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Upper Pec Target Workout

Modify a basic machine lift to hit those hard-to-reach upper pecs.

By Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.
Upper Pec Target Workout

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Question

The flye machine I use seems to only hit my middle and lower chest. Is there an exercise that hits the inner pecs on my upper chest?
—Jason P., Muncie, IN

Answer

The machine flye is a great inner-chest exercise because it offers continuous tension throughout your range of motion—especially when you activate your inner-pec muscle fibers by bringing the handles together. Dumbbell flyes don’t give you the same effective inner-pec involvement because you lose tension at the top of the exercise. When your arms are perpendicular to your torso with machine flyes, however, all the focus is on your middle and lower chest, so that’s not ideal, either. There’s an easy fix for this, though, using a technique that allows you to focus your machine flyes on your upper chest.

First, move your hands up so they’re placed high on the handles. They should be even with your ears or higher—a position that will mimic the motion of an incline flye. Next, lean your torso forward so your body is close to a 45-degree angle with the floor and no longer upright. Perform reps by contracting your chest to bring the handles together. Hold this position for a second or two while flexing your pecs as hard as possible. This action will maximize the number of muscle fibers you use in your inner and upper pecs.

Quick Tip

After you reach failure with machine incline flyes, perform an extended set by switching to the standard version. Move your hands down on the handles, and sit upright with your back flat against the pad.

The Workout

Try this routine workout to bring up your upper chest.

Excercise Sets Reps Reps
Incline Bench Press 3 8-10 2-3 mins
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-10 2-3 mins
Machine Incline Flye 3 12-15 1-2 mins
Cable Crossover 3 12-15 1-2 mins

 

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