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Chest Workout | 6 Exercises To Build The Upper Chest

Training your chest shouldn't be a futile exercise of boring monotony.

If you're boring and don't want to experience truly massive gains, feel free to rep through endless standard bench press sets until your back fuses with the bench. You might get better at that one exercise — but you're spurning all of the potential benefits that other moves could offer.

For the rest of us, there's an entire treasure trove full of workout moves to be uncovered to blast the chest that can sculpt your pecs and push your upper body training days to the next level.

Here are 6 of the best chest exercises to do just that.

Warming up

The ideal goal is to build a bigger chest, but picking up a pair of weights without preparing your muscles for a vigorous Chest workout just won’t deliver the results you’re imagining will instantly happen.

Try a short warm-up routine:

– 1 x wide-grip flat push-ups

– 1 x  neutral grip push ups

– (If possible) 1 x decline push ups to hit your chest from all angles:

Beginners AND Pro gym-goers:

Consuming pre-workout 30 minutes before starting your training session will give you a boost of energy to focus on exceeding your potential down to every last rep.

#1 Incline Cable Fly


This is one of the most suitable exercises for isolating the upper chest muscles. Performing this exercise with cables instead of Dumbbells allows for constant tension to be placed directly onto the Upper Chest fibres.

This constant tension cannot be achieved with Dumbbells due to the motion curve not considering gravity.

I recommend this exercise after you have performed heavy Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press, as it is less fatiguing on the Central Nervous System.

Training Tips:

✓ Position bench at around 45 degrees.

✓ Lower cables in an “arc” motion, ensure to feel the chest stretch.

✓ Vary the position of the bench to hit different angles of the upper chest.

✓ Hold and contract the chest muscles when hands are together.

#2  Incline Dumbbell Bench Press


In my opinion, the best compound exercise for adding mass to the Upper Chest is the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press.

incline dumbbell bench press

Including a slight pause at the bottom of the movement allows for the most recruitment of the Upper Chest muscle fibres. You will have to use a lighter weight in order to get the benefits of the pause, but the muscle contraction is much greater.

I recommend performing this exercise during a workout with a lot of volume, and low-moderate weight, in order to get the most out of the exercise.

Training Tips:

✓ Palms to face each other, arms positioned shoulder width – wrists rotated to face ceiling (see image.)

✓ Exhale whilst pushing dumbbells upwards – keep control at all times.

✓ Take your time lowering weights.

✓ Vary bench angles to hit different angles of the chest.

#3 Flat Dumbbell Bench Press


1.    Sit down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand and place them on your knees. Your feet should be on the floor and knees slightly bent.

2.    Lean back slowly and raise the weights up to your shoulders and then at arm length straight up. The dumbbells should face forward slightly turned inward at about a 35 degree angle. Exhale as you push them away.

3.    Lower the dumbbells slowly so they go to your outer chest armpit area. Bend your elbows below the level of your chest placing the dumbbells level with your chest and shoulders.

4.    Push the weights up and lock your arms straight overhead. Then repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Important Tips

1.    Make sure your butt, upper back, and hips are pressed hard into the bench.

2.   Keep in mind that these are presses and not flyes.

#4 Incline Barbell Bench Press


The Incline Barbell Bench Press is also a great, compound mass builder for the Upper Chest. An advantage that the Barbell Press has over the Dumbbell Press is the weight increments. Barbells allow for smaller increments to be added, thus making progress more linear – i.e. it is more realistic to be able to increase the weight of a Barbell by 1.25kg per side that it is to increase Dumbbell weight by 2.5kg each.

Whilst the Barbell allows for only a fixed range of motion, and less humerus adduction, including a pause at the bottom will again allow for more muscle fibre recruitment of the Upper Chest fibres.

I recommend performing this exercise during a workout with a lot of volume, and low-moderate weight, in order to get the most out of the exercise.

Training Tips:

✓ Bench to be around 30 degrees – hands positioned slider wider than shoulder-width.

✓ Position bar straight in front of you, locking arms to secure starting position.

✓ The bar should be lowered slowly until it has reached upper chest – and pause.

✓ Power the bar up using your chest muscles – lock arms and squeeze, getting the contraction.

#5 Incline Push Up 


1. Get yourself in the standard pushup position with hands on a raised surface slightly wider than shoulder width. Elbows should be locked out.

2. Keeping the torso straight, lower your chest to the raised surface. Pause and push back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

Important Tips

1. Do not flare out your elbows.

2. Ensure that your core is tight and back straight during the movements. 

#6 Incline Hammer Strength Machine

Incline Hammer Strength Machine allows for complete contraction of the Upper Chest. Due to the machine being designed to only target the Upper Chest, this makes it a great exercise. It can also be useful to people with injuries, particularly in the shoulder, if they cannot perform the Incline Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press pain-free.

The Incline Hammer Strength Machine also allows for less opportunity of form breakdown. If you are simply going to fail a repetition, you can lower the machine back down, without any chance of injuring yourself.

Again, I recommend performing this exercise as an accessory for the Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press.

Training Tips:

✓ Ensure to adjust the seat height to ensure the bar levels with your chest.

✓ Dig shoulder blades into the seat and ‘push out’ chest muscles.

✓ Exhale whilst pushing the bar forward, holding the contraction when stopped.

✓ Slowly return to starting position.