How to Incline Bench Press Correctly and Safely
INTRODUCTION: INCLINE BENCH PRESS VS BENCH PRESS
Who doesn’t enjoy performing the bench press? It is probably the most popular exercise in gyms across the world. Unfortunately, excessive use of the traditional barbell Bench Press can lead to repetitive use injury, especially in the shoulder and elbows. That’s why it’s important to perform different variations of these key movements. The Incline Bench Press allows you to change the angle of the exercise to target the same muscle groups in a different way.
The Incline Bench combines the Traditional Bench Press and the Overhead Press. It strengthens the upper and mid chest more than the flat Press and requires more activation of your shoulders. Because of the angle, you are less likely to injure your anterior shoulders when performing this exercise. It is a good idea to include both exercises in your program, or at least include the Incline Bench in your rotation of exercises.
INCLINE BENCH PRESS FORM VIDEO
BENEFITS OF THE INCLINE BENCH PRESS
Strengthens the upper and mid chest muscles more than the traditional bench press
Provides a new variation to the bench press, allowing you to continue strengthening the press pattern while decreasing the risk of overuse injuries
Teaches how to maintain a stable shoulder position for everyday movements
MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE INCLINE BENCH PRESS
Upper and Mid Chest
WHAT'S THE BEST ANGLE FOR THE INCLINE BENCH PRESS?
The lower the Incline, the more the movement resembles the traditional Bench Press, while the higher the Incline, the more it resembles an Overhead Press.
High inclines will train the shoulders and upper pec muscles more, making the movement more difficult.
A good place to start is roughly at the halfway mark between the two exercises or 30-45 degrees.
PERFORMING THE INCLINE BENCH PRESS WITH PROPER TECHNIQUE
Approach an Incline bench press rack that has a barbell set at a comfortable rack height
The Incline should be set at 30-45 degrees
Retract and squeeze your scapulae together when laying on the bench. Maintain this retracted position throughout the entire lift. This is where most people perform the movement incorrectly.
Set your grip at a distance that is wider than shoulder width. Keep your pinky fingers within the rings marked on the barbell
Always wrap your thumbs completely around the bar
Place your feet flat on the floor, directly under your knees, and point your feet straight or angled out up to 45-degrees
Un-rack the bar and bring the bar directly out over your clavicles
Begin lowering the bar by TUCKING your elbows at a 45-degree angle. DO NOT flare them out.
Touch the bar to your upper chest just below the clavicles and pause for a fraction of a second
Reverse the movement by simultaneously contracting your glutes (without elevating your butt off the bench) driving your feet into the ground, and pressing the weight up and slightly back towards your face
Continue to press until your elbows have locked out and the bar is back in the starting position
Ensure that your scapulae remain retracted the entire time
Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions
SUMMARY OF THE INCLINE BENCH PRESS TECHNIQUE
Click on each blue circle to view the key technical aspects of this exercise
BENCHING WITH A FLAT BACK
This is simply a technical issue
Begin by retracting your scapula while setting up and maintain this position
Not performing this crucial step puts your shoulders in an unstable position
FLARING THE ELBOWS ON THE DESCENT
This is also a technical issue
Tuck your elbows to about a 45-degree angle while descending
Flaring your elbows places a lot of stress on your pectoralis tendon and shoulder capsule
NOT PERFORMING A FULL RANGE OF MOTION
People often perform half-reps because they mistakenly believe that a complete range of motion is bad for the shoulders
If you maintain your scapulae retracted, your shoulders are in a stable un-compromised position
INTEGRATING THIS EXERCISE INTO YOUR ROUTINE
Want to know how to use this exercise in your workout? Check out The Best Workout Template For Busy Individuals to learn how to integrate it into your training!