T Nation

Upper Chest Hypertrophy


Currently my upper chest is pretty underdeveloped when compared to my lower chest, so im trying to get it to catch up. I concerned soley with getting it to hypertrophy.

Unfortunately the only exercise i know to hit upper chest is incline BP.. currently im on a 4 day upper lower split with one of the upper days starting with 5 sets of 10 on incline DB press.

Im mainly using a high volume because i dont know of any other workouts to hit this part of the chest. Can anyone give me any ideas on exercises or rep schemes that have worked particularly well for their upper chest.


Damn man I can't keep up with your posts haha so much easier when I could just yell at you to get out of your room!

I would suggest switching up the DB with BB if you have been doing only DB incline presses.

Another great way is to superset incline DB (or BB) presses with incline flies.

For all over pec growth go with some weighted dips. I know you don't have a dip belt and Fike doesn't have one so grab a DB between your feet and do the dips. The best place for this is the upper level dip bars as the ones by the ergs and abs area are too low to the ground (the DB will hit the floor only allowing you 1/4 reps).


Anything inclined is gonna help you here.
Incline Presses

Incline Flys(great chest builder)
with these you can pronate your grip, or use a palms in variation, and if you have the ability to attach bands to the dumbbells you are using - I can guarantee strength and hypertrophy gains. Extremely effective.

Military Press, Arnold Press, and Palms In Incline Presses, these exercises work the shoulders more than the upper chest. They will contribute in your total upper chest strength though, so if you're looking to get big, strengthen the shoulders as well and the exercises you are doing for your upperchest should start to sky rocket.


Flat bench press to the neck, elbows at 90 degrees, wide grip on the bar. You will use bitch weight to begin with but over time it will go up. The absolute best thing for the upper chest. Try them.

Don't think, however, that you're going to target the UPPER pecs- can't really do that. What this does do is really take the triceps and other assisting muscles out of play for the most part and places demand on the pecs.

The only pure chest exercise there is, is the dumbbell fly but most people here..you know, the BIG GUYS...laugh at it and think it's a girly movement with no real value. But, it should be done if you're looking to target just the pecs.


I don't think "BIG GUYS" think pec flies are sissy movements.

But here are some good ones:

Combo press: flare the elbows and press a cable and a dumbbell in EACH hand while lying on a flat bench

Cable flies work better than DB flies by far due to the gravity factor (DB flies are basically 1/2-ROM flies)

"Neck press" I agree with but you can also do it with a slight incline. Don't think I'd make it a staple though, it doesn't seem to be too great on the shoulders long-term (i.e. years).

Try CW's HFT handbook for chest, do it for about 6 weeks using the exercises we mentioned and two more (say, flared incline DB BP and use neck press with both slight incline and flat).

There's some article on here called "pop 'em out muscle" or something that suggests doing a special type of pullover, and half-rep (lower half of course) incline close-grip BBBP.


Wow! Was this a joke post?

I would avoid all the advice given in this post.

1- Good way to Fuck up your shoulders and possibly kill yourself if your muscles fail or the bar slips ....Avoid Neck Presses!!!

2- You CAN target the upper pecs for the same reason you CAN target the lower chest ...hence the term imbalances.

3- The Dumbbell Fly is NOT the only PURE chest exercise. There are many forms of isolating the chest. Also, producing more stress on the chest with less activation through compound movements with heavy loads, some of which require no added resistance and release the proper hormones for growth response.

Just a bad post all around, figured I would clean it up.



Now here's a post with some rational thought.

Good post!



In my opinion incline presses are many times done at too sharp an incline thus over involving the anterior delts. I find that rather than using the standard incline bench or bench adjustment putting a piece of 4x4 under the legs gives a better angle for hitting the upper pecs.

The pectoralis major being fan shaped does require different angles for full development not to mention the fact that the clavicular head and pectoralis minor contract in different directions with the PM being recruited more in decline motions and the clavicular head in incline movements.


could you give us an isolation exercise for the chest thtworks better than flys. thx


austin, I realize you're addressing merlin and not me (and we are not one 'n' the same no matter what he said about me :-P)

but the stuff I listed should honestly be a huge help in getting you the chest stimulus you're looking for. I can't think of anything else to tell you other than building strength through dips and regular BBBP.

oh, Gironda dips...not the reverse-grip kind, just:

tuck the chest, make the body into a slightly curved tight unit, flare the elbows completely, and go as far down as possible...feet should be slightly out past the head as the whole body is slightly flexed/curved.

btw, wide-grip pushups are underrated


Thanks for the replies, they have been very helpful


This suggests that you've neglected this important exercise.

