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  1. #1
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    Week 165 :: What Is The Best Workout Routine For A Lagging Upper Chest?

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    TOPIC: What Is The Best Workout Routine For A Lagging Upper Chest?

    For the week of: 7/28 - 8/03
    Monday @ Midnight Is The Final Cut (Mountain Time, US & Canada).

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    Focusing on flat and decline bench presses can cause the upper chest region to lag. And a lagging upper chest is sure to bring down the appearance of a strong upper body.

    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.

    How often should one train their upper chest?

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?

    * IMPORTANT: Please make sure your responses are original and not copied from previous topics.

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  2. #2
    Stock Trader Valjean's Avatar
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    Wow good topic. Just what I need to know about. Good luck all.
    Will rep back 250+

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  3. #3
    King Of Video Reviews History in Effect's Avatar
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    The chest is the centerpiece of the upper body and there is no escaping it. When you see bodybuilders from the front, the chest is often the most dominant. The chest ties into so many parts of your body. Your traps, abs, delts, and other parts of your body all make the chest the king of body part from the front. When I see chest workout, I always see the emphasis on flat-bench being first. There is nothing wrong with doing a flat bench press, but there needs to be a change. A change called incline. If you want to have a well-rounded chest, I urge you to read the rest of my article with excitement and motivation. This is focused on your upper chest, so let's get it started.

    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.


    The best workout for your chest is one that targets the upper chest. A good combination of barbells, dumbbells, cables, bodyweight, and even machines allows your body to experience immense growth in the area.

    Chest Blast


    1. Bodyweight Incline Pushups on Stability Ball 1x15- First of all, they don't have to be on a ball, but they can be on any surface that puts your feet in an inclined position. I like to do these as a good warm-up to get my upper chest ready to get pounded.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...+Exercise+Ball

    2. Barbell Incline Press3x5- The talk is always about who can flat-bench more, but the talk should change to something different. You want to hit the upper-chest, so why not pick a more appropriate exercise. Barbell incline press does hit more than the upper pecs, but its primarily an upper chest savior. The path you are lifting in is straight up and down, rather than backwards. You want your chest to rise to the occasion, not sag.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...+-+Medium+Grip

    3. Incline DB Press 3x5- You want to use the stabilizers muscles, well dumbbells are the key. Dumbbells are great to use in that you will experience growth and any weakness you have will be non-existent after a while.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...Dumbbell+Press

    4. Incline DB flyes 3x15- Flyes are great exercises that help shape the outer pecs. The incline version does this and also helps the upper part of the pecs. Flyes are good for stretching the chest to new heights in growth.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...Dumbbell+Flyes

    5. Low-Cable Crossovers 3x15- We all know cables provides constant strain on the muscle you are working, which allows your pecs to be shaped and develop amazing cuts. The low-cable version hits the upper pecs more adequately and this is exactly what you want. Next time you workout, set the pulley low instead of high to target the upper pecs.
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...able+Crossover

    How often should one train their upper chest?


    You don't have to train your chest more often than you would think. The key is to put an incline chest move at the beginning of your workout. The workout I listed is strictly for upper/mid chest, but some people may not need that. Instead you could start off with an incline movement, whether it be dumbbells or barbells. Your first movement is usually the one which builds the most mass and zaps the most energy from you. Giving it your all on an incline movement will have it growing. You may possible also want to pre-exhaust the muscle. Pre-exhaustion is the use of an isolation exercises that makes sure other secondary muscles don't give out. For this, you could put low-cable crossovers or incline dumbbells flyes as the first exercise. Variety is the spice of life.

    Rep Ranges I Would Use for Above Exercises


    I want to explain the rep ranges in this section primarily. I use low rep ranges on incline barbell press and incline dumbbell press to shock the muscles into growing. You go to failure on each set of those exercises and watch your muscles respond positively. I use higher rep ranges on flyes and crossovers because those are mainly shaping exercises. Flyes stretch out the chest and crossovers bring about the deep striations in your chest area.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?


    Training your upper chest could be considered of most importance than middle and lower chest. The fact is that the upper chest is the main weakness for many people when doing chest poses. For your chest to be the best, you must hit it from a variety of angles to hit all three parts. You want your chest to be symmetrical, massive, and be cut all at the same time. Changing up how you perform the exercises and the reps you use will help this very fact.

    Some Guys with the Best Overall Chest

    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Franco Columbu

    Ronnie Coleman
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  4. #4
    Registered User McGillLifter's Avatar
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    The Upper Chest

    As a major muscle group the chest can be trained every 48 to 72 hours while seeing relatively consistent progress. If one has the time and is truly committed they can train their chest every other day by using a two-day split, train the upper body day 1 and lower body day 2. That being said it is a good idea to take at least one day of training per week to avoid over training.

    For an upper body routine one should incorporate all the major muscle groups in addition to the chest. By doing more upper chest exercises such as incline bench press and incline flies with either a barbell, dumbbells or cables you can place more stress on the upper chest and thus increase development. Note that by changing the angle of the incline you can place more emphasis on either the shoulders or chest. Forty-five degrees is the middle point that will incorporate the largest portion of the upper chest, evenly. Further more by starting with upper chest exercises on can use heavier weights while the muscle is fresh and not fatigued from its assistance in other exercises.

    The Routine

    Upper Body Day 1

    Superset these exercise to save time and work efficiently

    Incline Chest Press (Barbell, Cable, or Dumbbell)
    Seated Cable row

    Incline Flies (Dumbbell or Cable)
    Reveres Flies (Dumbbell or Cable)

    Shoulder Press (Barbell, Cable, or Dumbbell)
    Lat Pull Down (Barbell, Cable, or Dumbbell)

    Bicep Curls (Barbell, Cable, or Dumbbell)
    Triceps Extensions (Barbell, Cable, or Dumbbell)

    Lower Body Day 2

    Dead lift (Dumbbell or Barbell)
    Crunches

    Hamstring Curls (Machine)
    Calf Extension (Barbell, Machine, or Dumbbell)

    Squat (Barbell or Dumbbell)
    Hanging Leg Raises


    Every 1 to 2 weeks one should incorporate some lower and middle chest exercises in substitute of the upper chest exercises. You are still working the other portion of your chest enough during the upper chest exercise that you won?t lose muscle or strength however you do want to keep growing all around. One way to ensure this is if you do 2 upper body workouts per week, then devote 1 to the upper chest and 1 to the middle and lower.

