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The Best Upper Chest Exercise

5 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR UPPER PECS

Bodybuilders who follow the "flat bench first" approach usually have deficiencies in their upper and lower chest that start showing up over time. And some bodybuilders simply have genetic deficiencies in a particular area, which forces them to redouble their efforts to bring up their upper pecs.

If you're looking to build more thickness, muscle, and strength in your upper chest, here are five ways you can quickly restructure your training to address your weakness.

1°START WITH A MULTIJOINT UPPER-CHEST MOVEMENT :

The simplest and most obvious solution to emphasize your upper pecs is to target them first on chest day. So, instead of starting your workout on the flat bench, start with the incline bench press.

By flipping exercises, you'll find that you're significantly stronger and can lift a little more or do a few more reps with a given weight than you could when you did an upper-chest move later in your workout. Forcing your upper pec fibers to lift more than they're accustomed to will set you on the road to making gains.

By all means, since you'll now be a little stronger on inclines, don't be afraid to use a slightly more challenging weight. Nothing stalls progress more than choosing a weight you can already handle for 4 sets of 10. If you normally do sets of 6-10 with inclines, do a set or two (after warming up) for 10-12 reps to make those fibers work even harder.

There are benefits to doing either a barbell or dumbbell movement here, and both are good choices. You may find that the following points will help you decide which to opt for as your lead exercise, but you definitely want to steer away from a machine exercise. Your body has to work harder and harder work equates to more muscle stimulus and growth with free weights.

2°GET OFF THE FIXED BENCH : 

If you take a closer look at incline barbell bench-press stations, you'll notice that the angle of the bench is typically fixed, usually around 45 degrees. (I've seen some benches that are even steeper than that, and they end up working the delts rather than the upper pecs.) There's no law in physics that says the upper pecs have to be worked from the same angle all the time; in fact, you'll get better overall upper chest development if you use a variety of incline bench positions.

Now take a look at that adjustable incline bench. There are several notches on the bench that allow you to work low inclines, moderate inclines, and even steeper inclines. If you really want to improve your upper pecs, this adjustable bench is your new best friend, and you'll make use of all those in-between positions at some point.

The adjustable bench is best utilized with dumbbells or in the Smith machine. Start using a variety of inclined positions either from set to set or workout to workout—to target the muscle fibers in slightly different ways.

PUSHING PAST YOUR LIMITS WILL BREAK DOWN ADDITIONAL MUSCLE FIBERS AND STIMULATE MORE GROWTH AS LONG AS YOU TAKE ONLY A FEW SETS PAST MUSCLE FAILURE.


3°DO A SECOND UPPER-CHEST EXERCISE :

One way to target a lagging body part is to do more exercises that focus on it. What you do not want to do, however, is simply repeat what you did with the first move.

For instance, let's say you did an incline barbell press for sets of 8 reps on the first exercise, and now you're going to do another movement. Which of these would add a different stress to the target muscle?

X : The Smith-machine incline press on an adjustable bench set to the same angle as the fixed-incline barbell press for sets of 8 reps.

Y : A dumbbell press with a lower degree of incline than you used on the fixed bench for sets of 10-12 reps.

I hope you chose B. If you want to change the training stimulus to work a target muscle in multiple ways, you should opt for different equipment, change the angle of the bench, and work with a different relative intensity. Just doing a second upper-chest movement isn't enough unless you're taking into account all these factors.

4°CONSIDER A SECOND CHEST DAY :

If you follow an intermediate- or advanced-level training split in which you're working each body part once every five days or more, you can add a second chest workout in your split as long as you're careful about how you insert it.

In the short term say, no more than about 6-8 weeks doing a second chest day allows you to intensely focus on bringing up a lagging area. The idea here is not to simply repeat the same chest workout you did a few days earlier, but to provide for some new and novel exercises and techniques. In that sense, your second session might not only differ in terms of exercise selection, but also by the target rep ranges, intensity boosters, rest periods, and other training factors.

If you follow this approach, how you set up your split becomes critical. You need to ensure that you're not training any of the "push" muscle groups on back-to-back days, so there's ample recovery time built in. Here's what a poorly constructed split might look like: chest on day one, shoulders and back on day two, arms and legs on day three, chest on day four, and so on.

Build in at least 48 hours between workouts that really tax your push muscles—chest, shoulders, triceps to better optimize growth. A sample split that includes a second chest workout might look something like this: chest and triceps on day one, back and biceps on day two, rest on day three, chest and shoulders on day four, legs on day five, rest on day six, and so on.

5°DO YOUR CHEST WORKOUT AFTER A REST DAY :

One last tip on getting a great workout: Target your lagging body part after a rest day on which you've eaten clean, taken it easy, and prepared your mind to move some iron. If you're tired when you get to the gym, you're probably not going to have a boundary-breaking workout.
Some pre-workout cocktails are great for increasing your focus and intensity, but don't solely rely on them all the time. Getting enough sleep and eating well are probably the two most important factors in your ability to have a great workout.

Ultimately, if your upper pecs are lagging, it would be insane to continue doing what you're doing and expect any different results. Follow these tips, and you'll be on the road to building a fuller, more complete chest, starting with your very next workout!



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