If you want to bulk up your pectorals, you’re probably already bench pressing: It’s one of the most common chest workouts, if not the most popular. Try the incline bench press if the top part of your chest doesn’t get as much attention — or if the conventional bench press causes pain.
“When you do an exercise from a different angle, the muscles are recruited differently,” says Steven Head, owner of Headstrong Fitness in Centreville, VA. The incline press, on the other hand, does more than merely work the upper chest: Lifters, including Head, claim it can assist alleviate the shoulder pain that comes with a flat bench press.
This article will teach you all you need to know about doing the incline bench press correctly, including how to set the bench’s height and avoid injury.
What is the definition of an incline bench press?
An incline bench press is a horizontal pressing exercise in which the exerciser presses a barbell or dumbbells away from the chest while seated on a sloping bench with the head and torso at an angle above parallel to the floor.
What muscles are targeted by the incline bench press?
The pectoralis major (chest muscles), triceps, and anterior deltoid muscles are the most involved (front of your shoulder). You’ll also use your core to stabilize your body, as well as your upper trapezius muscles (sometimes known as “shrugging” muscles).
Is it true that the incline bench press strengthens the shoulders?
Yes, but that isn’t the primary purpose. The clavicular head of the pectoral muscles is what most individuals aim to target when they do an incline bench press. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine in May 2013, the incline bench press works the shoulders more than the flat bench press.
What is the optimum angle for hitting the upper chest with an incline bench press?
According to research, the correct angle for the Incline DB Bench Press to target the upper chest is 30 degrees from flat.
Although 30 degrees may appear to be a minor angle, it is ideal incline bench press form for stressing your upper pecs while limiting the influence on your anterior deltoid muscles.
When executing this chest exercise, many people will begin by standing far too upright in the initial position, effectively striking their shoulders too hard.
If you consider that a completely vertical benching position (90 degrees elevated) would primarily target your shoulders, and that a completely flat benching position at 0 degrees would primarily target your middle chest, you can see that you’ll need to lower the bench quite a bit before it reaches your upper pecs.
How to perform incline bench presses properly
Gravity helps to place the shoulder blades back and down with the 30 degree angle on the bench, but you can’t only rely on the bench to get you there.
To guarantee that this happens, you must actively contract your shoulder blades. Squeezing the shoulder blades makes it much easier for the chest to be in a powerful position, which increases the Incline Bench Press’s contribution.
This will result in increased chest muscular growth, particularly in the upper chest, over time.
4 Incline Bench Press Muscles Worked and Benefits
1. It focuses on the chest muscles.
The pectoralis major, or chest muscle, has two major fiber groups, or heads: the sternocostal head (lower chest) is the major contracting muscle in a normal, flat bench press.
The pectoralis major’s clavicular head (upper chest) joins to the collarbone, or clavicle. Lifting your upper arm is one of its primary tasks. The upper chest would be used to lift a glass for a toast, according to the National Institutes of Health. An incline press provides the most benefit to this area of the chest.
2. Is a Compound Movement Possible
In contrast to single-joint activities (such as the dumbbell curl), compound movements like the incline bench press work many muscles and joints at the same time. Compound exercises save time in the gym because they work multiple muscles at the same time.
Lifting bigger weights — which compound exercises allow you to do — improves short-term testosterone production, which helps your muscles expand, making your workout more effective.
Furthermore, the more major muscles you exercise at the same time, the greater your heart rate will be. It’s a simple method to make your strength-training routine more aerobic.
3. It’s possible to be gentler on the shoulders.
“For whatever reason, the flat bench has never appealed to my shoulder,” Head explains. And he’s not the only one: The bench press is the most common activity leading to pectoralis major ruptures, according to a review published in the British Medical Journal Open Sport and Exercise Medicine in July 2018.
It’s also linked to other injuries, such as an overuse injury called “bench presser’s shoulder,” which affects the rotator cuff.
If flat bench presses or overhead presses irritate your shoulders, an incline bench press can be a good compromise. It works the anterior deltoid more than flat bench pressing, so it gives you some shoulder work without the shoulder pain you’d get from a flat bench or an overhead press.
4. Is it simple to change
Try the incline press with a pair of dumbbells or on a Smith machine if your gym doesn’t have an incline bench or if using a barbell causes shoulder strain.
Try a neutral grip if you don’t like the way dumbbells feel on your shoulders while incline pressing with an overhand grip (hands facing each other).
Do an isometric alternating dumbbell incline press with both dumbbells overhead, lowering the right one, pressing it back up, then lowering the left one.
What angle is incline bench: Review
- An incline bench press with free weights should be done at a 30 degree angle. This allows additional strain on the pectoralis major’s clavcular fibres, as well as involvement of the anterior deltoid and triceps brachii. This exercise can be done on a conventional incline bench with a de-facto angle of 25 degrees.
- Personally, I prefer to keep it about 45 degrees. However, this isn’t a definitive answer. Most likely, the correct response is to vary it!! For the growth of any muscle group, you shouldn’t stick to one position or one activity. You shouldn’t become locked on one aspect because it will stifle your advancement.
- However, you did state “incline bench,” so there is a distinction between when a flat bench becomes an incline bench and when a shoulder press becomes a flat bench. I’d guess that an incline bench can be anything from 15 degrees to 60 degrees.
F.A.Q what angle is incline bench:
Should incline bench be 30 or 45 degrees?
“The data show that a 30° incline bench angle is more helpful than a 45° incline bench angle because 30° resulted in great lower pectoralis activation but 45° resulted in the same upper pectoralis activation,” the researchers write.
What is the proper angle for incline bench press?
Make sure the inclination of the bench is between 15 and 30 degrees. Anything above 30 degrees primarily engages the anterior deltoids (shoulders). Your grip should be at a 90-degree angle between your elbows.
What angle is best for incline dumbbell press?
According to research, the best angle for engaging your upper chest muscles is between 30 and 45 degrees. You’ll note that the attention is mostly on your shoulders if you execute an exercise with a 90-degree angle, which is effectively sitting upright.
I hope you find these dumbbell Incline Bench Press exercise tips to be useful.
Remember, the goal here is to reintroduce science into strength training. When it comes to strength and muscle building, I prefer to explain WHY certain exercises are beneficial and how to get the most out of them so you may achieve better results faster when you follow our program.
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