    The middle, lower and upper chest are all of equal importance. However there is a tendency for people to have weaker upper chest. Having a well developed upper chest helps to further emphasize the ideal V like taper most people want. In other words it can make you look a lot bigger than you actually are.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Vingtor's Avatar
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    if you want a body part big, working them out twice a week is a good, and smart thing. you can have a heavy chest day on monday, and than of a pump workout on thursday. You usually want to wait 48 to 72 hours before working out the same body part. THE PART YOU WANT BIG YOU WORKOUT FIRST.if your looking for size, than a good rep and set range would be,
    3-4 sets with 8-12 reps.

    strength would would be 10 sets, 3 to six reps heavy wieght

    as of trying a new system out, STFS-7(or somthing around there) that at the the end of each workout, you pick an excercise(you can have done this during the workout) and you do seven sets, with a weight you can do 12-15 times. With rest about 30 seconds, or if you have partner you go, he goes, etc etc etc.

    as for workouts, there is a few. the most common is incline bench. now lets set the record straight. when you do this movement, you WANT THE BENCH AS PARALELL TO THE FLOOR AS POSSIBLE! why? becasue it takes the stress of your shouldars, and onto the upper pec.
    I recomend dumbbells, because with a barbell, you usually have one side that gets a little of a free ride.

    Another work out would be upper chest flys. you really want that stretch, cause thats what will open your chest like a barn door.



    usually a warm upset of about two, and light weight and really excentuate the stretching.
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  6. #6
    Registered User jaquay44's Avatar
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    Smile Answer for upper chest training

    TOPIC: What Is The Best Workout Routine For A Lagging Upper Chest?



    Focusing on flat and decline bench presses can cause the upper chest region to lag. And a lagging upper chest is sure to bring down the appearance of a strong upper body.
    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest?
    the best upper chest routine ive found that works really well, i Start with cable crossovers focusing on squeezing the top of the chest 2 good warmup sets followed by 3 working sets, 1set 10 reps, 2nd set 12 reps, 3rd set 10 reps, then i perform barbell incline focusing on expanding the ribcage squeezing the muscle, also 3 sets 15 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps , then i like to finish off this chest workout and do ultra slow dumbell incline presses supersets with incline dumbell flys, also 3 sets 15 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps, my chest went from 44 to 48 in the past few months, remember all about the squeezeing of that muscle.

    How often should one train their upper chest? i train my upper chest twice a week, the first chest day is generally a heavier chest day, then the second time usually comes 3 days later, and that workout consists of slow squeezing focusing on the muscle, my belief is if you had laggin body parts you have to prioritize them and do them twice a week.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest? upper chest to me is the most important beacuse thats what gives your chest that strong powerful look, nobody looks at someone with a great strong droopy chest, TO give it that wow effect you have to make upper chest training priority.
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  7. #7
    Registered User ZionNYC's Avatar
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    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.


    The Upper Chest is very important for your Upper Body because it makes the Chest really stand out and may take attention away from the appearance of man-boobs! Want to have a Chest like Arnold? Well then, Upper Chest exercises are very important, and you must not let your Upper Chest lag at all or you will not look very proportional.

    Killer Upper Chest Triple Supersets



    Doing Triple Supersets (three exercises in a row) sets will blast your Upper Chest muscles into growing. Three main exercises are including in these triplet sets and must be followed in order.

    #1: Push-Ups With Feet On An Exercise Ball
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...+Exercise+Ball

    To start this exercise, get a normal-sized exercise ball that your local gym usually has. If you are working out at home, I'd advise you to invest in an Exercise Ball as it is great not only for bodyweight exercises but for your core. Place your lower shins on the exercise ball with feet strait. Go deep, and I mean deep, and finish the exercise by moving your body up just like a regular pushup. This pushup focuses on your Upper Chest along with your shoulders and may be harder to perform then a regular pushup. Continue for eight reps.

    #2: Incline Dumbell Flys
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...Dumbbell+Flyes

    Sit on an Incline Bench that is inclined at 30 - 45 degrees. Take two dumbells in your hands and raise them up. Slowly push your elbows down until it goes below the bench while inhaling, and in one quick motion, exhale and push your arms and elbows back up. Flys are great for your outer pecs and this version helps concentrate them on the upper pecs and your outer pecs. Continue for eight reps.

    #3: Incline Dumbell Chest Press
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...Dumbbell+Press

    This works just like a regular Dumbell Chest Press except the bench has to be inclined from 30 - 45 degrees. MAke sure to breath correctly during the motion and don't rush it. Continue for eight reps.

    How to perform the "Killer Upper Chest Triple Supersets"



    First, do the Pushups on the exercise ball for eight reps and then with no break, do the Incline Dumbell Flys for eight reps. After that, with no break, do the Incline Dumbell Bench Press for eight reps. You will feel this killer workout after you're done. Perform 3 - 6 Sets (based on your preferences).

    Upper Chest Strength Routine



    The Upper Chest Strength Routine is a routine that will focus on heavy lifting to develop strength in your upper pecs. This is great for somebody who can't handle the Killer Upper Chest Triple Supersets or wants to focus on developing power instead of size.

