HomeFitnessThe Ultimate Upper Chest Workout To Build Mass

The Ultimate Upper Chest Workout To Build Mass

Struggling To Build An Impressive Chest? This Upper Chest Workout Will Change That...

Every guy that goes to the gym wants to build a big chest, training legs and other body parts are often seen as a chore in comparison to a big chest workout.

Unfortunately many of the guys that're training chest two or three times a week with every variation of every chest exercise in the book aren't seeing much in terms of size or strength gains.

Here's the hard truth...

If you want to build an impressive chest you've got to focus on the upper chest...

If you want to build an impressive chest you've got to understand and apply proven training principles..

3 Reasons Why Your Upper Chest Won't Grow

Not seeing results that represent the amount of gruelling effort you put towards your chest workouts? Ensure you're not making the following 3 mistakes.

You're Not Targeting The Chest Effectively

The decline fly is an isolation exercise for the chest that works the outside portion of the lower chest. Regardless of how heavy or how many reps you do on an isolation exercise like this you’ll never build the upper chest size you’re after because you’re targeting the muscle incorrectly.

  • Incline chest exercises place emphasis on the upper chest
  • Flat chest exercises work the entire chest region
  • Decline chest exercises place emphasis on the lower chest
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Look at any impressive chest and you'll notice that the upper chest is extremely well developed, with minimal lower chest development.

Too much lower chest development will give your chest that 'droopy' look.

[bctt tweet="Want a big, aesthetic chest? Focus on incline" username="ignorelimitscom"]

You're Not Applying Progressive Overload

In order to build upper chest size and strength, you must subject your chest to progressive overload. Progressive overload (an increase in tension on the muscle) is applied by gradually increasing the weight being lifted over time.

[bctt tweet="To build both size and strength a muscle MUST be subject to progressive overload" username="ignorelimitscom"]

A push-up and an incline barbell bench press are both chest exercises, however the incline bench press is a far more effective exercise because more and more weight can be added to the bar to apply progressive overload, with bodyweight exercises such as the push-up (even when weighted) the same tension can’t be replicated.

[bctt tweet="No progressive overload (increased tension) = no results." username="ignorelimitscom"]

You're Using An Inefficient Rep Range

In simple terms to grow big you need to lift big.

Isolation exercises can be downright dangerous when performed with heavy weight in the low rep range.

For example, both a weighted dip and an incline dumbbell press can safely be performed in this low rep range with heavy weight, but when compared to a dumbbell fly it’s that much harder to maintain strict form – which in turn leads to potential injury (rotator cuff & pectoral) and poor form.

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The Incline Barbell Press - The Best Upper Chest Exercise


[bctt tweet="The incline barbell press = best chest exercise" username="ignorelimitscom"]

The Incline Barbell Bench Press Targets the Upper Chest

When it comes to building an aesthetic chest the upper portion of the chest, targeted by performing incline presses is king.

A large upper chest gives the full, pumped chest look that most guys are after. Meanwhile too much work on the decline bench can lead to a droopy looking chest due too much lower chest development.

The Incline Barbell Bench Press is Safe For Heavy Lifting

Unlike exercises such as the fly and lateral raise which are downright dangerous to perform at heavy weight as keeping correct form is near impossible the incline barbell bench press is not a problem.

Provided you have good form, a spotter or the rails set up correctly in a power rack you’re good to go!

There’s Endless Progression With the Incline Barbell Bench Press

6 years ago I struggled to bench press an olympic barbell without any weight on it.

Today my incline barbell bench press is continuing to progress in weight while my chest continues to grow.

This is not an exercise you need to ‘cycle in and out of your routine’ like fitness magazines and personal trainers tell you – the incline barbell bench press is, in my mind undoubtedly the best bang for your buck chest exercise that you can continue to progress on.

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How To Incline Bench Press Correctly


Remember, Form Comes First

Set up an incline bench in front of a weight rack, making sure you adjust the incline to a comfortable position. The back of the bench should be facing the weight stack.

Sit on the bench placing your back firmly against the backrest.

Using an overhand grip, grasp the bar with your hands spaced about twice your shoulder width apart.

Lift the bar from the rack by pushing up with your chest muscles and hold it straight over your chest with your arms fully extended. This is the start position.

As you inhale, lower the barbell slowly until it touches your upper chest.

Hold for a count of one while squeezing your chest muscles.

Return to the start position as you exhale,  pushing the bar using your chest muscles. Hold for a count of one.

The Best Upper Chest Workout


[bctt tweet="Want to build a big chest? Try this routine" username="ignorelimitscom"]
Upper Chest Workout #1

Incline barbell bench press – 4 sets – 4 – 6 reps

Incline dumbbell bench press – 4 sets – 4 – 6 reps
Weighted dips – 3 sets – 6 – 8 reps
Push-ups – 2 sets – ’till failure

Upper Chest Workout #2

Incline barbell bench press – 5 sets – 4 – 6 reps
Incline dumbbell bench press – 5 sets – 4 – 6 reps
Incline dumbbell Flyes – 2 sets – 4 – 6 reps
Weighted dips – 2 sets – 6 – 8 reps


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Upper Chest Workout #3

Incline barbell bench press – 4 sets – 4 – 6 reps

Incline dumbbell bench press – 4 sets – 4 – 6 reps
Dips – 5 sets – ’till failure

The Best Rep Range For Your Upper Chest Workout

Arnold Chest

By default the standard chest day workout routine tends to consist of 3 sets of 10 reps on the bench press and a handful of isolation exercises.
10 reps is NOT the best way to build muscle.

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I personally recommend working within the 4 – 7 rep range for all of your major lifts.

Regardless of whether you are in a cutting or bulking phase your workout does not need to change at all, you won’t get increased vascularity or striations by performing a higher number of repetitions, that’s a load of crap. I keep my rep structure the same all year round and simply manipulate my caloric intake based on whether I want to gain mass (calorie surplus) or burn fat (calorie deficit).

I’m certainly not the first person to advocate lifting heavy for fewer reps…

“If you must use dumbbells for daily training, use heavy ones with fewer repetitions rather than light bells with numerous repetitions”Arthur Saxon, 1906

If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.

Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.

[bctt tweet="High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness." username="ignorelimitscom"]

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“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926

Summary - My Quick Tips To Build An Iron Plated Upper Chest

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  • Focus on incline exercises such as the barbell & dumbbell press
  • Train in the low rep range (4-7)
  • Apply progressive overload each and every workout
  • Form comes first, then add the weight
  • Excessive decline exercises lead to a droopy looking chest
  • Compounds > isolation


What's Your Take On Building An Impressive Upper Chest? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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