never rest the weight on your chest or bounce the bar off your chest. Remember, this should be a smooth motion for adding maximum definition and mass to your muscles.
The bench press is a high-intensity exercise which brings a high level of risk. Be sure to warm up properly before lifting heavy weights and work your way up to maximum exertion. Know your limits, and if you’re new to weight lifting, go light for a while until you get the hang of this movement. As with all exercises where weight is held above the head, this exercise should never be done without a spotter. If your muscles were to suddenly wear out and not be able to lift the bar to the racks, serious bodily injury could occur.
If absolutely no spotter is available to you, you may consider using the smith machine in case you can’t complete one of your repetitions. This option may not allow the full the same type of resistance as the bench press would otherwise allow, but it can be useful when no spotter is available to you.

Incline Fly:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie faceup on a bench set to a low incline. Hold the dumbbells over your chest with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing out.
  2. Without changing the bend in your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells down and slightly back until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Perform as many repetitions as you can until you start to struggle.
  3. Then switch to the incline dumbbell press. Lower dumbbells to your chest.
  4. Pause, then press the weights back up to starting position. Complete as many repetitions as you can with perfect form.

Instead of doing incline flies with dumbbells, try to do a seated incline cable fly. When you do regular seated cable fly, you bring the handles to the front of you just like you would when you do a dumbbell fly. To target the upper chest, try to bring the handles up at an angle towards the front of your head rather than the front of your chest. To make it an even better exercise, adapt a pronated grip (i.e. palms facing away from you). This will rotate your shoulders internally and therefore putting your pecs in a biochemically stronger position than when using a neutral grip (i.e. palms facing each other).

General workout tips still hold for chest training:

* Go for a full range of motion – stretch, press, squeeze

* Don’t lockout your elbows

* Don’t over arch your back. Keep it straight and up right with a slight, natural arch

* Clinch your shoulder blades backwards

* Heavy weights in the 6 – 8 rep range with big compound movements to target the fast twitch muscle fibers

* Lighter weights in the 10 – 12 rep range with isolation movements to target the slow twitch muscle fibers

* Avoid doing shoulders and triceps the day before chest day

* Stretch after, not before (doorway and straight arm chest stretches are my favorites)

* Don’t forget about push ups and dips!

Upper Chest Specialization Program:

Exercise                           Set x Rep

Incline dumbbell press             3 x 6 – 8
Incline smith machine             3 x 8 – 10
Seated incline cable fly     3 x 10 – 12

You can’t spot train a muscle – just that we are doing more incline movements doesn’t mean we are targeting the upper chest directly. We are simply placing more emphasis on the clavicular head of the pectoralis major (that’s the anatomical name of your upper chest). Your entire chest is still worked when you perform incline movements. When your chest grows, it grows as a whole according to your genetics (shape, attachment, size), but it is possible for you to emphasize more on a particular head to stimulate response in that area.



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