Do you want to look like Superman with your pectoral muscle protruding through your tight shirt? There are ways to do it, and trust me; it has never been much easier than you thought of. It is not just about bench press, but other workouts will work to give those muscles a good pump.
I have been training for several years, and I have dedicated my life to it. I am just passionate about the sport, and I would like to help people with that. If you desire that huge and protruding chest muscles then I will give you the Best Upper Chest Workout to achieve that physique.
Barbells vs. Dumbbells
Before you work on which is the best work out for that popping chest of yours, what is better to work with? We have a specific method on what to work with here, so we need a balance from both equipment and what to use more often. However, if your execution of a particular workout is wrong with either item, then it would only not work, we are after form and technique for a full muscle utilization. If you’re just starting out, take it easy and search for a beginner’s program.
When we talk about barbells, it is commonly used for building strength and more of a compound equipment. We use more muscles when we use a barbell rather than a deadlift; which is also the reason why we use them in deadlifts because of the muscles that are activated. When you use the barbell, going heavy with a high number of sets and a low rep scheme is the ideal volume for it. It will elevate your testosterone levels when you do a heavy lift at the start of your workout.
Barbells might be the essential tool to set your numbers and personal records, but it doesn’t work an extended range of motion. You don’t get to work on your muscle imbalances because you are focusing your body’s strength on the weight load. Unlike with the dumbbells, you have an extended range of motion for a broader range of muscle utilization. It is still much of a question why bodybuilders would want to go heavy on dumbbells and would cheat their reps. It is an isolation tool, and you can work on your muscle imbalances with the dumbbells. Going heavy on the dumbbells are dangerous, and it can cause some serious injuries.
To make it simpler, if you want to grow stronger then, Barbells are the way to go. You utilize your body’s total strength and put all the effort in the movement. As for dumbbells, focus on the contraction and keep it light. You want to go further into the motion where the barbell can’t reach.
Angles For The Bench
There are three angles for the bench press namely: the flat bench press, an incline angle, and a decline position. All of which will work the pectoral muscles, but we are talking about the upper section of it.
According to an Olympian Dorian Yates, declined bench press works the majority of the muscle. Others would say the decline is mainly for the lower area only, but they could be wrong. The angle that you are on the decline bench and the positioning of your muscles uses the majority of the pectoral muscles.
On the flat bench, the main focus is on the middle part of the chest and minimal on the upper region. Do you remember the first time you learned how to bench press and the area of soreness the day after? I bet that you felt it on the mid-outer part of your chest, didn't you? Again, it is the positioning of the elbows as well. If you flare out the placement of your elbow, more pressure will be on the outer part of the pecs and your front deltoid muscles.
An inclined angle would put more stress on your shoulders than the flat bench. The center of gravity is now located just slightly below your collar bone, and it does make sense what part of muscle it will hit. Although, you have to be careful on this one. On the adjustable bench, you can't go all the way up top on the incline. It will lose tension on the upper chest, and it will transfer on your shoulder; which is dangerous. If it had levels, I would say that you place it on level two or three. Based on experience, the optimal target for the upper chest is a minimal incline degree from flat.
The Best Workout for Upper Chest
Tackling the angles for the bench should've given away the answer, right? Well, you are partially right for that part. There is one more workout that can do as the same, but people don't consider it.
If you are going to the incline bench press, a dumbbell would be a suitable equipment to build muscle, because of the range of motion that it could get you to. The barbell can also do the job, but like I mentioned earlier that it is ideal to build strength from it. The dexterity that you can achieve from the dumbbell press will put tension on the muscle fibers.
Make sure that you go light, and try to have a tempo of your movement. An ideal cue is, three seconds descending, and explode all the way up. Envision yourself as a suspension coil from the car. There are plenty of dumbbell chest workouts you can do, but we are focusing on the upper area of the pectoral muscles.
The other pressing movement that would target your upper chest is the guillotine press. On a bench press, you would normally place the bar under your nipples. The guillotine press is different. You would want the bar to land inches below the collar bone simulating an incline bench press. It doesn't put much tension on the shoulders, but it doesn't mean that you have to go heavy on it. I would even suggest that you use a barbell on this one instead of the dumbbell because you might pop your shoulder when you execute the movement.
The supplemental workouts are to help you fix your form, and build your strength dynamically for the movement. Another function of it is to protect some of your joints that are used to avoid any serious injuries. The incline press is sometimes not comfortable for everyone, so in that case, supplementary or accessory exercises are provided to help you.
#1. Rear Delt Flyes
In any of the pressing movements, the rotator cuffs are always involved in the execution. They are one of the fragile parts of your body that are needed to be strengthened. In any powerlifting program, the rear delt flyes are always recommended for their supplementary workout.
#2. Close-Grip Bench Press
The incline and guillotine bench press require more of your arm strength due to the angle or the position. The close-grip bench press will help you strengthen your pressing exercises which are needed for the incline.
#3. Hammer Bench Press
As for this specific workout, the hammer bench press would work either inclined or flat. It is another pressing strengthener because you are utilizing your triceps more in a natural manner. Usually, the hammer position makes the weight lighter, but hard to balance. The dumbbell heads would either fall backward or forward causing your motion to be interrupted or disoriented.
#4. Barbell Bent Over Rows
It might not make any sense to you, but what does a pulling motion have to do with the bench press? It helps you stabilize yourself on the bench, and balance the bar correctly when you press. If you don't notice, the back muscles are activated when you press the weight, but how come? You need to drop the shoulder blades and create a little arch on your back making sure that the highest part of your body on the bench is your upper torso.
#5. Reverse Bicep Curl
Reverse bicep curls strengthen your grip and your forearms. Now, holding a heavy barbell and dumbbell on top of you would tend to wiggle your arms a bit. Having a strong grip will help you stabilize the weight, so that motion comes fluidly.
Now those are the supplementary workouts that you can do before finishing the day, or before concluding your chest portion. You don’t have to do them too heavy because they are just there to help you in progressing with the incline bench. You don’t have to include all of them in one day. A good suggestion is that, just one of those workouts and change it from time to time.
- Always mobilize before and after the workout. Remember that the dumbbell bench press requires an extra range of motion than the barbell, so you better open up the tight areas before you lift.
- Always have a spotter around you, if you plan to max out along the way.
- Wear your wrist wraps if it is necessary. Your wrists can fatigue due to heavy pressing movements.
- Drink your supplements for recovery. A good protein shake after a workout will start the muscle recovery process and maintain its anabolic state.
Everyone is not built the same way. The Best Upper Chest Workout might not be the same to everyone. Some would even develop a full-grown chest using the flat bench alone. It is just about the genetics, and how you work your way to achieve your goals.
I’m Gregory Brown, chief editor at ConstructMuscles.com
I spend half of my time in this blog while the other half on being physical fitness trainer. Believing in the great benefits of bodybuilding and fitness to the body, I’ve been motivated to become a fitness enthusiast. It also was what gave me the self-confidence and assurance within myself both physically and psychologically.