    #1: Incline Barbell Bench Press
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...+-+Medium+Grip
    Do a warmup set on the Incline Barbell Bench Press. This set will be a set of 15. After that, complete 5 sets of 5 on heavy Incline Barbell Bench Press. Make sure not to bounce the barbell off of your chest and use a spotter. If you don't have a spotter, head on over to the Smith Machine, and do your Incline Barbell Bench Press there.

    #2: Low Cable Crossovers
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...able+Crossover
    Do your Cable Crossovers like normal except put the attachments to the low pulley instead of the higher one. Then do a warmup set of 15. After that, do 4 sets of 8, on heavy weight.

    #3: Incline Dumbell Flys (With A Twist)
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exer...Dumbbell+Flyes
    Do them just like the Incline Dumbell Flys shown in this link, but on your way up, twist your arms so that your pinky finger face each other at the top. Warmup with a set of 15. Then knock out 4 sets of 8. Remember to do this in a slow, controlled, relaxed motion.

    How often should one train their upper chest?



    The Upper Chest should be trained once a week so it doesn't lag behind since it's extremely important in developing good pecs. If you train the Chest twice a week, you should focus on your mid/lower pecs for one day in the week, and the mid/upper pecs for the other day. The Upper Chest should not be focused on or overtrained but should not be overlooked either. Remember that you still have to develop your lower and middle pecs. Do not get 'Upper Pecs Fever' and forget doing your flat and decline exercises also.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?



    As said before, the Upper Chest must not be singled out as the best part of the Chest, since both the lower and upper pecs help develop a good Chest. To put it simple, the Upper Chest is equal to the middle chest and the lower chest. You must train all of these parts of the chest in order to have great pecs, nothing else can be said about it. You want your Chest to be symmetrical? Train your whole Chest. You want your Chest to be proportional? Train your whole Chest.
    Last edited by ZionNYC; 08-03-2009 at 08:44 AM.
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    The Best Routine for a Lagging Upper Chest

    This is it. A full routine with the primary goal being upper chest development. If you're one of the many people who have been neglecting upper chest for too long this is the perfect chance to catch up. There also isn't any reason to not make good overall gains on this workout as well. Even if you aren't willing to change your current workout plan you can easily integrate the second phase into what you're currently doing for some quick gains. Don't be afraid to substitute in similar exercises based on personal preference either. Just decide exactly what you will do and stick to it.

    Why it works:

    All else being equal (that is with proper nutrition and sullementation, adequate sleep and an excess of calories) this routine is sure to produce some great results. The most effective way to make gains in strength and size is compound movements. Upper chest begins both chest workouts, ensuring you are fresh for heavy, multi-joint exercises. It is also being hit twice a week. Once with lower reps and heavier weight for strength gains and another day with lighter weight to focus on hypertrophy. Most would agree that different people respond to different rep ranges and using reps at both ends of the spectrum is the best way to produce consistent results. Strong shoulders and triceps are of great importance too. You can't avoid putting a great deal of pressure on the anterior (front) delts and well developed triceps are required for any pushing movement. You will notice that both these muscle groups are being shocked along with upper chest.

    The Training Split:

    Monday - Chest/Back
    Tuesday - Legs/Traps
    Thursday - Chest/Back
    Friday - Shoulders/Arms

    Monday -
    Incline Bench Press 3x3-5
    Incline Dumbell Press 3x4-8
    Flat Bench Press 2x4-8
    Weighted Pull-Up or Lat Pulldown 3x10-12
    Cable Row 3x10-12
    Dumbell Pullover 2x10-12
    Cable Crunch 3x12-15

    Tueday -
    Squat 4x8-10
    Stiff Leg Deadlift 3x10-12
    Leg Extension 3x10-12
    Barbell Shrug 4x8-10
    Dumbell Shrug 2x10-12
    Standing Calve Raise 3x12-15

    Thursday -
    Incline Dumbell Press 4x10-12
    Incline Cable Crossover 2x10-12
    Weighted Chest Dips 2x10-12
    Barbell Rows 3x10-12
    Close Grip Pull-Up or Close Grip Lat Pulldown 3x10-12
    Leg Raises 3x15

    Friday -
    Barbell Overhead Press 4x8-10
    Close Grip Bench Press 4x8-10
    Front Plate Raise 3xfailure(10-15 rep range)
    Upright Barbell Row 3x10-12
    Decline Skullcrushers 3x10-12
    Barbell Curl 3x10-12
    Incline Dumbell Curl 3x10-12

    *Each chest exercise can be supersetted with a back exercise to cut down on time and keep your heart rate up. Simply perform one chest exercise then perform one back exercise as soon as possible afterwards, then rest for 1 to 2 minutes before starting again. This can also be done with legs and traps and triceps and biceps.

    *Start with a weight that allows you to reach failure in the last set within the desired rep range. Once you can perform each set move the weight up 5 to 10 pounds.

    *Monday is more stregth focused and rep speed should be about 211 (two seconds down, one second up, and one second pause at the top). You are trying to use the most weight with good form in the desired rep range. Other days are more hypertrophy focused with 1 to 2 seconds down, one up, and no pause. You are trying to keep tension on the muscle.

    *Perform several warm-up sets for the first exercise in each muscle group. For incline bench press, do one set with only the bar for 15 reps, one set for with half the weight you'll be using for 10 reps, and other with 70% to 80% of your working weight for five reps. This is very helpful when preparing for heavy lifting.

    *Incline Bench Press is the first exercise of the workout for a reason and using proper form is important. Pull your shoulders back, slowly lower the bar utill it touches or almost touches your chest, then raise it. Don't move your shoulders forward and let the weight sit there between reps. Use a medium grip and bring the weight down to the middle of your chest to help keep tension off the shoulders.

    Phase Two:

    Simply performing this workout would be a real big shock to your upper chest but if you're like me you will want to push yourself a little harder after a couple of weeks. Perform the first routine for 3 to 5 weeks (keep going if you keep seeing progress) then take a week off or intentionally stop short a couple reps before failure for a week. Here is a second phase for chest days. Switching the order of your exersises and substituting in similar ones will help spure new gains in other muscle groups.

