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Push Up Variations for Upper Chest?


Hello all,

I have been researching the best push up position to hit the upper chest. It is true that varying the position will vary the impact on other muscles such as the deltoids (shoulders) and the triceps, but I am focusing only on the effect on the chest here.

To summarize my research:

Arms far apart --> external chest
Arms close together --> internal (sternal crevice) chest
Inclined (feet higher than hands) --> upper chest
Declined (feet lower than hands) --> lower chest

My question to you guys is: does the longitudinal position of the hands (up, above head versus low, right below the chest) also have an effect on which part of the chest will be targeted?
I am asking this because I am getting the impression that having my arms far forward, even above my head, helps target the upper chest.

Does anyone have any knowledge about this?

Thanks in advance for comments you'd like to make.







Isn't the Google function fun.


Hey Chris,

Since the primary purpose of the pec major is to adduct and medially rotate the humerus (bring the arm across the chest), I believe that if a bigger/stronger chest is your goal, then focus rather on moving heavier weight or the same weight with greater acceleration, rather than seeking out different push up variations.

While there may be a greater emphasis on certain regions of the pec major from varying push up positions, I believe your returns (again if you want a bigger/stronger chest) would be greater if you just focused solely on first upping your absolute/limit strength in terms of horizontal pushing.

Heavy bench press, weighted push ups, one arm push ups, and especially weighted dips are among my favorite horizontal pushing patterns to develop a strong chest. Hope this helps!