Upper Pecs | Lower Pecs (CHEST EXERCISE CHEAT!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. I’ve got a good one for you today. A lot of people ask about how to target the
different areas of the chest. I’m going to show you exactly how to do
it. I’m going to actually show you a fool proof,
simple, simple way for you to identify any chest exercise that does it. And of course, I broke out the muscle markers
to show the anatomy to prove what it is I’m trying to teach you here. So, we definitely have three areas of the
chest. Some people thought we only had two, but there
are, anatomically, three different areas. There’s the clavicular area, or the upper
chest here, where the fibers attach to the clavicle. There is the sternal area of the chest where
all the fibers attach to the sternum. And we also have the abdominal head of the
chest, which is really, really small, and goes right through the nipple here. Jesse did a nice job of drawing right over
the nipple. Guys, I did that myself. Not Jesse. So, we come down here, but insert into the
upper abdominal region, and the area of the obliques here. Now I want to go over the really easy, quick,
simple thing here because we all know this, right? So, if I were to go grab a decline bench and
grab the dumbbells, what area of the chest am I working when I do a decline bench? The lower chest, right? We hear that decline is actually one of the
best variations of the bench that you can do because it activates the entire pec. The most of any of the three variations of
the bench. But why is that working the lower chest? I’m going to tell you in one second because
when we take the incline and set it up, again, we all know that the incline bench works the
upper chest here. You can see the activation and contraction
more favored in the top portion of the chest. So, here’s the big reveal. We know, obviously, that the flat bench works
more of the middle. The big reveal is, what happened? Where is the arm position during the incline
bench? It’s right here. Now if I were to sit up, where are the arms
in relation to the rest of my body? They’re angled upward from the horizontal
position. So, this is parallel to the floor. But at soon as I start going above parallel
I start working the upper chest, and the upper chest. To a point where I lose upper chest in favor
of shoulder. We’ve talked about this before. At this point we’re too delt heavy, and
in order to get that more upper chest I need to get a little bit lower. But I can go below, parallel here, if I want
to really favor the upper chest. Obviously, the whole chest is going to contract,
but if we want to favor that area I’ve got to keep it above parallel. When we’re in the decline bench – again,
I’ll show you what it looked like down here. If our arms are up like this, we think that
they’re straight out. But if I were to sit up, look at the position. They’re pointed down from parallel. So as soon as I want to do anything to target
more of the lower area of the chest, again, favor that area, then you can’t isolate. Favor. You go below that parallel position to start
working the lower chest. So that’s the easy one. As it relates to other exercises though, people
get confused if they do an incline pushup. They think maybe it’s working the upper
chest. But watch what happens. If I were to come here and step away, where
is the position of the arms? It’s below parallel. Meaning, it’s going to be targeting the
bottom portion of the chest. If I wanted to get more upper chest with a
pushup that I was doing at home I have to go the other way. I have to go where I’m pointing down and
coming that way. So now from here, if I hold my arms there
and get up, look at the angle. The angle is above parallel and working the
upper chest. So, we keep going. If I come over here to the cable crossover
and take arms high, it’s not upper. Arms high and come down here, that is more
of that lower abdominal head, and sternal head of the chest. So, if I come from high to low, that’s what
we’re working on. If I wanted to get up top here, which happens
to be a great exercise, then you want to come low here, and low here, and now we want to
take it from a bottom-up. When we finish up here, again, look at the
angle of the arms in relation. They’re not parallel to the floor. They’re any degree above that. You can see that activation up, and through
here in the upper chest when we do that. Now keep in mind, all that means is if we
kept a horizontal positioning for any of these exercises then we’re going to get more in
the meaty, middle area of the chest. Finally, two other variations. I talk all the time about how one of the best
upper chest exercises you could do is a pullover with a focus on contracting the upper chest. You could do a pullover like this. Squeeze your elbows in, toward each other. Your biceps should be squeezing toward each
other here. You let it go back and you should feel that
when I initiate the pullover I’m not pulling my lats and flaring my elbows. I’m pulling with my chest by squeezing my
biceps toward each other and up. You can see all that upper chest activation. I’m saying, ‘upper chest’ and you should
know why. Because if we look at that position, look
at the angle of the arms. This will be horizontal to the ground if I
were standing. This is going to be above. Again, feeding into that exact theory and
principle we’re talking about here the whole time. That’s upper chest activation. Again, you can see it, you can feel it right
in through here. Finally, we go to the opposite end of the
spectrum and come over here – Jesse’s getting a workout following me all around
the damn gym – with a dip. With the dip we know what happens here, too. The arms are not above parallel, they’re
not parallel. They’re really an extreme version of down
below parallel. So, they’re here, and they’re here, that
way, and of course, we come down. You can see the extra stretch right there
on the blue area of my chest. And come up, and down, and up. See, the biggest stretch is on that lower
area of the pec, and down. But we know more than just the stretch is
the fact that, again, that position is here, and that’s where I’m working from. So whatever other exercise you want to think
of for chest, guys, let me know. I’ll explain it if I have to in a future
video, but they all follow suit. Whatever it is you’re trying to target;
the anatomy is going to show you how to target it. Follow the fibers, is what I always say. You don’t have to go out and draw all over
yourself with the muscle marker, but if you understand this quick, little tip about the
position of the arms you’ll never get it wrong. Guys, if you’re looking for a program that
puts the science back in strength, takes the details seriously – because the details
matter – and understanding the details is what makes it a lot easier for you to get
much more out of your workouts, we’ve put a whole program together over at ATHLEANX. Find the one that’s best matched to whatever
goal it is that you’re trying to achieve at the moment by using our program selector
in the link below this video. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover
and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days, and weeks ahead. Even if I have to break out the markers again. Jesse, stay away from my nipple. I will do that. All right, guys. See you soon. Bye.

