T Nation

Tips for Building Upper Chest


Ok basically my problem is that the upper-inner portion of my chest is flatter than the bottom portion. I have been doing incline pressing for some time now, both high incline and low incline and I have noticed the outer portion of my pectoral muscle get a lot bigger (the area where the armpit is) but if i go closer to the center of my body my pec gets flatter.

I attached an image to help illustrate my point. Basically the blue circle indicates the portion of my chest that is flatter in comparison to the black circled part of my chest. Any advice? I know the more weight I press the fuller my chest will look but I was just curious as to see if there are any good exercises I could be doing to help target this specific area.

/sigh

The pectorals are a muscle and like with any muscle will looked more filled out as they get bigger. It just takes time…

champagnes

champagnes - incline press, higher than 45 degrees w/ dumbbells in a neutral grip touching one another, actually pressing and squeezing into one another, using hex shaped dumbbells (non plates) helps the movement so they stay flush to one another. sit w/ your ass dug in good to the bench, getting a good arch to the lower back, feet firmly dug into the floor.

pressing the weights up and down WITHOUT full lock out or range of motion, find a ROM which keeps the stimulation on the chest. go lighter than on normal incline chest, i use it as a flushing or finishing movement after heavy pressing is completed. it’s a nice finish and hits the upper chest and front delt nicely, the mantle which is the upper chest.

edit- note also that as the overall chest grows so will the upper portion, on a larger scale as the WHOLE BODY grows so shall the chest, the exercise i mentioned will not make the chest blow up, however as mentioned it’s a good finisher and will hit that area.

For what it’s worth, when I do high incline BB presses with the bench one setting below vertical, i can feel my upper chest.

I don’t really think there are specific exercises, I haven’t seen a guy with a decent chest have one section undeveloped. I’m pretty sure it develops as a whole, but the upper portion is just the last to fill out.

check out the new article by Dr. Clay out today.

I find cable work can help you target specific areas of the chest on a higher rep type lift. I like to have the cables at the bottom of the stack and then pull them together and up, squeezing at the top of the movement. I get sore more in the upper middle of the chest when I do this so I am pretty sure it is helping. Like on flat bench or any other standard lifts for chest, I really don’t get the soreness up there. It cant hurt to try them for a while and see what happens.

V

Edit: Yea check out Dr Clays article, he talk about incline cable flys and even has a vido to demonstrate. It’s pretty much exactly what I was talking about.

How’s your form on incline bench? Are your shoulders pretty developed? Pull your shoulder blades together and stick your chest out while performing the exercise. Keep your elbows in and really focus on the chest and try to keep your shoulders out of it. This helped me a ton! I used to have big noticeable collar bones and now you can’t even see them. This will always be an area that could use more mass.

I’ve always found that ‘typical’ angles of incline work tend to hit the anterior head of the deltoids a bit much for my taste. I prefer to use more of a 15-30 degree angle, while bringing the 'bells down to my lower chest, and then pressing them in an upwards arc so that they end up over my chin at the top portion.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’ve always found that ‘typical’ angles of incline work tend to hit the anterior head of the deltoids a bit much for my taste. I prefer to use more of a 15-30 degree angle, while bringing the 'bells down to my lower chest, and then pressing them in an upwards arc so that they end up over my chin at the top portion.

S[/quote]

I agree with this.

However, the more of an arch I use, the higher I have to go with the angle in order to “feel it” in the upper part of the chest… (obviously)

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’ve always found that ‘typical’ angles of incline work tend to hit the anterior head of the deltoids a bit much for my taste. I prefer to use more of a 15-30 degree angle, while bringing the 'bells down to my lower chest, and then pressing them in an upwards arc so that they end up over my chin at the top portion.

S

I agree with this.

However, the more of an arch I use, the higher I have to go with the angle in order to “feel it” in the upper part of the chest… (obviously)
[/quote]

on the above finish exercise i mentioned i usually am above 45, it does force the anterior delt into the work but my upper chest does take a lot of the work load.

agree w/ working sets at the lowest incline setting, below 45 for chest, otherwise too much shoulder is used.

[quote]Vegita wrote:
I find cable work can help you target specific areas of the chest on a higher rep type lift. I like to have the cables at the bottom of the stack and then pull them together and up, squeezing at the top of the movement. I get sore more in the upper middle of the chest when I do this so I am pretty sure it is helping. Like on flat bench or any other standard lifts for chest, I really don’t get the soreness up there. It cant hurt to try them for a while and see what happens.

V

Edit: Yea check out Dr Clays article, he talk about incline cable flys and even has a vido to demonstrate. It’s pretty much exactly what I was talking about.[/quote]

These do work for me as well. I actually do these a little bit differently, though. I put the cables at about chest (maybe a little lower because I will be lowering myself a little bit) level, and then take the cables and take a stance where I’m learning forward and I have one leg put forth for balance. My arms should be completely level with the cables while I’m learning forward. I feel that this way is better.

Yep…you may also have to lower the weight to actually focus on the chest 100%.

awesome thanks for the responses and advice, i know my overall chest will grow in accordance to lifting more weight but i just wanted some good exercises to do right now to really focus on that part of my chest.

[quote]cyruseven75 wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
The Mighty Stu wrote:
I’ve always found that ‘typical’ angles of incline work tend to hit the anterior head of the deltoids a bit much for my taste. I prefer to use more of a 15-30 degree angle, while bringing the 'bells down to my lower chest, and then pressing them in an upwards arc so that they end up over my chin at the top portion.

S

I agree with this.

However, the more of an arch I use, the higher I have to go with the angle in order to “feel it” in the upper part of the chest… (obviously)

on the above finish exercise i mentioned i usually am above 45, it does force the anterior delt into the work but my upper chest does take a lot of the work load.

agree w/ working sets at the lowest incline setting, below 45 for chest, otherwise too much shoulder is used.

[/quote]learned a trick the other day for the adjustable benches, i pull it up like 3-4 notches and I drop a 5 lb dumbbell under the support so it’s at an extremely low incline…(bench support is resting on the 5lb dumbbell instead of secure higher degree incline position)

Being an “old man” and playing with weights for a while now, I would have to agree with two things here, number one is, unfortunately time. Upper chest filled in rather slowly for me (years) I woke up one day and I realized I’d finally made some gains, LOL.
Number two, which should be fairly obvious, Low incline bench work, presses and flyes.