    Monday -
    Incline Bench Press 3x5(a)
    Incline Dumbell Press 3x4-8(b)
    Flat Dumbell Press 2x4-8

    Thursday -
    Incline Dumbell Flyes 4x10-12(c)
    Incline Smith Press 4x10-12
    Weighted Chest Dips 3x10-12

    (a) You will perform a rest-pause set for the third set. After completing the last rep on the third set rerack the weight, pause for 10 to 20 seconds (about 10 deep breaths) then perform several more reps. Repeat until you can only get one more rep or to failure.

    (b) Have a second set of dumbells ready that are about 30% less weight then what is being used for your working sets. Once failure is reached on the third set, immediately pick up the lighter dumbells and continue to failure.

    (c) You are performing flyes first to pre-exhaust your chest. Try to perform four slow, focused sets using as little help form your triceps as possible. When it's time for the Incline Smith Press rack less weight than you would normally use and really blast your upper chest. Expect to use less weight for triceps exercises the following day because your upper chest will need at lot of help to get through all four sets.

    Training Frequency:

    It's fine to train upper chest twice a week, though when doing so you should keep overall sets down and start with a different movement on each chest day. Most research suggests that muscles recovery happens after 48 to 72 hours. Doing a four day split with chest done every three or four days will maximize results and give plently of time for recovery.

    Whenever you have the chance, breaking up chest and back to where you're training half one day and the other half a couple of days later is a great idea. Who doesn't like to do chest twice a week and the back is a very large muscle group. This keeps arms and shoulders fresh for pressing movements so it's posssile to hit both sides of the chest hard. Usually, starting with mid/lower chest one day and upper another is the best way to go about this but since upper chest is the main focus here it begins both chest workouts. This is something to consider for for future training after this program.

    Importance of the Upper Chest:

    Hitting your upper chest with a variety of exercises is importmant. It's definitley noticeable when someone spends a serious amount of time on decline bench (probably because they like being able to move more weight on it) and saves incline work for later. To have a full, well developed chest it's essential that you prioritize the upper chest at some point in your training. The upper chest plays a big role in having functional strength for sports as well. Odds are that is you're doing anything requiring chest strength the upper chest is being used more than the middle or lower parts.

    You need to both develope strength and use plenty of full range movements that fill in the large upper chest area. Since this isn't always accomplished by normal training becuase of time constraints and the possibility of over training, sometimes a little prioritization is needed to create a solid, balanced physique. I have outlined a plan that will focus on the upper chest, along with assisting exercises that will help with pressing movements just as you may have seen in programs to raise your flat bench press max and overall chest size. Now it's up to you to put in the effort to get the results.
    Last edited by bigshot1109; 08-03-2009 at 06:46 PM.
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    No More Mr. Pigeon Breast

    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.

    Thousands and thousands of gym goers consider the flat bench press to be the holy grail of chest workouts, so much so that they tend to miss focusing enough on the upper chest area. Too much lower chest development and little or no upper chest development makes it a BREAST and not a CHEST. And I bet that definitely is not considered macho by any stretch of imagination. And for the girls, this is not to say that it is okay for you to be doing lower chest workouts alone. A well balanced chest is one the most beautiful parts of the body whether on a man or a woman. To achieve this, you need to place a focus on complete development and take no half measures. Being located where it is, the chest is arguably the most looked at part of the upper body - with or without a shirt. And when pumped, it is one of the most beautiful parts to display while posing.

    A powerful, firm and well developed chest can make a statement of its own. Perhaps you wish to compete on stage. Do you wish to see your chest split into four well defined regions when you hit a most muscular crab pose? Or may be when you hit a side chest pose, you do not want your chest to be almost invisible because of too little or no upper chest development. I bet you get the picture now. I am sure you want to have a chest that sticks out a good few inches, not only at the bottom, but top to bottom, and when you stand without your shirt, forms a beautiful, firm and muscular piece that gives you that athletic "square chest" look. I cannot possibly stress enough on the fact that a well defined chest adds to aesthetics. Add to that the other advantages such as better body posture, increase in strength, etc and you will soon realize that a strong chest does you more good than you can possibly think of.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger - is considered widely by many in the bodybuilding fraternity, to have had the best chest of all time. When he hit a side chest pose, his pectoral muscles bulged so far out and high, that a glass of water could rest on them. This would not have been possible, had it not been for his tremendous upper chest development. Some of the other best chests ever seen have belonged to Markus Ruhl, Ronnie Coleman and Franco Columbo. Take a look at these guys and you will probably wonder how they got so much meat in there. This beefy look is attained by concentrating on total development of the pectorals.

    Alright now. What is going to give us a chest that will span the area ranging from the lower chest, right up to the collar bone? Let us look at the workout that is going to help you have a lagging upper chest no more -

    1) Barbell Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.
    OR
    Dumbbell Incline Press - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each

    I prefer alternating between these two great mass builders every week.

    2) Smith Machine Incline Press - 1 set with light to moderate weight to failure.
    (At this point, your chest will be pumped solid and you will wonder what the all new good feeling is).

    3) Incline Bench Cable Flyes - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.
    (This ensures that there is no letting up on the intensity. Your chest at this point probably feels like it is going to explode. WOW what a rush.)

    4) Upper Chest Cable Crossovers - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each.
    (Oh man! This stuff is intense. You can literally feel the muscle being etched inside you.)


    How often should one train their upper chest?

    Though there is a school of thought that says that since the chest is a major muscle group, it can be exercised once in 48 - 72 hours, I personally do not find this the best way to go as a natural body builder. I prefer performing this routine once a week by lifting hard and heavy and allowing my chest to recoup after the battering so that I can come back in stronger the following week and crank things up a notch. Performing this sort of a routine more than once a week can lead to muscle fatigue and lead to loss of strength and development in the long run. If your aim is to build muscle mass, then I suggest you perform an intense upper chest routine once a week. If you are training for endurance and/or to lose fat, you can perform an upper chest routine once in 72 hours. But if you are training the upper chest more than twice a week, you should adjust the poundages accordingly so as to avoid injury.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?