Do incline bench each of your upper days, start each day with incline bench. Do both DB and BB. Do a ME and DE incline. 5 sets? Too many. Do more weight. If you can do more than 3x10, then you're not doing enough weight. The only way to develop is to go heavy. By the time you get to 3x10 @ 225, you'll have a solid upper chest.

Include overhead presses, having the bar drop in front of your face, to your upper chest. Corner presses will do some good, too.

Really, it's going to take time.


Kroby, I like the keep it simple approach you outlined. Solid stuff. Although I think at this guy's level repeated effort would be a better choice than dynamic effort, personally. He could also alternate them.

Week 1
day 1 DB incline bp, max effort
another day bb incline bp, repeated effort with say 160 lb

week 2
day 1 bb incline bp, max effort
another day bb incline bp, dynamic effort with 50-60% 1rm (good in smith machine, let the bar go at the top and catch it carefully)

week 3
day 1 repeated effort db incline BP
another day dynamic effort bb incline BP

You get the point...do it til it stops working. Just one option, though.


If you are talking hypertrophy it matters how you are doing the exercise. CT talks about this quite a bit. You have to keep your chest tight and squeeze the weight up. Very controlled eccentric and squeezing up the concentric. This is not good for sports but if we are talking hypertrophy you will get alot of bang for your buck.


Merlin is too busy slobbing on my knob from cyberspace to offer any coherent responses. Let me finish this stupid debate. As I said before, you can't actually hit the upper chest or lower chest or whatever because it's all just your chest. What you CAN do is take a wide grip on the bar so ur pinky fingers or index fingers touch the outer rings and make sure the bar is seated in the hand correctly- directly above the forearm bones and not back on the hand. This alone wll have u experiencing a different feeling. Then, bench with elbows at 90 degrees to make the pecs do most of the work and take triceps out of it to a large extent. To this effect, neck press is great and very effective- notice I didn't sat put 350 on the bar and neck press...notice that...merlin's head is up his ass so much he should be seeing this shit clearly, but he's not.

Try it. And, do the flys if you want.

Now, I want this fool merlin to tel me whaqt besides a fly isolates the pec...and you beter not tel me some variation of the fly either.

I'm telling you what works for me- I never had to do incline bench and my "upper" chest or any other magical movement like the concentration curl. What does that mean? It means genetics...period. All the adevice in the world don't mean jack if you are not predisposed to muscle development in a particular area. End of convo.

You can argue that point until doomsday and it won't change, so even if the most overrated mr. O ever...jay cutler...was to post a response saying otherwise, it wouldn't mean shit except he's wrong too.

Another suggestion from me is to do your reverse wrist urls and regular ones with a 5 or 10lb plate for a lot of reps every other day. It works much much better than any bar exercise or rolling a dumbbell of the same weight. Trust me...

Only thing needs cleaning up in this post is all the crap from that idiotic merlin and his fanboys who are probably finishing up their 11th set of cable crossovers.


FLOOR PRESS! Use Dumbbells! Best Upper Pec Exercise! Get's em better than incline since incline is deltoid/chest/tricep and floor press is tricep/chest. The deltoid is taken out mostly due to the Range of Motion in the exercise.

Don't forget pullovers. I don't think they get the upper chest specifically but they pretty much get all of the chest as well as the lats.

I gotta agree that strengthening your shoulders will help you since it will help you hit higher poundages in the incline bench press but I still say the floor press with dumbbells is the best exercise for the upper chest and it's a helluva lot safer than doing bench press to your neck. People die from that. I don't know of anyone dying from a floor press.


If you're dying from neck press you deserve to die from it because your genetic material has outlived its usefulness.


"What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."


That's pretty much true USNS. People who do it with the "thumbless" grip at home alone testing a 1RM neck press have no place in the gene pool.


I think it's merlin's time of the month.