The upper chest area can be one of the most stubborn to grow and has been the source of frustration for many advanced bodybuilders and novices alike. Luckily, every problem has its solution, and it’s up to you to learn from their mistakes and successes! So how can you target your upper pecs with perfect precision and maximum effectiveness? Check out these 8 upper chest-sculpting tips and incorporate them in your workout ASAP!
Stagnant Upper Chest? Think Outside the Box!
The secret to building your upper chest is not in the amount of weight you can press, as Arnold Schwarzenegger as the owner of one of the greatest, fullest chests of all time himself could rightfully tell you. Instead, it’s in working your upper chest fibers as directly as possible.
If you want to develop your chest to its full potential, you need to train each part of it in a rather dedicated and meticulous way with specific exercises that emphasize adequate portions of the muscle. In other words, you’ll have to make sure to concentrate on all areas equally, with the upper pecs being the exception. When it comes to these bad guys, you will need all the training wisdom, patience and bravery you can muster!
But if you work them as hard as possible in the way they were designed to perform, and do it often enough, you too can end up with a prize-winning iconic chest of your own. The following 8 tips are meant to give you the much needed guidance in the process of sculpting the best upper chest possible, so be sure to add them to your chest-building action plan!
1. Hit the Upper Pecs First
As a rule, you should always hit your weakest body area first, while you’re still fresh and optimally motivated to hammer it with all you’ve got. If upper pecs are giving you the headache, make them a priority in your routine and train them as hard as you can. Some people believe that you should save the weakest link for the end of the workout because by then the surrounding muscles will already be fatigued thus leaving room for proper exhaustion of the target muscle, but this is not how things really work. In practice, by the time you get to focus on your upper pecs, you’ll be less than able to give them all the love they need.
2. Use Dumbbells, Too
Don’t be one of those guys that seem to be glued to the barbell, as those are usually the same guys who end up stuck at training plateaus for months. As with anything else in life, every bodybuilding technique or equipment has its own specific advantages and disadvantages, and it’s on you to make the most use of the proven benefits of every tool available.
While barbells allow you to hit the chest with some seriously heavy weight, dumbbells provide an opportunity to work each side separately and fix any existing muscle imbalances (which are often painfully and ridiculously visible) as well as train crucial stabilizing muscles. If you’re looking for unstoppable progress, alternate between dumbbells and barbells week-to-week. And the next time someone tries to talk you into exclusively using barbells, just walk away, get your hands on the heaviest pair of dumbbells you can find and show them how it’s done!
3. Stress the Mind-muscle Connection
Take it from the chest guru himself: Arnold would focus all of his attention to figuratively “become” the muscle he wanted to target so that he could maximize the muscle damage caused and get bigger gains than he would by just mindlessly going through the motion, and he especially stressed the importance of this method in terms of chest training. Muscles grow after being placed under direct, intense stress with appropriate duration, and developing that mind-muscle connection is one of the most effective ways to do just that. Warm up properly before the working sets and perform each rep with perfect form to enhance the benefits and keep your shoulders safe.
4. Avoid Lock Out
When you lock out, the triceps are called into play and the tension on the upper chest is diminished. If you don’t want this to happen (and you don’t), whenever you press a weight up, stop right before lock out to keep that muscle-building tension right where you want it to be. When you develop the mind-muscle connection we discussed above, you should be able to notice the moment when your tri’s get activated, ‘stealing’ the work from the upper pecs, which is your cue to start slowly lowering the weight back down. In time, you’ll figure out the optimal length of the movement and this will help you maximize your upper chest gains.
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