    Most of us are able to put enough focus on our middle and lower chest areas. What we tend to ignore is the upper chest. This makes its crucial to concentrate on the upper chest area, because there is a very high probability that we might find or already have found ourselves with an under developed upper chest. Unfortunately, you find out that you have a lagging upper chest area only after you have some noticeable development in your middle/lower chest. This leads to an imbalanced chest in many of us, leaving us in the lurch, looking for a way out of this crisis. The key is to concentrate on the upper chest right from the very beginning or as soon as you possibly can, so as to ensure you have every aspect of chest training and development covered.
    Last edited by big game hunter; 08-03-2009 at 05:35 AM.
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    Focusing on flat and decline bench presses can cause the upper chest region to lag. And a lagging upper chest is sure to bring down the appearance of a strong upper body.

    Although the bench press seems to be every casual lifter's favorite exercise - that and barbell curls - if one concentrates only on certain lifts, he is sure to miss out on a lot of potential development. In order to get the best results, variation is every bit as important as intensity. The greatest growth occurs when muscles are challenged in a variety of ways, because they won't be able to find a comfort zone and adapt to the same movement week after week.

    The chest in particular is a very important area to concentrate on, as it is often where the eye is drawn first. Additionally, the pectorals are large muscles and have a lot of growth potential, so one's physique can look a whole lot better merely by improving chest musculature. And last but not least, improving the upper chest will improve strength for bodybuilding or athletic pursuits.

    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.

    The best workout for a lagging upper chest is one that provides enough stimulation to spur growth, but not overwork the area with too much volume. As I mentioned, variety should be embraced to ensure that you aren't just working the same muscles through the same motions over and over. Utilizing different exercises will also force your chest muscles to do the work, rather than relying on stabilizers to do the work for them.

    Along with variety, the routine should include a high level of intensity. The biggest growth comes when both Type I (slow twitch) and Type II (fast twitch) are activated. This doesn't happen automatically though - your muscles must be worked to fatigue, preferably using a load that will induce fatigue in 30 - 90 seconds. So how do you ensure that both types are activated? By varying the speed of your contractions. Type I fibers are more suited to endurance and slow lifts, while Type II are better suited to quick bursts of maximum effort. Incorporating both kinds of exercises is essential if you want to recruit the maximum amount of fibers and spur the most growth.

    This chest workout is intended to be used once a week, as a "weak point" day in your schedule. Preferably, you would work out your chest on another day or two (depending on your schedule) with another muscle group, while this day would be reserved for chest only. By hitting your chest multiple times per week, you will create enough volume to accelerate growth.

    **Between each set there should be some form of active recovery, such as walking or a low-impact exercise for a smaller muscle group, such as the abdominals or calves. Active recovery is not only efficient, but has been shown to improve blood circulation, help remove lactic acid from muscles, and speed recovery (1).

    CHESTACULAR WORKOUT

    Warm-Up sets: I prefer to do two warm-up sets before each exercise to make sure the proper form and range of motion are used.

    Standing Cable Chest Press: 3 x 6-10
    This is a great exercise for your pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoids. Getting out of the seated or lying position used in most chest exercises ensures that you're not merely using leverage or pushing off to move the weight.

    Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 x 6-8
    Superset with
    Triceps Pushdown: 3 x 8-12
    The Close-Grip Bench concentrates on your upper and inner chest, so this is a very good choice for picking up a lagging chest. The addition of the superset also works to exhaust your triceps, ensuring that when you are performing the Close Grip Bench Press, it is your chest, rather than your triceps, that are the prime movers.

    Decline DB Press: 3 x 6-8
    The Decline DB Press allows you to work your chest from a unique angle and adds the challenge of stability. You'd be hard-pressed to find another exercise that takes your muscles through this range of motion on this angle. Because of this, it may be just what you need to improve your lagging upper chest.

    Inclined Fly: 3 x 6-8
    Superset with
    Inclined DB Press: 3 x 10-12
    I've had a lot of success with the fly to press superset, and a bonus is that it provides great pumps. Additionally, supersetting while using two different rep ranges ensures activation of both types of muscle fibers.

    Chest Dip (bodyweight or with added weight): 3 x 6-10
    The chest dip is a powerful exercise that also works your shoulders, adding to an overall increase in the appearance of your upper body. Because of the focus on pressing motions for chest development, the chest dip can sometimes be overlooked - don't make that mistake.

    Stretching

    The importance of stretching is sadly often overlooked. Stretching should be performed before and exercise. Prior to exercise, stretching serves as a warm-up, increasing muscle temperature and thus flexibility. It also improves blood and nutrient flow to your muscles. After exercise, stretching serves important purposes as well. Keeping your body somewhat active after intense exercise prevents blood pooling and light-headedness and also helps to remove waste product from your muscle cells, such as lactic acid.

    Another important consideration is Fascia Stretching, which is a technique believed to stretch the fibers surrounding your muscles, allowing them more room to expand. Fascia stretching usually involves weights, holding them in the contracted position of an exercise. For example, to stretch your chest muscles, lie supine on a bench and hold dumbbells up above your chest with arms straightened. Next, slowly lower the weights until they are at your sides, at the beginning of a chest fly. Hold them at this position for 15-20 seconds.

    Other Exercises to Consider

    As I mentioned previously, variety is a key component to growth, so you may want to rotate in some other exercises to keep challenging your body and also to keep things fun and interesting. Here are some I've found effective:

    Barbell Pullover and Press on Stability Ball - This is a variation of this exercise, except instead of returning the barbell to the beginning position right away, you perform a bench press-like motion too. Doing this on a stability ball makes it extra intense.

