The upper chest is an area that many lifters tend to ignore in their quest for a bigger, thicker set of pecs. The flat bench, admittedly, is incredibly effective at bringing up your overall chest mass because you can handle more weight. But if you're looking for a complete, polished look, then dedicated upper pectoral work has to be a part of your program.
Gunter Schlierkamp is a big proponent of balanced pec training. While he will also admit that flat benching is crucial for overall chest development, he says that the only way to bring this area up is to attack it with the same ferocity as your other bodyparts. Here are his top six tips for blowing up that upper shelf of your torso.
1. Always Start With Inclines
"If your upper pecs are really lagging, the best way to bring them out is to always start with incline moves," he says. You can do this with a barbell, dumbbells or a Smith machine. Starting with incline moves will ensure that these underused fibers are fresh, allowing you move the most weight possible to trigger growth. From there you can move on to flat and decline moves, where you're likely naturally stronger.
2. Try Power Pressing
Think about this as you would the deadlift. With the deadlift, you work without the benefit of elasticity or momentum, pulling the bar from a complete rest on the floor. This builds strength and power quickly through the positive portion of the movement. Power presses are the same idea.
"Using a Smith machine or power rack, set the safeties to a point that only allows for a partial range of motion," he says. "As you come down, let the bar settle completely before pressing hard back to the top of the movement."
As you get stronger through each range of motion, lower the safety pins.