Incline vs. Flat Bench Press

S

SixTwoSix

Guest
A buddy of mine who plays football was telling me today that incline bench press is far superior to flat in terms of building chest muscles, and that flat was mostly an ego booster. Is he right?
 
I don't care about building chest muscles.
 
Incline is more humbling. But the problem is that different incline benches have different angles. If your goal is:

BB alternate incline and flat on chest days, and finsih up with dumbell incline flys or cable crossovers, use the pec deck to put on the finishing touch, and be sure to consciously pump your pecs on every rep

strength Bench Press with good form is excellent, but generally overdone, for variety try (weighted) dips, (weighted) push-ups), also try OHP and finish your last reps with a couple of push presses. diamond push-ups, and dive bomber (SEAL) push-ups are especially challenging.

^to get a strong chest you need a strong back

as some point of reference, I can do the following
flat bench 225 for 5 - 8, 1_RM 275
incline bench 185 for 5 - 8, 1_RM 225
OHP 155 for 3 - 5, 1_RM 185
BW Dips, 50 max, 35 on any given day
Weighted dips, 135 for 3 - 5, 1_RM +170
Push-ups, 55 max, 35 on any given day

if your trying to break a plateau, check your basics, and if all else fails swap exercises or give yourself more rest days
 
Your friend may be right, in that stressing the muscle from the incline position is much more similar to standing in front of another footballer with a titled torso and pushing, than a flat bench. However, for the purpose of football, I would imagine that there are other exercises available to him to help with that particular function.

In the bodybuilding world, the incline press is somewhat surprisingly considered BETTER than the flat bench for developing chest muscularity than the flat bench. Ego refers more to then intention of the trainee than the exercise itself, since the bench press/incline press don't perform themselves. The trainee does.

I would say that there is no hard and fast rule with regards to physical prowess or development. Try both.

In my opinion, I feel one of the best pectoral strengtheners and developers are the Weighted Pushup and the Dip (Parallel or V-bar, with weight or without), in that both motions are closed-chain movements that require the body to move against resistance, as opposed to resistance moving toward and away from the body. However, it is not my intention to suggest that any exercises is superior over the other. What works best for you will determine that. Try both, or consult a recognized sports scientist/kinesiologist.
 
What's up with all the qualified posters recently?
 
A buddy of mine who plays football was telling me today that incline bench press is far superior to flat in terms of building chest muscles, and that flat was mostly an ego booster. Is he right?

Incline benching focuses as much on the shoulders and triceps as it does on the chest muscles.

Flat benching focuses more on the chest muscles than it does on the shoulders and triceps.

The body is mechanically inclined to push out and down. That's why you can usually decline bench more than you flat bench, flat bench more than you incline bench and incline bench more than you seated shoulder press.

Stay Strong,
Sean Katterle
Hardcore Powerlifting
 
Incline benching focuses as much on the shoulders and triceps as it does on the chest muscles.

Flat benching focuses more on the chest muscles than it does on the shoulders and triceps.

The body is mechanically inclined to push out and down. That's why you can usually decline bench more than you flat bench, flat bench more than you incline bench and incline bench more than you seated shoulder press.

Stay Strong,
Sean Katterle
Hardcore Powerlifting

That makes perfect sense.

What about Decline benching? Does it focus even more on the chest?
 
That makes perfect sense.

What about Decline benching? Does it focus even more on the chest?

I would assume so. I might start cycling between incline, decline, and flat bench press, sound like a good idea?
 
Incline benching focuses as much on the shoulders and triceps as it does on the chest muscles.

Flat benching focuses more on the chest muscles than it does on the shoulders and triceps.

The body is mechanically inclined to push out and down. That's why you can usually decline bench more than you flat bench, flat bench more than you incline bench and incline bench more than you seated shoulder press.

Stay Strong,
Sean Katterle
Hardcore Powerlifting

Just so I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying that incline focuses on chest less than flat, but on shoulders and triceps more? Or that incline focuses on chest as well as flat but also focuses more on shoulders and triceps?
 
Pressing with dumbells on an inclined bench is one of the best upper body excersizes there is, especially for sports. I don't even bother with the normal bench unless I want to see what my max is once in a while. Military presses, inclined presses and declined presses (all with dumbells, barbell hurts my shoulder ever since I tore my labrum a few years ago, can"t do dips either because of this) combined in the same workout have put a good amount of muscle on my shoulders and chest and increased my overall upper body strength.
 
That makes perfect sense.

What about Decline benching? Does it focus even more on the chest?


Decline benching puts you in the best position to press the hardest and therefore allows you to use the most weight. It's also a smaller range of motion than flat benching which also allows you to move more weight.

Does decline make you stronger faster than flat benching? Not neccesarily but it is great for preparing your CNS and muscles to handle bigger weights. I usually decline a certain weight before I'm able to flat bench a certain weight.
 
I would assume so. I might start cycling between incline, decline, and flat bench press, sound like a good idea?

You should always flat bench and then cycle your assistance work (decline, incline and close grip flat.)

Some people who have a high recovery ability start out with decline (and the heaviest weight) then lower the weight and work flat and then lower the weight and work incline.

Some people start out with incline and then when the weight gets too heavy go to flat with the same weight and then when that gets too heavy go to decline with the same weight (don't overtrain though with too many sets.)

Stay Strong,
Sean
Hardcore Powerlifting
 
Back
Top