Every guy who lifts weights wants to actually look like they lift. There isn’t much of a point to lifting if you look like you use the bright pink rubber dumbbells in the jazzercise room. One of the keys to getting that strong muscular look is to build up the chest, in particular, the upper chest.

Most of you should know the basic upper chest exercises, such as the barbell or dumbbell incline press or the incline fly. Outside of those, there aren’t many exercises out there that are really worth your time and effort to incorporate into your program.

For this article, I won’t necessarily be giving you new, profound exercises that will blow your chest up like a balloon (sorry, they don’t exist). Instead, I’ll give you a different way of training your chest to maximize growth and strength.

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The first technique I’m going to share with you is a pre-exhaustion program. Basically, this means that you fatigue the muscle with an isolation exercise, then move on to a compound movement. For our purposes of building a larger upper chest, you would start with an incline fly for 3 sets of 12-15 reps, then move onto incline bench press for 4 sets of 8 reps.

The reason this works is that when you normally perform the compound movement (incline bench press), your shoulders and triceps are what fail first. When you pre-exhaust the muscle with the isolation exercise, the chest becomes the first muscle to fail, which leads to greater growth.

The second technique is one that I use personally. This program increases the frequency with which you train your chest. Your first chest workout will focus on building strength, while the second will focus more on hypertrophy (muscle building).

This type of program is perfect if your goal is to maximize strength in your chest, as well as building muscle. On strength days, you will perform several sets of a heavy weight for low reps. On hypertrophy days, you will complete fewer sets and lift slightly lighter weight for a greater number of reps.

Depending on what your primary goal is, the days which you train for strength or hypertrophy will differ. If your primary goal is strength, you will perform your strength workout early in the week, then a few days later, do the hypertrophy workout. If your primary goal is hypertrophy, then the opposite scheme would be used.

The program should be set up in such a way because your body should be fresh early in the week, so you can put maximum effort into your primary lifts. As the week goes on, your body gets fatigued, and you usually aren’t able to give the same effort as you would early in the week.

Outside of whichever program you choose to run, and whether your main goal is strength or hypertrophy (or both), proper nutrition is key in developing strength and/or muscle.

I will be very basic with my guidance here.

If you want to build strength or muscle, you need to be a caloric surplus, meaning you need to eat or drink more calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight.

Your muscles need the proper energy to perform their specific task of strength/hypertrophy, and the proper amount of calories must be consumed to receive the desired results.

Please comment below or contact me personally if you have any questions.

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