Spring is in full effect and summer is quickly approaching, is your body summer ready? The summer is full of beach trips pool parties, and hot weather. To make sure you look your best, it’s time to focus on your upper chest area. No one wants to wear a muscle shirt with no muscles.
Often time we do chest workouts but fail to focus on our upper chest muscles. This area is important if you want to improve your overall physique. Don’t worry, It is not too late to achieve the perfect upper body. This article will help you with your chest fitness goals by providing you with the best upper chest workouts.
The Science Behind a Good Upper Chest Workout
To better understand how to effectively work out your upper chest, you should understand the science behind it.
The anatomy of the body is important, it helps us to understand how things like muscles work. In your chest, the pectoralis major is the most prominent muscle.
Pectoralis muscle and other muscles connect the front walls or your chest with bones of your upper shoulder and arm. Your sternum, commonly known as your breastbone has two muscles on each side. Pectoralis major and pectoralis minor are these two muscles.
In the pectoral region, the pectoralis major is the muscle that occupies the layer closest to the skin surface. The shape of the pectoralis major is large with a fan-like shape. This muscle is made up of a clavicular and sternal head.
Your upper pec is the clavicular head, and your lower pec is the sternal head.
A major issue with effective upper chest workouts is that your upper pec is positioned differently than the other chest muscles. Which means, it is commonly left out during chest exercises. Because your upper pecs are not a targeted focus area, they are sometimes underdeveloped.
Because of this science, it is imperative to work out your entire chest area with a specialized focus on your upper body pecs.
No matter the type of exercise you are doing, it is highly recommended to incorporate a warmup. Warming up can help your body prepare for the upcoming activity. The purpose of a warmup is to gradually increase your cardiovascular functioning.
Warmups should raise your body temperature. They should also help to increase blood flow throughout your muscles. By incorporating a warmup, you can reduce muscle cramps and soreness. Also, they help to reduce your risk of being injured.
For your upper chest workout, the warmup should encourage the increased blood flow to your upper body. When blood is moving through your chest and back, it will be easier to lift heavyweights.
A great warm-up routine suggestion for chest day is to do sets of push-ups. Follow this routine:
- 15 clap push-ups
- 15 diamond push-ups
- 15 staggered push-ups
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press
The incline barbell bench press is a compound movement that works out your upper chest. When you do this exercise, you are building your chest size. Not only will the size of your chest be enhanced, but this workout can also strengthen your muscles.
This type of bench press can work your triceps and anterior deltoids. Your lower body also gets some action with this exercise. The core area of your body is being engaged while doing this bench press to help you maintain your position. This also helps you increase your pressing strength.
• Lay flat on the bench. Make sure that the bar is lined up with your eyes
• Over handgrip the barbell and hold it above your chest with your hands being shoulder-width apart
• If needed, retract your shoulders for better positioning
• Next, lower the bar and keep control of your elbows. If you let your elbows extend too much you run the risk of injury. Don’t forget to breathe
• The bar should touch your chest
• Take a forceful deep breath out and lift the bar
• Lower the bar and repeat. Be sure to breathe throughout this exercise and maintain your form to help reduce the tension in your body
Target Goal - do 4 sets of 8 reps. Take a 45 -60-second break in between each set.
2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
The incline dumbbell bench press targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. What makes this a great upper chest workout is that the incline on the bench places more emphasis on your upper chest.
The use of dumbbells in this exercise provides you with more movement. With a greater range of motion, you can avoid arm strength imbalances.
Your clavicular head is particularly worked out during this exercise. The front portion of your shoulders and the uppermost part of your chest will benefit from this exercise. You have more versatility with this exercise, and you can even work out the backs of your arms.
- Set your bench to an incline of 30-45 degrees
- Choose a pair of dumbbells that will give your upper chest region a good workout
- Lie flat on your back and hold the dumbbells straight up directly above your shoulders
- Make sure that your arms are fully extended
- Next, pull your shoulder blades together
- Stick out your chest and lower both dumbbells
- When you lower the dumbbells that should land on the sides of your chest
- Pause for a moment and then bring the dumbbells back to where you started
Target Goal: 4 sets of 10 reps, rest in between sets
3. Seated Incline Cable Fly
A seated incline cable fly is a type of isolated movement that uses an incline bench and a cable stack or home gym. The movements with this exercise target the upper part of your pectoral muscles. Constant tension is provided with cables. Using cables during this exercise provides your chest and arms with peak contraction.
Another great feature about a seated incline cable fly is that you can quickly change weights for drop sets. What targets your upper chest muscles is the resistance lines from the cable. You can experience greater muscle gain with this workout because it stretches your chest muscles.
This is a great exercise to do late in your chest workout. Preferably, after you do flat bench and incline presses.
- Start with your elbows slightly bent and your hands out to the sides of your body
- The incline bench should be positioned between two cable stacks
- Set the cable pulley to the lowest position
- Grab the handles and lie flat on the bench
- Place your hands out to the sides at shoulder height
- Do not lock your elbows, but they should have a slight bend
- To start the exercise, pull your hands up and in toward each other
- The handles should almost touch
- Maximize contraction by squeezing your pecs at the top of each rep
Target Goal: 3-6 sets of 10-15 reps
4. Low to High Cable Crossovers
The low to high cable crossover is an excellent upper body isolation exercise. This should be one of the last workouts you do in an upper chest workout routine. A cable crossover is not performed on a bench. This means that your scapulae and shoulder blades have a free range of motion. You don’t have to be restricted to a bench.
Because you have a better range of motion when doing crossovers, your muscles can work seamlessly together. This exercise works out your chest and it also gives your shoulders an excellent workout. The ball-and-socket of your shoulder can safely stretch and reduce the tension in this area while doing crossovers.
- Start with your arms at your sides
- You should hold the cable handles at hip level
- Aim to position the handles at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Face your palms forward
- Try to utilize stirrup handles if available
- Using an arc motion, bring your hands to eye level
- Your hands should be positioned and come together in front of your chest
- Make sure your palms are facing upward and it is important to breathe out
- Take a second and squeeze your chest muscles. While you are squeezing focus on your upper chest area
- Now breathe out and lower your arms
- Repeat the steps
Target Goal: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
5. Chest Dips
Chest dips are one of the most effective chest exercises because you can target only your chest. More of your chest muscle groups are activated when you perform dips. Because your feet are off the ground and you do not have the support of a bench, it requires the use of more muscles to complete the exercise.
- Use parallel bars and position yourself in the middle
- When doing dips make sure that your feet are behind you and your chest is in front of you
- Grab the bars. Dip and lift your body at about a 40-degree angle
- When you dip, your feet should be off the ground. Bend your elbows and lower your body slowly
- Control your body, breathe and slowly return to the starting position
Target Goal: 4 sets of as many reps as possible
By performing the above workouts and incorporating a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, you will be beach body ready in no time! Start with small goals and gradually increase as you become stronger. Remember, stay motivated, and continually challenge yourself. You are one step closer to achieving your goals.