Chest Exercises

Inflate Your Upper Pecs

If you’re not already doing these pec pounding moves, here are a few more reasons.

josh bryant thumbnail by CSCS, MFS, PES
Master Your 10-Rep Max

For decades, the incline bench press has been the go-to exercise for building the upper chest. The lab-tested justification for this preference lies in an almost statistically irrelevant 5 percent increase in muscle activation of those upper chest fibers as compared to the flat bench press. Activity in the front delts, meanwhile, increases by about 80 percent.

A recent Canadian study showed that the reverse-grip bench press produced 30 percent more fiber activation in the upper pecs than the traditional bench press. Because your elbows stay closer to your torso during each rep, your upper pecs end up carrying more of the load.

Everything is bigger in Texas! Not surprisingly, the two most developed upper chests I have ever witnesses hailed from the Lone Star State: 1990s powerlifting and bench press champions and record holders Anthony Clark and Jim Voronin. Both set records with a reverse-grip style bench press.

Here is a once-per-week routine to maximize upper chest development with the reverse grip bench press.

The Workout

Exercise

Sets

Reps        

Time

Reverse-Grip Bench Press 

4

 

7 min. 1

Dumbbell Incline Press

2

 

RP 2   

Incline Cable Flye

3

12

 

        -superset with-

         

 

 

Decline Push-Up   

3

To Failure

 

1 In Week 1, do 60 % of your “regular” bench press max for 4 reps, rest 30 seconds and repeat this process for 7 minutes. On the last set, do as many reps as possible, stopping one shy of failure. In Week 2, do 60 % of your “regular” bench press max for 5 reps, rest 30 seconds and repeat this for 7 minutes. On the last set do as many reps as possible, stopping one shy of failure. In Week 3, do 60 % of your “regular” bench press max for 6 reps, rest 30 seconds and repeat this for 7 minutes. On the last set, do as many reps as possible, stopping one shy of failure.

2 Using your 8-10RM, perform these sets rest-pause style. Perform reps to failure, rest 20 seconds and repeat for three total bouts of work. Rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat the entire rest-pause set once more.

Rest 1-2 minutes between exercises and 1-2 minutes between supersets.

 

Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES, is the owner of JoshStrength.com and co-author (with Adam benShea) of the Amazon No. 1 seller Jailhouse Strong. His new book, Built to the Hilt, is now available at Amazon and EliteFTS. He is a strength coach at Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas, and holds 12 world records in powerlifting. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website at www.joshstrength.com.

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