After big arms, big pecs may be the most sought-after bodypart. And although it’s fairly easy to bring up the middle- and lower- pec fibers with pressing and flye movements, the upper pecs often lag behind the rest of the chest. Getting even more specific, the upper/inner pecs may be the toughest area for a bodybuilder to develop. That’s the part of the chest that sticks out when you wear a V-neck T-shirt or a shirt unbuttoned to midchest. If this zone of your pecs is looking flat and deflated, we’ve got just the exercise for you — alternating low-pulley cable crossovers. To do this exercise, stand in the middle of a cable-crossover station with a staggered stance (one foot ahead of the other, like a lunge stance) while holding D handles attached to the low pulleys with your arms extended out at your sides at about a 45-degree angle from your torso. Maintain a slight bend in your elbow as you bring your right arm up and in front of you in a diagonal manner until your right hand is in front of your left shoulder. Hold this position for a second or two as you focus on squeezing your upper/inner pec fibers. Then slowly return to the start and repeat on the left side. Repeat for reps in this alternating fashion.
- Low-pulley cable crossovers (both arms working simultaneously)
- Incline cable flyes
- Leaning one-arm flyes
WHEN TO GET IT UP
Alternating low-pulley cable crossovers make a great finishing exercising to burn out your upper/inner pecs following heavy presses and free-weight flyes. As an alternative, occasionally start your chest workout with alternating low-pulley cable crossovers and follow with incline presses as a way to pre-exhaust the upper pecs.
FORM AND FUNCTION
The upper or clavicular pecs start on the clavicles (collar bones) and sternum, and meet the middle and lower pec fibers on the common tendon they converge on that attaches to the humerus (upper arm bone). The upper-pec muscle fibers work with the rest of the pec muscles to perform horizontal adduction (the movement of flyes) and arm flexion (raising the arm in front of you, assisting the front deltoid) and a combination of these two moves, such as during alternating low-pulley cable crossovers and presses.
THE GET-IT-UP CHEST WORKOUT
- Incline Bench Presses | SETS: 4 | REPS: 6-8
- Dumbbell Bench Presses | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-10
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-10
- Alternating Low-Pulley Cable Crossovers | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12-15