Upper chest-specific training program
“Upper chest” or “the upper part of the chest”, as many say. But this is actually not right. In many cases, the connection of the chest muscle to the shoulder girdle is not ideal. This is an individual structural property. It is a frequently asked question whether there is any training method which could get your pecs a more symmetrical look, regardless of your individual properties. True, we have also highlighted it several times that such a thing as “upper chest” or “upper chest muscle” does not exist. However, with a little more care and by reshaping your training regimen, you can make your proportions much better.
The anatomy of the chest muscle
The chest muscle is basically made up by the pectoralis major. As we have mentioned it several times: there is no such a thing as lower, middle or upper chest muscle. You have one chest muscle and that’s all. It arises from the anterior surface of the sternum (strenocostalis head) and the anterior surface of the sternal half of the clavicle (clavicularis head). The lower fibers of the chest muscle make up the pectoralis minor. You cannot work this muscle separately. In other words, you cannot work your (nonexistent) “lower” or “upper” chest muscles separately. The pectoralis major works simultaneously with the pectoralis minor. They cannot move separately. The primary functions of the whole chest musculature are to rotate or adduct the upper arms. Therefore, the primary exercises to load it are presses, and there are also a few pulling exercises. It is important to make this clear. Because, another frequently asked question is, what kinds of exercises could provide more load to the lower or the upper part of the chest, whichever is lagging behind (based on the judgment of the “owner”).
And again, those goddamn genetics are messing it all up. If you feel the lower part of your chest muscle is stronger or the upper part looks stronger, that’s not because you can train specifically for these areas. It’s because the overall chest training you are doing works more efficiently for some of these areas. Your chest muscle is shaped the way it is because of your individual genetic and structural properties. The simple truth is, the best you can do about your chest muscle is to bomb it with maximum load each workout in order to build it as huge as possible, no matter how dissatisfied you are with its shape. Because more mass can pretty much cover and make up for individual flaws.
Now can I make those rocket boobs better with workout or not?
Everybody knows that the primary moves for the pecs are presses and flyes. As a logical consequence, you might think that doing a lot of bench presses and flyes will solve your problems for good. But this is not as simple as that: if you train your chest muscle with old-school methods, you can though increase its mass, but if you want to develop the upper part (alright, now I wrote it down, too; sue me), there are a few tricks to put a little more load specifically on this area.
The name of this training program may be misleading, as it actually work the anterior part of the shoulder girdle more intensely. The most important thing is, to abandon the old-school horizontal bench press (which is a good idea in my personal opinion) and go for incline presses instead. And the rest is history.
3-day split workout routine:
Day 1: Chest and shoulders
- Incline dumbbell press: 6 x 8-12 (the minimum inclination of the bench should be 30 degrees)
- Incline flyes: 4 x 12-15; you should reach failure in the last set
- Flyes on horizontal bench: 3 x 12-20
- Pull-over: 3 x 10-12
- Military press (standing or sitting): 3 x 10-12; you should reach failure in the last set
- Lateral raises: 4 x 10-12
- Barbell upright rows (shoulder-width grip): 3 x 10
On this day, your pecs and most of all, the anterior deltoids will be worked heavily, provided that you are doing everything right. And not only from the specifically targeted exercises, but from the additional load coming from incline presses, too.
Day 2: Legs and biceps
- Squats: 4 x 6-12
- Leg extensions: 4 x 10-12
- Leg curls: 4 x 10-12
- Stiff legged deadlift: 4 x 10
- Standing machine calf raises: 3 x 20-30
- Barbell bicep curls: 4 x 10-12
- Dumbbell bicep curls on a Scott bench: 3 x 10-12
- One-arm concentration curls: 2 x 10-12
- Legs and biceps basically; I guess it needs no explanation.
Day 3: Back and triceps
- Pull-down to the chest; overhands, wide-grip: 3 x 10-12
- Close-grip pull-down: 3 x 10
- Bent-over rows: 4 x 8
- T-bar rows: 4 x 8
- Dumbbell shrugs: 3 x 12-15
- Bent-over lateral raises: 3 x 12
- Skull crusher with EZ-curl bar: 4 x 10-12
- One-arm dumbbell triceps extension: 3 x 12
- Cable pull-down with rope: 2 x 13-16
The rear delts are due on this day, as well as the traps.
That’s all, folks: incline presses with a wider motion range; plus, horizontal and incline flyes. Doing so, you can work your whole chest sufficiently, while providing extra stimuli for the upper fibers to improve the appearance of the upper area.
Plus, the shoulders and the traps, and the whole shoulder girdle will get significant extra load, too. Doing so, you can provide a pretty good “optical boost” for the (supposedly) less developed “upper chest” area (oh my, it hurts to write it down); and, of course, your whole chest muscle will look better, too.
Remember: this program is just an example. You may vary training frequency or a few exercises as per your individual needs, provided that you do not miss the point, of course.
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