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Reader Comments

  1. Paul Nordaker

    @ Athlean x I.E Jeff my dad said if he caught you drawing on your self like that hed ground you for drawing on your self.. lol i love your videos it helps me learn alot thank you

  2. ClutchThreeGod

    Jeff you are most definitetly one of my favorites. Already from lifting for 2 months or 8 weeks I have been seeing great gains that dont even look like newbie gains and im gaining stupendous strength. Your videos are helping me so much I hope you keep it up because Ill still be watching. Thank you Jeff

  3. Peacefully Existence

    this is really basic stuff I'm surprised how many people this seems to be help8ng that didn't already know this. hats of to you Jeff once again for knowing your viewers needs so well. love the vids, jist this one felt a little like stating the obvious compared to your normal in-depth analysis of things.

  4. TEK909

    hey man, this was really handy. but raised more questions for me. Any chance you could do a vid on cable cross overs and where to anker the weight from to hit a range of muscles. thanks

  5. Allen Dionela

    Is it best to workout the 3 parts of the chest in momentum? For example, doing all workout for upper chest, then after that do all the workout for middle chest then all the workout for lower chest, all for 1 day. Or is it mor effective if we gonna mix it? 1 upper 1 middle 1 lower then back to another workout for upper, middle, lower?

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  7. Christopher Cina

    I spend most of my time in hotels. I need a workout that will allow a total body workout but with just dumbbells and a cable machine for purposes of weight loss/toning and strength training

  8. Lee Hayward

    I watch a lot of your videos and I find them insightful, and make me think alot more about my gym workouts. Thank you for your clear and consise knowledge each and every time.

  9. 1MannedJams

    Dude said something that just answered all my questions about lower pec workout. You can favor hot isolate. Makes so much more sense now, thank you.

  10. JOE D.

    Question: I was told long ago to make the incline angle low as to not cause to much shoulder activation but I constantly see a higher incline in most videos I watch. What is the best position of incline bench for best upper chest results?

  11. Dead On Dave

    Hi there . Great videos. I not new to lifting but I've got a question. Maybe it's not so obvious , but should I be doing chest and tri's in the same workout ? I've had success with this before but I was practically living in the gym , so it's difficult to tell. Thanks ( maybe bi's on another day ?)

  12. LiVe*WiRe 100

    So how can I activate my left lower pec real in even it's hard because my left arm was broken as a child so I favor the right

  13. Leroy Jones

    Since the lower chest is worked on High to low cable fly ( with your arns starting above parallel and going low).. why isn't your lower chest being worked on the across bench pullover since your starting high but pulling towards your lower chest ( high to low) ??

  14. Donald Price

    What is meant by 4 sets X 6, 8, 10, 12?? Does it mean 4 sets of 6 reps , 4 sets of 8 reps, etc. or just 6 reps, 8 reps, 10 reps, 12 reps equaling 4 sets?

  15. dingbat nomad

    I love that you use muscle markers in different colors to show the muscles because other than the markers, I cant see the muscle you dont have

  16. ese mas loko

    Finally someone to actually tell me and teach me what they mean and what exercise it targets and the markers are great way of teaching thanks for the video best one to teach me the diffrence in chest workouts and which one targets which one. liked and subscribed

  17. Link Wolfgar

    Question. Why stay lean and ripped without gaining mass? Shouldn't you automatically gain mass after you get time and keep increasing weight? I'm asking because I'm now at the point I'm ready to gain mass with strength. But it feels like I need more fat stored rather than eating enough to burn off each day. Is it truly based on genetics?

  18. Zetsuke4

    Time to do some db pullovers and cable down to adduct up and up to adduct down now also incline bar pushup for lower and leg up pushup for upper i get it now

  19. Zetsuke4

    So that’s why I found dips so difficult because they are extremely down below parallel making it favor the lower chest far more which I haven’t trained as much as opposed to just slight below parallel

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