    Pec Deck Fly - I like the Pec Deck because it uses the traditional fly motion but from a drastically different angle.

    Inclined Pushups - Pushups are perhaps the simplest chest exercise, but they can also be one of the most effective. You can try wide and narrow hand positioning, raising your legs, balancing on a stability ball...the possibilities are endless.

    Cable Crossovers - This is similar to the range of motion found in the Pec Deck Fly, except you're standing, which I feel makes it more effective. The flexibility of the cable also means you can make adjustments to the exact angle of pull.

    How often should one train their upper chest?

    The frequency of upper chest training, like any other body part, depends on how much of a priority that area is for you. If your upper chest is lagging, then definitely utilize the above workout on one day along with some lifts for the upper chest incorporated on other days of the week when you are working the rest of your upper body. If you are doing an advanced body-part split and already have a day devoted to chest, just adding one more day should be sufficient due to all of the individualized attention. However, if you are running a push/pull or upper/lower split, you'll probably want to incorporate upper chest exercises on two other days to make sure you're getting enough training in. But more isn't necessarily better - in order to progress, you must stimulate, not annihilate the muscles, so don't go overboard.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?

    Again, the importance of training upper chest depends on your individual goals, strengths and weaknesses. However, upper chest exercises do provide variety, and the upper chest tends to get overlooked through the excessive dependence on flat bench and other lifts. So while upper chest may not necessarily be more important than the other regions, it may be more important to ensure that you are including it, as the most popular exercises tend to ignore it to a certain extent. But the upper chest is not so vital that it should be trained at the expense of the middle and lower chest. Like anything in life, balance is best.



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    Upper Pec Development

    The chest is seen by many as the focal point of the upper body and we tend to associate a large chest with strength and power. Everyone wants shirt stretching pecs, but that is impossible without proper development of the upper chest. A well developed upper chest gives the illusion of larger pecs. The chest is broken into two muscle, the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. This is necessary knowledge, because before we can begin a routine we must have an understanding of the anatomy of the chest. The Pecs attach to the humerus by the shoulder and are on the breastbone of the chest. The muscle fibers of the Pectoralis muscles flow through the chest. The fan-like structure of the Pecs allows the humerus to move in multiple ways across the body. The Pectoralis Minor is located underneath the pectoralis major muscle, attaching to the coracoid process of the scapula and beginning in the middle rib area. Now that we have a good understanding of the chest muscles we can begin to train.


    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.

    The best workout routine for the upper pecs should focus on building size and strength of the upper pectoralis without neglecting the other areas of the chest. A combination of heavier compound movements and lighter stability movements is an ideal way to set up your chest routine. The following routine is a well developed example of this type of workout. Also, warming up the chest and rotator cuffs are imperative with chest training, especially with the focus on the upper chest. Following is a basic routine with focus on the upper chest:

    Cable Internal Rotations 3x15 (Warm-up)
    I believe you should always start any upper body routine, but particularly chest and shoulders with a rotator cuff exercise. This seems to be an area plagued by injury, mainly due to the lack of warming up.


    Incline Dumbbell Press 2x15 (Warm-up) 3x6
    I prefer dumbbells over the barbell for this primary exercise because of the contraction you can achieve with dumbbells. Also, this movement is much safer for the shoulder joint. Doing this exercise on the incline bench at a 35 degree angle works well. I like this angle because it adds variation to your workout and because it allows you to hit an area of the upper chest that people tend to neglect.


    Incline Barbell Press 3x6-8
    So now that we have the shoulders and chest full of blood we will continue to do some more pressing, now at a 45 degree angle. This is a must for overall upper pec development. I like to keep the elbows at a 90 degree angle and slowly lower the bar 2-3 inches before it touches the chest. This allows for constant strain of the pecs.


    Dumbbell Pullover 3x8
    Although this exercise does target solely the upper chest it is a classic exercise for overall chest thickness and development. Just because we are focusing on the upper chest does not mean we should ignore the middle or lower chest completely. I like to go heavy on this exercise lying parallel with the bench and keeping the elbows tucked in tight to the body. If your elbows begin to flare out you are recruiting too much of your back to help with the exercise.


    Incline Flyes with Twist 4x12
    To finish off the upper chest I like to do incline flyes with a twist. The twist at the top makes all the difference in the contraction of the upper pecs. The twist will allow for a greater contraction, forcing more blood into the muscle. On this exercise I like to do two sets at a 45 degree incline and two sets at a 35 degree incline. Again, I like this because it attacks the upper chest more aggressively.


    Stretching
    Stretching is often overlooked, but is a key fundamental for any bodybuilder. I incorporate stretching in between every set. Yes, every set. You should stretch for at least 15-20 seconds during your rest period. This will help further breakdown the muscle fiber and also help push more blood into the muscle. This also keeps the joints and muscle working properly.



    How often should one train their upper chest?
    This upper chest routine can be applied to every other chest workout. Generally I suggest training each body part once a week, but if your schedule is different just interchange this routine with your generic chest routine. I will, however, suggest that if you have a lagging upper chest you should do an incline barbell or incline dumbbell press as your first exercise during your routine. I am favorable to the dumbbells because they are easier on the shoulder and you can adjust the bench to allow more variation in your incline angle.




    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?
    There should always be a balance when a weightlifter or bodybuilder is putting together a routine. In the case that the area is lagging we need to put more emphasis on that region. Creating a large upper chest will give the body a more dominating appearance. A well developed upper chest will sit up, like a shelf. This will give the illusion of a much larger and more powerful chest. A weak upper chest allows the middle and lower pecs to sag because the upper chest is too weak to support the rest of the muscle group. Upper pec development is the key to a massive and impressive chest.
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    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific.

