When we’re talking about the upper chest muscles, we’re generally talking about the clavicular head of the pectoralis major. This means the upper roughly ¼ of your pecs. In addition, we may also often be referring to the anterior delt.
The clavicular head of the pectoralis major is responsible for raising the arms upwards and diagonally inwards, as well as aiding in head and neck movement.
Growing your clavicular head is also key in developing a chiseled looking chest.
There are three upper chest exercises that really stand out as must-haves in any upper body routine. These are:
These are a slightly harder variation on the classic push up and utilize far more of the upper pectorals than flatter presses. They also work your anterior delts and triceps, which are common muscle groups that move in conjunction with the chest.
To perform decline push ups, simply get into a regular push up position but with your feet elevated on a bench, block, step or chair. This change in angle is what brings more of the pressure into your upper chest.
This is to the bench press what decline push ups are to the push up. Again, a simple change in angle puts far more of the workload into the upper chest.
You can perform these with a barbell or dumbbells, though barbells will be better for heavier sets. Simply set up for a regular bench press but bring the bench up to a seated position. The more of a seat you make, the more you’ll be using your upper chest (also, the less weight you’ll be able to press, as you’ll be using relatively less muscle mass with the greater angle).
Dips tend to work the full spectrum of triceps, chest muscles and deltoids. However, of the chest portion, they tend to work the upper chest more than the rest, especially if you keep your body relatively upright.
To emphasis the chest element, remove the triceps by not coming up to extension. Dip down into the full range, so that your chest stretches open at the bottom, then come up ¾ of the way. This will keep the pressure on your chest, with constant tension, and less assistance from the triceps.
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