Many athletes struggle to develop the upper chest. In this article, I will address this issue and explain how to target that area.
The main function of this muscle is to pull your arm across. The problem is that the front/anterior shoulder has a similar function as both muscles origins and insertions are very similar too. So when you do an incline bench you are using both muscles. Additionally many of the exercises we perform for upper chest involve the triceps too. A good exercise for the chest that isolates the triceps is the fly. However, the traditional fly from the flat bench does not allow full range of motion and maximal upper chest engagement. The exercise I found that works best for targeting upper chest is cable fly but with some modifications. First, make sure you bring your arms a little bit higher and cross them over. It is a great way to get a greater range of motion. You can perform one arm cable fly where you can reach an even greater range of motion but you have to use lighter weights. Make sure to bend the elbows when performing these exercises.
These techniques are great for targeting the desired muscle but are single joint movement. If you want to build mass you need to involve multi-joint movements like the presses. To target the upper chest and get a good range of motion you will need to use dumbbells on an incline bench. Keep in mind that if the bench is at 45 degrees it will involve the anterior shoulders more. I like to adjust the bench to 15-30 degrees. Make sure to stretch fully at the bottom and bring the dumbbells together at the top so you can squeeze the upper chest muscles. If the elbows are closer to the body you will use more of your triceps. However, if you open them too much you might end up with shoulder impingement. It is very important to work around and find the best position that suits you. Remember you should not feel any pain around your joints when performing the above exercise.