T Nation

Upper chest ?

Does anyone have exercises that will “selectively” target the upper chest area = region from level with armpits up to neck…?

I always found that I higher incline…working both the shoulders and chest worked well for me. Usually lower reps and more weight. Also Weighted dips with a foward lean seemed to do well for me. I am very tall so it oh so hard for me to hit my chest hard.

I hear ya, - Im 6’5’’ myself…

Dips are a definite lower chest excercise. Incline definately for your upper chest, i went a long time with pretty much all incline work db presses, flys barbell presses, it works really well for your uppper chest and shoulder/chest tie-ins. If you really want to hit the upper chest dont be afraid to have it more inclined than usual, you might hit your shoulders too but your nailing your upper chest at the same time.

Incline Dumbell Bench will hit the upper pecs more than the lower. But Flat Dumbell Bench will allow you to use more weight, hitting both heads harder.

Try limited range pullovers. Another thing you can try are push-ups with your feet at the same level as your chest. It finally gives a reason for those stupid little aerobics steps. (both of these suggestions are somewhere on this site, I just can’t remember where…)

Are you placing your upper chest training at the beginning of your workout week and at the beginning of that session? If not, I’d suggest doing this so that you’ll hit that area when you have the greatest amount of energy to devote to it.

Also, just adding more exercises to the upper chest on top of your current routine may lead to overtraining. On the other hand, simply replacing the exercises you’re doing for your upper chest with new ones may not be enough. You may want to cut down on the number of exercises/sets that you’d normally perform for the lower chest and devote more time/exercises to the upper region.

As far as exercises go, dips will generally hit the lower chest because of the angle. Stick to mostly incline movements. One I stole from this site is a slightly closer than normal grip incline press. Although it hits the triceps more you’ll certainly feel it in the upper chest. Another idea is to try high neck presses on a flat bench. To do these simply position yourself on a flat bench as normal except you’ll want to lower the bar down more towards your collar bone than mid chest. Personally I find these a little hard on the shoulders and will rotate them in periodically.

Best of luck.

Thanks for all the input guys, - I guess I simply have to prioritize it for a while…

I agree that lowering the bar to the collarbone on a flat bench will really hit the upper pecs.

Pullovers will not do a thing for the upper pecs, only the lower.

I’ve been starting my chest days with incline Db flyes, followed up with incline presses on a smith (really lets me adjust my target area for a great stretch).
I feel this has really made a difference in the past year, bringing my chest ‘meat’ up to just under my collarbones.

Sorry Pat. Here is the article that stated that limited motion pullovers work.
http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/239exer2.html
I know it states that this exercise hits pec major and minor.

Everything already said is gold. Benching with the weight near your neck is what I would recommend. Also place incline excercises first in your workouts.

Bench press to the base of the neck was proposed by trainer Vince Gironda that surely had some innovative ideas.

The Pectoralis Major has two heads: the clavicular head (“upper”), originating on the clavicle; and the sternal head (“lower”), originating on the sternum. Both heads run from their origin to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove of the humerus (anterior arm, beneath the deltoid). The Pectoralis Major is active in adduction, horizontal adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus. In addition, the clavicular head assists with flexion of the humerus (raising your arm straight out in front of you), while the sternal head makes a great extensor of the humerus from a flexed position (the action involved in a pullover).

The Pectoralis Minor originates anteriorly on several of the ribs and inserts on the coracoid process of the scapula (the bony prominence you can feel beneath your anteroir deltoid). The Pectoralis Minor is beneath (deep to) the Pectoralis Major. The Pectoralis Minor is active in protraction and depression of the scapula.

15% of the motion in a pullover activates the pec minor while stretching the pec major. That is why Limited Motion pullovers work.

Yes, I’m sure limited range pullovers do work for the Pectoralis Minor, but when most people talk about the “upper pecs”, they are referring to the clavicular fibers of the Pectoralis Major. Yes, I agree that the Pec Minor is kind of located in the upper part of the chest, and inducing hypertrophy in the Pec Minor will cause the entire chest to be larger; but I believe the poster was referring to the clavicular head of the Pec Major, which pullovers will not touch.

Nonetheless, thank you for your contribution. These pullovers are a good way to hit the Pec Minor - another good way to hit this muscle is Dips.

Military Press in front of body

Incline Press

Low to High cable flys