I would like to increase the muscle mass in my upper chest. The lower and middle part of my chest has good development. Do you have any exercises you recommend for building up my upper pecs?
The key to building muscle mass in your upper chest is to use chest exercises at an inclined angle. When you position your body on an incline, you will be performing the movement with the upper portion of the pectoral muscles along with your front deltoids. If you choose to do dumbbell incline presses, you should be able to adjust the bench to different degrees from 90 degrees (completely upright) to completely flat. A good position to start out at on the incline bench dumbbell press is to set the bench at about a 45 degree angle which will give your upper chest a great workout. Try to avoid adjusting the bench too high or you will move the majority of the tension from your upper pecs to the deltoids which is something you want to avoid. You should feel the stress in the upper chest muscles when you’re performing the exercise. If you don’t feel it, simply adjust the bench up or down until you reach the correct position.
For incline bench press, the angle of the bench is usually fixed at 45 degrees, so you will not be able to adjust it to a different angle. The great thing about the incline bench press versus the incline dumbbell press is that you can use much heavier weights to build more muscle mass in your upper chest. Just make sure to always use correct form when performing the exercise and use slow and controlled repetitions so you can really feel the upper chest muscles working so you get the most out of the exercise.
As mentioned, the best exercises for building muscle in your upper chest are incline movements. Here are the best ones to use:
Along with these great muscle building exercises above which will help you build up mass in your upper chest muscles, another great exercise to include at the end of your workout as a “shaping” movement is cable crossovers using a cable machine. Here is an example of this exercise:
This exercise allows you to really focus on hitting the upper part of your chest and you can really burn out your pecs when you include this as a finishing movement to your chest workout. Overall repetitions on the cable crossovers should be higher at around 15-20 reps per set and make sure you perform the exercise very slow and controlled throughout the entire range of the movement. The adjustment of the cables is very important in order to target your upper pecs, so make sure you adjust the machine so that the cables are at about eye level.
From the starting position on the cable crossovers, slowly bring the cables all the way down to about waist level and make sure to actually cross your wrists over each other for maximum tension on the upper pecs. If you adjust the cables too low and end up bringing the cables in an upward direction toward your head instead of downward toward your waist, you will end up working the lower to middle part of your pecs. The other variation of the cable crossovers is to touch the cables together at the end of the movement instead of crossing your wrists over. This would be considered more of a cable fly instead of a crossover and really doesn’t hit your pecs as much as the traditional crossover technique. However, you should try both versions and see which one feels the best for you.