This trainer ranked upper chest exercises from best to worst

Strength trainer Jeff Cavaliere CSCS has made several videos in which he reviews his favorite personal exercises that he finds most effective for increasing gains, from abs to shoulders to triceps. Continuing its 2021 ranking of the best (and worst) chest exercises, Cavaliere has just posted another video on the Athlean-X channel focusing on the movements that will help you build your strength specifically in the upper chest. and reporting others. that you can go ahead and withdraw from your next chest workout routine.


Breast shots on Instagram

“No matter how flashy the exercise can be, if it’s ineffective it will fail every time,” says Cavaliere. “It really reveals your lack of professional knowledge. “

Guillotine press

“This exercise completely ignores the shoulder health of the person performing it … When you place your elbows this far to the side and have a target point this high, you are putting too much pressure on your rotator cuff tendons. “Cavaliere explains.” Not to mention the potential slip of the bar at any point during this exercise. ”

Incline dumbbell fly

Cavaliere does not like this exercise because it is performed without support, which puts the shoulders at risk of injury. He also advises against trying the “Crucific fly” variation, which puts a strain on the biceps.


Refuse push-ups

This exercise is effective for hitting the upper chest, it still suffers from the same drawback as other variants of push-ups, Cavaliere explains – the inability to increase the overload.

Kneeling mine press

“It gives you a much more natural, smooth pushing motion and an arc to press,” he says. “You’re not just pushing up, you’re pushing up and away from your body… it causes a nice isometric chest contraction.”

Cavaliere crossover

Although it was invented by Cavaliere himself, this movement only falls into the “best” category and not higher as it has a limited range of motion.

Even better

UCV dumbbell elevation

By lightening the load on the Cavaliere crossover and increasing the distance and arc for the dumbbell to move in front of the body, this movement creates greater stretch and adduction.

Incline compression press with dumbbells

“Like the mine press, it gives us a chance to introduce some isometric adduction,” Cavaliere explains. “We can create this median isometric stress simply by pressing the insides of the dumbbells against each other all the way through the press.” He adds that while pressing the weights together, be careful not to let your elbows press too hard on your sides, which will turn this into a triceps exercise.

Dumbbell chest high sweater

Although this is traditionally a back exercise, Cavaliere explains that you can shift the load up the chest, increasing the internal rotation of the shoulders.

Almost better

Sneaky dumbbell press

Reversing the grip here is a safer alternative to the Guillotine Press which can still target the chest while being performed on a flat bench.

Inclined cable press

“The real benefit here is being able to not only resist the act of putting the arms in front of the body, but having the resistance to adduction of the arms through the body at the top,” Cavaliere explains. “When you are looking for maximum contraction on the chest, this exercise will be able to provide that in a much more meaningful way than just pushing dumbbells over your head.”

Low to high cross

“When it comes to building your chest, adduction is key,” Cavaliere explains. “But beyond that, when you hit your upper chest, the direction of movement is critical. Follow the fibers.”


incline bench press

It’s a mix here between the barbell and barbell versions of this exercise, and Cavaliere can see merit in both. Ultimately, it depends on what works best for you. If the weight you lift on the barbell press still allows you to perform 3 to 6 reps, at a difficult load, then you are probably good.

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