Heavy incline barbell presses are a well-known chest-builder, but they can be dangerous if you are training alone. Done in the Smith machine, they will hit your upper pecs through a full range of motion with less risk of injury. You can work in some partials to train weaker parts of the movement. Finish off with a set of incline presses with a huge drop set, removing plates and getting right back under the bar each time you hit failure. This technique flushes the muscle with blood and takes you well past failure. Partials and drops on the incline Smith should help your chest a great deal.
1) Start off by adjusting the seat of the machine so that the handles are aligned with the lower portion of your chest and your back is rested upon the resting pad, as this will be your starting position.
2) Slowly press the handles until your hands are fully extended and you feel a stretch in your chest muscles, making sure not to lock your elbows.
3) Hold this position for a count then return to the starting position.
4) Repeat for reps.
The theory makes sense, performing a bench press or military press on a Swiss ball should engage more of the stabilising muscles of your core. In reality, though this isn’t the case. A study released by the Human Performance Laboratory at California State University, suggests that abdominal muscle activation during a three-rep max chest press and shoulder press was similar whether performed on a Swiss ball or on a flat bench. Performing these lifts on a Swiss ball does have some benefit, however. It’s just not in developing core strength. Those lifts work the stabilising muscles of the shoulder, not the core. If you were to use the Swiss ball for that purpose it would have to be somewhere in the range of 15 to 25 repetitions with low weights.
Basic lifts on a stable surface, provide a better overall stimulus. A heavy squat, deadlift or military press is always going to be more effective at activating the core than any Swiss ball lift.