How to Hit the Upper Chest (6 lifts)


The Upper-Chest is one of the 4 sections of the chest that are important to make sure you’re putting focus on. Working out your upper chest will help make your chest look more “full, wide, flat, and armor plated” as my friend Mike Matthews over at Legion Athletics puts it.

Many people don’t know or think that the upper chest exists.

But it does, and it is important to put emphasis on in order to build a balanced and good looking chest.

But before we start our journey to obtain the whimsical mighty upper chest we must know where it is.

Where the Heck is it? (Hint it’s in the name)


The upper chest is located…uuhhh…On tHE uPper pArt oF tHE ChESt!! 

It’s a little more complicated than that but at the same time it isn’t 

The chest has two main muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.



This is why the chest is commonly referred to as the “pecs”. In the image it only shows the parts of the pectoralis major.

pectoralis major (the main meat of your chest) can be divided into two parts.

The sternoclavicular head which is the bigger portion of the “pec”, and the clavicular head which is the upper portion.

This clavicular head is the area we try to put more stress (the good kind) on when we’re trying to hit the upper chest.

Phew, glad all the sci-ency stuff is over.

If you haven’t read the
key elements to get a bigger chest, I recommend reading it first before you read this post because the key elements are vital to working out in general and will build a foundation and put you in the right mindset from the get go.

If you don’t want to read about the key elements
I still love you. <

How do You Target it?


The upper chest is an area male and female counterparts (I won’t recognize any other genders….there’s only two…) have a hard time targeting.


There is one word that changes this problemo and helps laser in on the upper part.

That word is

By changing the angle of the body it puts more
focus on the upper muscles of the chest.

This is why the upper chest is usually the underdeveloped part of the chest.

Most of the time people are at the gym they work out standing up (no incline), sitting down (no incline), or lying down (0 incline).

Earlier in this post I said changing the angle of the body puts more
focus on the upper muscles of the chest.

Notice how I used the word
focus and not isolate!

Working out the upper chest will inevitably work out other parts of your chest, parts of your shoulders, and your left pinky toe.

I’m joking about the pinky toe, but the point is it doesn’t just isolate one area; it works other parts of your body as well.

Some studies have found that angles between the range of
3045 degrees are the best angles to put emphasis on the upper muscles (1)(2).

So next time you are at the gym make sure you bring your
protractor and sextant to make sure you are getting optimal results (cough…cough…sarcasm).

While your at it, post a picture of yourself with both tools and say “lOoK gUYs, I aM gEtTinG tHe OpTiMal aNGle fOR tHE UpPER cHEsT”. Please don’t.

But do try your best to get it between 30-45 degrees; even though it will be quite difficult without your handy

6 Lifts to Target the Upper Chest


Now that we’ve got the important stuff you need to know out of the way, it’s time for the good stuff. Working out, and upper chest lifts.


The most beneficial workouts that will put emphasis on the upper chest are done at an incline (as I mentioned earlier). It is also more beneficial to do compound lifts where you can use more weight.


The bands, cables, and other lifts are good (I love them personally), but having the meat of your workout be compound heavy movements will be more beneficial to you in the long run because those build more muscle.


Incline Bench Press

The first lift is simple but pure

The incline bench press.


This bad-boy is a staple for the upper chest and will really build your clavicular head up as long as you are following the 5 key elements.


This lift is a compound lift where you can lift more weight and get solid gainz.


There are some key points that must be addressed.


Key Points

-Make sure you have the optimal angle, otherwise it will use more of your shoulders or the main part of your chest.

-Go through a full range of motion (touch your chest)

-Use a free weight barbell instead of a smith machine because it will result in more gains!! (3)

-Use a spotter (if not grab a stranger and make a friend)

Incline Dumbbell Press


I personally don’t like doing the incline barbell press and dumbbell press on the same day but I add it in every other chest day or switch them in and out in order to add variation to my workouts.


The incline dumbbell press adds a different twist than the incline press because you have to use different muscles to stabilize the independent dumbbells (as with all dumbbell presses).


This lift is another one you can go heavier on and build more muscle!


You can also add variations by changing which way your wrists are facing.


You can lift with a standard grip (I don’t know the actual name of this grip), a neutral grip, a reverse grip, twist as your going up, or even do it in outer space.


There’s tons of different variations and I using them all to add variation to your workout because each lift and grip uses slightly different muscles.


Again there are some key points that go along with this lift that are important to go over.


Key Points

-Make sure you have the optimal angle, otherwise it will use more of your shoulders or the main part of your chest.

-Go through a full range of motion

-Use a safe amount of weight that you can handle and won’t tear your arms off

-Use a spotter (if not grab a stranger and make a friend)

Seated Incline Chest Press


Incline chest machines are another great way to hit the upper chest.


They’re not a compound lift like the barbell incline bench press, but it ranks as one of my favorite machines!


Besides giving people a place to sit when resting (aren’t these people the worst?), the seated incline press machine is a nice way to get a good pump after the other lifts mentioned before.


This machine is also nice for people who have injuries that would prevent them from using the incline bench such as shoulder injuries.

Reverse Grip Bench Press


I’ve actually never heard about this lift until I started researching the best lifts for the upper chest. I’m definitely going to try this next time I’m hitting chest.


This exercise is done exactly the same as a normal bench press except you flip your hands around so your palms are facing towards you rather than away.


Apparently this change in grip helps to target the upper chest more than a regular bench press would.


Here’s a video I found to by Athlean-X that explains how to do it!


The video is about how to bench press without pain. I don’t have pain when I bench but if you do you hit the jackpot.

(Update: I’ve since done this lift multiple times since writing this and now I love this lift!)

Incline Flyes


The two ways I have read and know how

to do flyes are with dumbbells and with cables.


If you can find another way or know of any other way leave a comment below.


Flyes are a great way to target your inner chest, but add an incline and BANG you’ve got yourself a workout that targets the upper chest too.


Some people swear that cable flyes are the way to go while others preach about dumbbells.


I couldn’t find any research suggesting that

one is better than the other; it really comes down to personal preference and what you like best.


In the end you’re working out and getting a good pump and that’s all that matters right?


Key points:

-Make sure you have the optimal angle, otherwise it will use more of your shoulders or the main part of your chest.

-Really squeeze at the end of the rep to get a good pump

-Keep your elbows around a 135 degree angle and keep them locked there

-Use a safe amount of weight that you can handle and won’t tear your arms off


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Hey I'm Mr.Workout! I have a passion for lifting, working out, the gym, and helping others out! Thanks for stopping by and reading my content! Let me help you on your journey. Join the GAIN TRAIN today and get post updates, free workouts, tips and tricks, and more!

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