The Perfect 3 Exercise Upper Chest Workout for Muscle Mass and Strength

Build a strong and muscular upper chest with this effective workout.

Build a strong and muscular upper chest with this effective workout.

Quick Tips

  • When training the upper pecs, you want the movements of the exercises to mimic the directions that the muscle fibres run.
  • To activate the upper pec, lift (for the incline dumbbell bench press) with a roughly 45 degree angle. Press up and inwards and squeeze the upper chest tight
  • Think about the muscles. Build a strong mind muscle connection
  • Squeeze your upper chest hard at the top of every rep

The Benefits of A Strong Chest

Developing a strong chest has several benefits, both in terms of aesthetics and overall physical well-being. Here are some of the advantages of having a strong chest:

Enhanced Upper Body Strength: A strong chest contributes to increased upper body strength, as the chest muscles are involved in various pushing movements. This can improve your performance in exercises like bench press, push-ups, and overhead presses, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform better in sports activities that require upper body strength.

Improved Posture: Strengthening the chest muscles can help improve posture by countering the effects of rounded shoulders or a forward-slumping posture. A strong chest helps to pull the shoulders back, promoting a more upright and aligned position.

Alternative Chest ExercisesSource: Domagoj Bregant on Pexels

Functional Movements: Strong chest muscles are essential for performing daily functional movements that involve pushing or lifting objects. Whether it’s carrying groceries, pushing a door open, or lifting a heavy box, a strong chest provides the necessary strength and stability.

Injury Prevention: A strong chest, along with a balanced upper body, helps prevent injuries. A well-developed chest provides stability to the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of shoulder dislocations and rotator cuff injuries. It also contributes to overall shoulder health and mobility.

Athletic Performance: In many sports, a strong chest is crucial for optimal performance. Activities like swimming, boxing, tennis, and throwing sports rely on the chest muscles to generate power and force. Strengthening the chest can improve performance in these activities and enhance overall athletic ability.

Aesthetic Appeal: A well-developed chest can greatly enhance your physique and appearance. It adds definition and shape to the upper body, creating a more balanced and muscular look. This can boost self-confidence and improve body image.

Metabolic Benefits: Strength training, including exercises that target the chest, can increase muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even at rest. A strong chest, along with a well-rounded exercise routine and healthy diet, can contribute to weight management and overall metabolic health.

It’s important to note that developing a strong chest should be part of a comprehensive strength training program that includes exercises for other muscle groups and proper rest and recovery. Consult with a qualified fitness professional or trainer to design a training program tailored to your specific goals and needs.

Who Was John Meadows?

John Meadows was a highly respected bodybuilder and coach who made significant contributions to the fitness industry. He was born on June 3, 1972, and sadly passed away on August 8, 2021. Meadows was known for his exceptional physique, in-depth knowledge of bodybuilding, and his ability to help others achieve their fitness goals.

As a competitive bodybuilder, John Meadows had a successful career. He won several titles, including the heavyweight class at the NPC USA Championships in 2005. He also competed in prestigious competitions such as the Arnold Classic.

However, Meadows is perhaps best known for his coaching and mentoring work. He developed a strong reputation as a highly effective and knowledgeable coach who helped countless athletes and bodybuilders reach their full potential. His coaching style was focused on providing personalized guidance and support, considering each individual’s unique needs and goals.

Perfect 3 Exercise Upper Chest Workout

  1. Incline Dumbbell Press
  2. Incline Push Ups
  3. Low to High cable Crossover

In the video below you will find the programming, reps, exercises and many extra technique tips to maximise the efficiency of the workout.

Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press is considered an effective exercise for several reasons:

Targeting Upper Chest: The incline angle of the bench places a greater emphasis on the upper chest muscles (pectoralis major, clavicular head). By adjusting the angle, you can specifically target the upper chest, which helps create a more balanced and well-developed chest.

Muscle Activation: The incline dumbbell press activates not only the pectoralis major but also other supporting muscles such as the anterior deltoids (shoulders), triceps, and stabilizer muscles in the core and upper body. This exercise engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, resulting in efficient and effective muscle stimulation.


Increased Range of Motion: Using dumbbells allows for a greater range of motion compared to a barbell press. With a wider grip and independent movement of each arm, you can achieve a deeper stretch at the bottom of the movement and a more complete contraction at the top. This increased range of motion can lead to improved muscle development and flexibility.

Stabilizer Muscle Engagement: The use of dumbbells in the incline press requires greater stabilization from the surrounding muscles, such as the rotator cuff muscles and the scapular stabilizers. This helps improve overall shoulder stability and can reduce the risk of imbalances or injuries.

Balanced Development: Incorporating the incline dumbbell press into your chest routine helps create a more balanced and symmetrical chest appearance. By placing a specific focus on the upper chest, you can target a commonly underdeveloped area and avoid an unbalanced or “flat” chest appearance.

Functional Strength: The incline dumbbell press closely mimics pushing movements involved in various sports and daily activities. It can improve your overall pushing strength, which translates to better performance in activities like pushing objects, throwing, or even pushing yourself up from a lying position.

