Having a well-developed chest is a goal most guys have. The common approach to developing more mass in the chest is doing traditional bench presses. However, in order to achieve a well-developed pec region the trick lies in working on the upper chest region with a good upper chest workout.
Want A Full Chest? Why Your Chest May Look Underdeveloped
Too often guys complain that they are lacking mass in the chest area. Even though they do different variations or simply stick to doing heavy weight on barbell bench presses there lacks fullness in this muscle group.
If you are focusing your strength and workouts on just doing bench presses then you have to make changes now in order to achieve your full potential. Exercises like barbell bench presses and dumbbell chest presses as well as typical dumbbell and cable flys only target the middle chest and don’t work on the areas as much. Although it is common for us to think that the chest is one large muscle group in reality it is more complex.
All Good Things Come in 3’s: The Anatomy of The Chest
The chest is not as simple as it may look. Many muscle fibers cross the area and are divided in the following way.
- Upper Chest
- Middle Pecs
- Lower Chest
These muscle fibers connect in the sternum, located down the center of the chest area and extend out to the rib cage. Because the muscle group is divided this way it is necessary to work on each area as best as possible. If you only target the middle portion it will not create the necessary balance and the appearance of a full chest.
Why Bench Presses Are Overrated
As stated earlier, the traditional bench press involves the middle chest region more than other areas of the pectorals. Although it does involve the lower chest to some extent it does so more than the upper chest fibers. Bench presses are not entirely bad; in fact they are excellent in boosting mass and testosterone levels. This exercise is a great compound movement and it has its purpose but it is only part of the equation when developing mass.
What You Can Do Today To Increase Upper Chest
Here are my recommendations if you are serious about gaining upper chest mass.
- Begin your chest workouts with an exercise that targets upper chest like incline bench press, dumbbell incline chest press or the bodyweight exercise variation.
- If you are going to continue with regular bench presses do them after an incline exercise.
- When doing dumbbell flys or cable flys perform an incline version of these exercises instead of regular cable flyes or flat dumbbell flyes.
Although there are various ways to workout upper chest, the following routine is a very complete and great upper chest workout.
A Solid Upper Chest Workout
- Incline Barbell Bench Press: Set the bench at an angle between 20 and 45 degrees. Do not bring the arm level below 90 degrees to avoid shoulder injury.
Perform 4 sets of 8-10 reps
- Decline Barbell Or Dumbbell Bench Press: Set the angle of the bench around 20 to 30 degrees. This exercise is excellent at full chest development. Although most people think this exercise only targets the lower pecs, it actually targets more muscle fibers than a flat bench press and even hits the upper region thus making it a great way to workout upper chest muscles.
Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: Perform the same way as an incline barbell bench press. If you do not have dumbbells and only have a barbell do not worry. Just add one more set to your incline flys.
Perform 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
- Incline Flys: With a bench set at an incline of 20 to 45 degrees perform flys with a slight bend at the elbows and focus on contracting the pec muscles at the peak.
Perform 2 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
You can eliminate flat bench presses for a few months, as it will allow the upper chest to develop in the meanwhile.
Check The Pace
For the above workout, and for any strength-training workout, you should follow time under tension principles. Do not perform your repetitions too fast but rather do a slow and controlled motion. I recommend a series of 3 second repetitions- one second on the positive and 2 seconds on the negative part of the movement.
As you can see, it is not as hard as you may think to develop a great looking chest. You don’t have to worry about having a sunken appearance in your upper body. With this upper chest workout you will very likely see the gains you have been looking for.
Feel free to comment below to join the discussion or if you have questions.