    When someone raises the issue of a lagging body part, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Based on my own experience training in various gyms and reading discussion forums, the upper chest is clearly at the top of the list. Serious training bodybuilders often express disappointment when assessing the state of their upper pectoral development. They may speak of great personal records on the bench press, or inner pec cred attained through crossovers and flyes, but success at developing the upper chest has thus far eluded them. No matter how hard they work on chest day, or how many pounds they rack up on bench presses, they still find that the upper area of the chest remains underdeveloped. Some claim that genetics is a significant factor in explaining why some people have difficulty filling out their chest with upper pectoral development, while others claim that the wrong exercises, training regimens, etc. are the culprit. Most people, regardless of genetics, though, can make simple yet effective changes that will let them push past their plateaus when it comes to building the upper chest.

    Although the upper chest cannot be strictly isolated, given that it is simply an area of the pectoral muscle known as the clavicular, there are exercises that can place more focus on this upper portion of the chest.

    Anyone who is needing to bring up a lagging upper chest should first and foremost focus on incorporating exercises that primarily hone in on the upper portion of the chest muscle. When I first began training, I focused strictly on simple compound movements like the bench press, often followed with a few sets of push ups to finish up a chest workout.

    Training with your back parallel to the ground, such as with regular bench presses, puts a lot of focus on the middle and lower areas of the chest. While this is important for overall development of the chest, it can lead you to neglect exercises that target the upper pectoral muscles. If the upper chest needs special attention then targeting them with a few key exercises may be just what you need. We need to alter the typical workout performed on chest day and make modifications that will help bring up the upper chest.

    Before you go and throw out key exercises like the barbell bench press, dumbell flyes, and weighted dips, let me remind you that these basic exercises are still very important, and should remain at the core of your chest training. The key is to add a few exercises that will hit the upper part of the chest while minimizing the middle and lower portions. Although the core exercises hit the chest from all angles, they do not stress the upper area more directly. We will be adding a few that should add some burn to your upper chest, and in a few short weeks of proper application, will help this lagging body part achieve equilibrium.

    As far as rep ranges, there are several things to keep in mind when deciding what range to work in. Two questions will help you determine the optimum range to build up the upper chest:

    1) What rep range has worked best for you in bringing up other muscles?

    If your body has responded best to lower reps/heavier weight then it would make sense to use this range with the following upper chest exercises. On the other hand, if higher reps/lighter weight is what you respond to best, then by all means go with that.

    2) What rep range have you recently been using in your chest routine?

    If you have been working with lower reps and moving heavier weight, or with higher reps and less weight, then it may be a good time to switch things up and provide your upper chest with a shocking change-up. For me, a change in rep range once every 4-6 weeks can make a tremendous difference in the results I see in my upper chest development.

    The important thing to remember when trying to bring up a lagging muscle, such as the upper chest, is that change can often open the door to new muscle growth. In addition to varying your rep ranges, you can employ a number of "shock techniques" that may bring the upper chest into a new realm of growth. Given the way the body is so efficient at adapting, it makes sense to devote 4-6 weeks to shocking the muscles that are lagging.

    The following are just a few ways you can give your upper chest a shock:

    Supersets - A very effective way to implement this shock technique into chest training is to perform a superset comprised of the flat bench press with
    incline dumbell flyes. Do one set of bench presses and then move directly into a set of flyes. What you are doing is combining one compound movement (bench press) with an isolation movement (flyes) into one superset.

    Dropsets - These have a well-developed reputation for plateau busting, so using them for a lagging muscle like the upper chest may be a great strategy. Dropsets involve doing as many reps with a certain weight as you can, then dropping the weight a little bit and doing as many as you can with that weight. You can continue for 4-5 sets depending on your current conditioning. Dumbell exercises are optimal for dropsets because you can employ the "down the rack" concept pretty quickly. For example, you could perform one set incline dumbell presses using 60lb dumbells; once you've done all you can, grab the 50lb. dumbells and perform as many reps as possible without resting in between. Keep dropping the weight for 4-5 sets like this and you will have successfully incorporated dropsets into your routine.

    Pyramid sets - These provide the best of both worlds, both high and low rep training, as well as heavier and lighter weights. If using pyramid sets for
    incline dumbell press, you would begin by using a weight you could handle for, say, 12-15 reps. On the next set you would add enough weight that you could handle 8-10 reps. For the third set you would select a weight that would allow you to get 4-6 reps, but not much more. Depending on how many sets of an exercise you want to do, you can adjust the rep range and weight used.

    Pre-fatiguing - I like to begin with 4-5 sets of incline flyes, at varying angles, in order to prefatigue my upper chest. Once I get that burn going, I move on to 4-5 sets of incline dumbell presses using the same angle variations as I did with flyes. At this point, my upper chest is sufficiently prefatigued, and because I used these incline movements at the beginning of the workout, I was able to use as much weight and intensity as possible. With upper chest hit hard, I will move on to the barbell bench press in order to give myself a complete chest workout that ensures all areas have been worked optimally.

    When it comes to upper chest exercises, there are four that I consider to be the absolute best and most effective, and adding in one or more would be a great way to start remedying a lagging upper chest:

    Incline DB press- This exercise often work best when performed from a variety of angles. Most incline benches in the gym can be adjusted to go from a very slight incline to an angle that is almost like a seated shoulder press position. For developing the upper chest, it is best to refrain from going beyond a 45 degree incline as this will lead to greater recruitment of the shoulder muscles. Start with an angle of 25 degrees and progress up to 45 degress with each set. (4-5 sets total)

    Low pulley cable crossovers - With two handles attached to the lower pulleys of the cable station, bend your arms slightly and maintain this bend throughout the motion of the exercise. With a motion like that used in flyes, bring your hands together to the front of your chest. Try to keep them in the area of the

    Incline DB flyes - Set the angle of the bench somewhere between 25 and 45 degrees. With two dumbells, lie on the bench with the dumbells held to the sides of your chest and your pams facing inwards and toward each other. To get the proper form down, you can imagine yourself giving a. Squeeze the chest muscles at the top of this movement for a count of two.

