To develop the top half of your chest muscles (in between your neck and middle pectoral muscle) you need to incorporate an incline chest press exercise.
The incline barbell bench press isolates this area more than any other exercise, with the least amount of emphasis on the shoulders and triceps.
Major Muscles Targeted: Chest
Other Muscles Targeted: Shoulders, Triceps
- Lie flat on a bench, set at a 30 to 45 degree angle. Any higher than this will work your shoulders more. There should be a slight, natural arch in your back. Don’t adjust your position to achieve a flat surface across your back.
- Place your feet firmly placed on the ground at 90 degree angles.
- You should position yourself so that the bar is resting directly above your eyes.
- Your grip should be just wider than shoulder width apart. A wide grip will target your outer chest more, while a narrow grip will target your inner chest.
- Lift the bar off the rack and extend the bar at arm’s length.
- To a count of 2 – 3 seconds, lower the bar so that it comes down in the middle of your upper chest. As with the flat bench press, the bar should be lowered until your elbows are just slightly below your shoulders. Depending on how long your arms are and how big your chest is, the bar may or may not touch your chest.
- Press the barbell directly back up for 1 rep.
Do’s and Do Not’s
DO remember to breathe. Breathe in as you lower the bar and breathe out as you raise it.
DO keep your back in contact with the bench. A small arch in your lower back is natural.
DO NOT allow the barbell to bounce off your chest. (Unless you want to break your ribs!) You should have full control of the barbell at all times.
DO NOT let your back arch or squirm around on the bench in order to complete the rep. This will engage other muscles to help move the barbell and increases your mechanical advantage. It also increases your risk of injury, especially to the discs in your lower back.
DO NOT lock your arms out at the top of the movement. Your elbows should be relaxed and your shoulder blades should remain in contact with the bench.
If you have any comments, questions or tips for the incline barbell bench press, please drop them below.