Best upper chest exercises

This is not a topic that usually concerns beginners  that are just looking to build overall muscle size, but it is more for the intermediate and advanced person that is looking to ‘polish’ up their physique. I’ve often seen guys in the gym that have more mass in their lower pecs and almost no muscle developed in the upper chest region. If you’re looking for that upper chest separation, you should be performing pressing and fly movements while on an incline bench. Changing the inclination of a bench while doing chest exercises shifts the emphasis onto the upper chest.  So here are the best upper chest exercises that you should be adding to your arsenal.

#1- Inline Chest Press (dumb bell or barbell)

The incline chest press is one of my favorites and is considered one of the best upper chest exercises for building mass. One thing to note while doing incline presses, is that you do not have the bench too inclined. 30 degrees seems to be the sweet spot for targeting the upper chest in my opinion. Any higher then that you will change the stress from the upper pecs to the anterior deltoid (front shoulders).

#2- Incline Chest Flies

The dumb bell chest fly is considered the ‘icing on the cake’ when it comes to chest exercises. Every single chest workout I’ve done, I usually finish off with a burnout set of dumb bell chest flies. It usually leaves me with a good chest pump and my chest seems to respond better with fly and squeeze exercise rather then pressing exercises where my triceps can often take some of the the emphasis off of my chest. I personally prefer to do this exercise with cables (if the gym is empty) because I find that the constant cable tension gives my chest a better workout.

#3- Guillotine press

This exercise is great if you do not have any available incline benches in your gym. For years I’ve built my upper chest with this exercise in particular. It is the same as the bench press except, instead of lowering the bar down to your lower chest region, you bring it down more towards your clavicle or neck region (this is why they call it the guillotine press). Be careful when performing this exercise because you will not be able to lift as much weight as you do when you are bench pressing normally. This is more of an isolation exercise and should be performed with lighter weights and a higher rep range.

#4 – Decline Push ups

A great body weight exercise that targets the upper chest if you do not have access to a gym or you just want to do some body weight exercises at home. These push ups are performed by having your feet elevated either on a chair or bench that can angle your body downwards. Perform these like regular push ups and you’ll notice that your upper chest engaging throughout the movement.


That is it. The best upper chest exercises when it comes to wanting to develop a solid and muscular upper chest. If you notice that your lower pecs are more developed take note to start your chest workout performing these upper chest exercises first to ensure that your full energy can be put out to targeting this region. I usually alternate my chest workouts by starting with upper chest one workout and lower chest the next.


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John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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