    Decline push ups - These are one of the most underrated exercises for developing the upper chest. You can do these almost anywhere, and they provide a great way to finish off a chest workout and make the upper chest really burn. Find a sturdy chair or table, or any solid surface that is slightly elevated (a concrete park bench works great!) and with your feet on the elevated surface, and your body declined, perform these like you would a regular push. You can also use an exercise ball instead of a solid surface, however, this brings more stabilizer muscles into the exercise.

    How often should one train their upper chest?

    Generally, the upper chest should be trained like any other muscle group, which means for most people a routine of training once every 5-7 days. The upper chest exercises should be incorporated into your overall chest training workout. All muscles require a sufficient amount of time to recover, and the chest is, in fact, one of the largest muscle groups, which means it may require more recovery time than the smaller muscle groups.

    Depending on genetics, nutrition, supplementation, and/or other factors, one may wish to use more or less frequency. This is a decision that can only come from knowing your own body, how quickly it recovers, and what works best for you as an individual. As I have pointed out, shock is often a very effective way to bring up lagging muscles and break through plateaus. Even increased training frequency, such as twice per week, could be used in this case; however, it is always imperative that the possibility of overtraining be taken seriously. Unless nutrition and supplementation are optimized, and one's individual genetics are taken into account, then training the upper chest with too much frequency could be far from beneficial. There is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to training the upper chest, or any other muscle, and all factors have to be carefully weighed when it comes to training frequency.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?

    The real key to training the chest, as with any other muscle group, is to ensure that proper balance is achieved. The development of the upper, lower, and middle part of the pectorals are essentially of equal importance. Just as you want to avoid a lagging upper chest, you also want to avoid the other areas from becoming underdeveloepd or disproportionate to the rest of the chest as a whole. If your upper chest is lagging then it will certainly require more attention; however, the lower and middle areas should in no way be neglected or minimized. Most people find that lower chest development is not an issue, and rarely does anyone feel the need to focus on this area with decline pressing movements. The main focus, therefore, should be the middle and upper section of the chest, which can be done with primary compound exercises like the bench press, as well as its variations, and the exercises specifically aimed at targeting the upper chest. When training the chest, always remember to focus on balance. Look in the mirror and make an assessment; see what seems to be lagging and what does not. Seek out the opinions of friends or gym partners and ask them for a unbiased opinion of your physique. This is the real key to spotting and fixing those lagging muscles.
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  13. #13
    Registered User jasonr1982's Avatar
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    What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific

    Incline dumbell press (full bottom stretch) - warm up, 10, 8, 6
    decline barbell press- 10, 8, 6
    cable fly's- 12, 10, 8

    That is it, and I mean it! If you try for more sets than that, than you are compromising your level of intensity, which is more important than volume OR "maxing out". In fact, leave the maxing out for the powerlifters! Another important thing to take into account is the amount of rest between sets- I see people benching pretty heavily, but they'll wait like 2-3 minutes between sets. No wonder their chest isn't growing! For the above routine, you gotta rest for exactly 60 seconds between each set- period!
    Another good tip is to make sure that triceps and shoulders are not trained too soon before chest. In fact, I like to train shoulders and triceps 2 days after chest so I have plenty of time to recover those muscles for my next chest workout. Finally, use the priority principle: Since chest all together has been my biggest weak point, I now begin my week with chest after taking the weekend off.

    How often should one train their upper chest?

    I do this routine once every 7 days. Depending on the way your body recovers, you can try for as little as 4 days, or as much as 10 days. I know that when I was training chest every 4 days, I was overtrained and not growing. In fact, I'd feel less strength each time. So I know 7 days works for me, and I think its a safe place for you to start too.

    How important is training the upper chest compared to the middle and lower chest?

    For aesthetic reasons, upper chest is the most important part of the chest for bodybuilders. Notice I don't do flat benches in my routine. Think about it: If you put all of your intensity into your upper chest exercises, then you have limited strength left for middle chest. However, the lower chest is still fresh enough to blast some heavy weight, and the contrast of upper and lower chest development is amazing! If the lower chest is exceeding the upper chest in development, it looks pretty bad. But if trained properly, this won't be an issue. The bottom line is that upper chest should be trained first in every chest workout.
    Last edited by jasonr1982; 08-12-2009 at 05:30 AM.
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  14. #14
    Infinite Goals kconnell's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jasonr1982;370257621]What is the best workout routine for a lagging upper chest? Be specific

    Current routine:
    Decline smith press- 2 sets
    Incline dumbell press (full bottom stretch, touch @ top) - 3 sets
    Incline cable flies- 13 sets

    The upper chect is usually a lagging bodypart for a lot of bodybuilders. A weak upper chest will cause you not to win a contest. Not that I compete, but that is a specific part, along with calves and abdominals that judges key in on.

    I, like others do not do much flat movements. For one, my chest and back both get a pump rather easy. I don't have the hard-line at the bottom, like Arnold, Franco, etc. Speaking of arnold, I've seen a picture of hom in a side-chest shot where he actually had a small box or other object resting flat on his upper chest - it was that developed! On all chest exercises, it is not a strictly power movement. By that, I mean that you shouldn't concentrate on pushing as mush weight as possible. What do the pecs do? They cause the humerus (upper arm) to be brought toward the center of your body. Since the pecs are a fan-shaped muscle, you can bring them to the lower, middle, or upper to affect more of an area, so it takes different angles to work those areas. Do NOT lock out at the top because you actually let your chest rest if you do - instead, concentrate on the squeezing of the pecs together.

    I start with declines for my chest, but then go to incline dumbbells. Why dumbbells? you get a better strech, which allows more contractile power, then you also have a more natural movement which allows for your concentration to work better. Last, I do incline cable flyes inside a cable crossover. Pump it up!
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