Variety and Versatility: The incline dumbbell press offers versatility in terms of variations and adjustments. You can change the incline angle to target different areas of the chest, adjust the weight and reps based on your goals, or incorporate different grip variations to shift the emphasis to different muscle fibers. This versatility allows for continued progress and helps prevent plateaus.

As with any exercise, proper form, gradual progression, and adequate recovery are important to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury. It’s advisable to consult with a fitness professional or trainer to ensure you’re performing the incline dumbbell press correctly and to receive personalized guidance based on your fitness level and goals.

Incline Push Ups

Push-ups with feet raised on a bench, also known as incline push-ups, are a variation of the traditional push-up exercise. In this variation, your feet are elevated on a bench or other elevated surface while your hands are placed on the ground.

Here’s how they are performed:

  1. Set up a bench or sturdy elevated surface that is approximately knee height or higher.
  2. Assume a push-up position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground, fingers pointing forward or slightly outward.
  3. Walk your feet back and place them on the bench, ensuring your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.
  4. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  5. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them at a 45-degree angle from your torso, until your chest is just above the ground or as low as you can comfortably go.
  6. Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement, and then push yourself back up by straightening your arms, returning to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

Push-ups with feet raised on a bench are a regression of the traditional push-up and are generally easier to perform. By elevating the feet, you decrease the amount of bodyweight that needs to be lifted, reducing the overall difficulty. This variation is often used as a stepping stone to build strength and progress towards performing full push-ups on the ground.

Incline push-ups primarily target the chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor), shoulders (anterior deltoids), and triceps. They also engage the core muscles to stabilize the body throughout the movement.

By adjusting the height of the bench or elevated surface, you can modify the difficulty level. Higher elevations decrease the intensity, while lower elevations increase the challenge. As you become stronger, you can gradually decrease the height until you can perform push-ups on the ground.

Low to High Cable Crossover

The low to high cable crossover exercise is a strength training exercise that targets the muscles of the chest, specifically the pectoralis major, as well as the anterior deltoids (shoulders) and triceps. It is performed using a cable machine with adjustable pulleys. Here’s how to perform the low to high cable crossover exercise:

  1. Set the cable pulleys to the lowest position on each side of the cable machine. Use handles or D-handles attached to the pulleys.
  2. Stand in the middle of the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Grasp the handles or D-handles with an overhand grip, palms facing downward.
  4. Step forward, allowing your arms to extend in front of your body, creating tension on the cables.
  5. Keep a slight bend in your elbows throughout the movement.
  6. Initiate the exercise by contracting your chest muscles and pulling the handles or D-handles diagonally upward and across your body in a sweeping motion.
  7. As you pull the cables up and across, rotate your torso slightly, leading with your opposite shoulder.
  8. Continue the movement until your hands reach the opposite side of your body and your arms are fully extended.
  9. Pause briefly at the peak of the movement, focusing on squeezing your chest muscles.
  10. Slowly reverse the movement, allowing your arms to return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  11. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

It’s important to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Keep your core engaged, maintain a slight bend in your knees, and avoid using excessive momentum or jerking motions. Focus on feeling the contraction in your chest muscles as you perform the movement.

The low to high cable crossover exercise provides a diagonal movement pattern, targeting the upper and inner portions of the chest muscles.

It offers a unique angle of resistance compared to other chest exercises like bench presses or push-ups. Additionally, the cable machine provides constant tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion, making it an effective exercise for chest development and strength.

What are the Muscles of the Chest?

The muscles of the chest, also known as the pectoral muscles or pecs, are a group of muscles located in the chest region. There are two primary muscles in this group:

Pectoralis Major: The pectoralis major is the larger and more superficial muscle of the chest. It is a fan-shaped muscle that covers the upper part of the chest. The pectoralis major has two heads: the clavicular head (upper chest) and the sternal head (lower chest). The main functions of the pectoralis major include flexion, adduction, and internal rotation of the shoulder joint. It is primarily responsible for movements such as pushing, pressing, and hugging.

Pectoralis Minor: The pectoralis minor is a smaller and deeper muscle located beneath the pectoralis major. It is a thin, triangular muscle that lies on the upper ribs, originating from the third, fourth, and fifth ribs. The pectoralis minor assists in stabilizing and depressing the scapula (shoulder blade) and also helps with forced inspiration by elevating the ribs.

Both the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor play a crucial role in upper body movements, including pushing, pulling, and arm motions. These muscles are involved in various exercises such as push-ups, bench presses, flyes, and cable crossovers.

It’s worth noting that there are additional muscles that contribute to the overall chest development, albeit to a lesser extent. These include the serratus anterior, which lies along the sides of the chest and aids in protraction and rotation of the scapula, and the subclavius, a small muscle located beneath the clavicle that helps stabilize and depress the clavicle.

Developing and strengthening the chest muscles is essential not only for aesthetic purposes but also for functional upper body strength, posture, and overall upper body performance.

Learn More

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