The Best Upper Pec Exercises

Short for pectoralis major, your pecs are located on the front of your upper torso and are essentially your chest muscles. The pecs are important for the health and stability of your shoulder joint as well as overall appearance of the upper body. There are many upper pec exercises to choose from, but these are considered to be among the best.

Incline Bench Press

Performed using either a barbell or dumbbells, incline bench presses are considered by former bodybuilding superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger as an essential exercise. Adjust your exercise bench to a 30 degree incline and hold the weight over your chest at arms’ length. Keeping your elbows out and your wrists straight, lower the weight until your hands are level with your chest. Without pausing, press the weight back to arm’s length and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Because you are holding a weight over your chest, use a spotter when performing this exercise to minimize the risk of injury.

Incline Dumbbell Flies

To focus on the inner region of the upper pec muscles, lie on an 30 degree incline exercise bench with two dumbbells pressed out to arms’ length and held over your chest. Bend your elbows slightly but keep them rigid. Keeping your elbows fixed, lower the dumbbells out to the side of your body until they are level with your shoulders. Using a hugging motion, squeeze the dumbbells back up into the starting position and repeat.

Incline Push-ups

Incline push-ups are an effective upper pec exercise. Place your hands on an exercise bench, shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet backward until your legs are straight and your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are aligned. Keeping your abdominals tight, bend your elbows and lower your chest to within one inch of the floor. Extend your arms and push back up into the starting position. To intensify this exercise, try wearing a weighted vest. If full push-ups are too challenging for you, bend your legs and place your knees on the floor.

Cable Cross Over

To emphasize your inner, upper chest, stand between two adjustable pulley stations set to knee-height. Extend your arms out to the side and grasp a handle in each hand. Maintaining an upright torso and keeping your elbows slightly bent but rigid, draw you arms upward and inward so that they meet in front of your chest. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

About this Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Other than a five-year service in the Royal Marines, Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.