I think you’ll agree with me that it can be difficult to decide between an Incline bench press and a Decline bench press. Every time I hit the gym I’m perplexed as to which would be beneficial for me.
And so many other questions pop up. Incline and decline bench press is a long debated topic by millions of fitness enthusiasts.
Bench pressing is a great exercise to build overall upper/mid body strength and getting great gains when it comes to tone and other attributes.
In this post, we’ll discuss if there are significant differences between incline and decline flat benches.
We’ll also get into the nitty-gritty of bench pressing and how it can help build a sculpted chest area and an overall physique.
If you decline press, does it mean that you can ignore incline press completely?
Well, the short answer is no.
So what is Incline and Decline Bench Press?
There are many exercises when involved with a bench, you can either do bench presses or bench flys, both of which involve different muscle groups.
Rogue have an impressive array of adjustable benches that are built solid. They are modern, stable and straightforward pieces of equipment. Constructed from high-quality durable materials, they require little to no assembly. What’s better is that they have them at several prices. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
A solid offering by Rogue Fitness for the price, the Adjustable Bench 2.0 is one of the most popular benches in the Rogue stable. It has 6 incline positions ranging from 0 – 85 degrees. Another important thing to note is that there is virtually no gap between the seat and the back pad. This gap definitely causes discomfort to a lot of users. There are 2 settings for the seat to further accentuate the customizability of the bench.
The AB-2 is a versatile bench that has a mind-boggling 50 combinations of seat and backrest adjustments available. Built with 11-gauge steel, it is a robust and a proven performer when it comes to handling heavy loads. As is usual with Rogue products, it has zero flex and reeks of quality craftsmanship. It has rubber feet which improve stability and grip. It is a direct port of the Nebula 1080 Utility Bench.
The top of the shelf offering when it comes to benches from Rogue, the AB-3 range of benches also feature a decline setting. Built to the highest specification currently available in Rogue, these benches are maneuverable as well as durable. It comes with 6 adjustable seat settings along with 9 adjustable back pad settings. To add to that – you can customize it to the brim and the add-ons are not that expensive.
Decline and incline bench press angle both help with the development of the chest area. Incline press focuses on the top of the pectorals to give you a massive appearance. Decline press gives you a definitive lower chest.
Here, we are going to check out how both disciplines are going to help you with building a better chest and an upper body.
Let’s start with a look at incline bench vs flat bench:
When it comes to bench pressing, most people only concentrate on flat bench press exercise. And this is fine if you just want an average looking body. But if you want a great looking physique with a toned chest then you might have to look at working out your chest area properly and with adequate exercises both with incline and decline bench press procedures. There are a lot of differences between incline bench press muscles worked.
If you’ve never set foot inside a gym before, I would start you off circuit training. Which means hitting all the muscles in your body by going through all the basic compound exercise machines. But once you’ve been at it for a month, I would definitely recommend that you include incline and decline presses in your chest day workouts.
Total chest development depends a lot on how well you’re able to train. This means approaching your chest training from as many angles as possible – which is where incline and decline presses come into the picture.
While they are different schools of thought, leaning forward dips and bench press are good for your chest. The difference is while dips do work the chest, they also are harder on your delts and triceps. There are also chances of executing the dip movement wrongly, which can lead to serious problems like shoulder injuries.
Also, some people who are beginners or who lack the requisite upper body strength may not be able to perform dips properly or effectively. So, in these cases, a bench press is your go-to starting equipment for building a proper chest.
There are more than a few errors in workout form that can affect how well you are able to incline or decline bench press. You’ll find it’s even more so than regular flat bench press since the angles are different and hence the chances for lapses in form are increased. Here are a few common incline and decline press mistakes.
While there have been times when I’ve gone without spotters for flat bench sessions, I make it a point to always have a spotter during angled presses. The reason is that there are more chances of things going wrong as you increase/decrease your press angles.
Optimal incline and decline angle is about 30 degrees as this is proven to give you optimal muscle growth. There may be people who increase the angles to about 45 degrees or more which will not give you an optimal chest workout and in some cases, might even be harmful to you.
A lot of people make the same mistake as loading the same amount of weights they are comfortable with a flat bench. This can be dangerous as the incline/decline angle mean pushing weight off your chest can be difficult and increased loads can be problematic to press.
People are confused with full-motion when it comes to incline or decline presses. A lot of people tend to think that locking out is a good thing to do when it comes to these types of presses. But this is not true – locking out transfers stress to your joint and takes tension off your chest. But remember to press firmly and stop just before you lock out your elbows.
Since chest workouts involve a lot of auxiliary muscle groups, namely the delts and triceps, remember to keep them away from each other for a 2-day minimum. You’ll find that you get better gains on your chest, triceps, and deltoids.
Just like decline bench press, what this does is give you a different angle of movement. This forces your body to adapt and gain strength in the specific chest area. This is important as this is an angle of exercise which is seldom seen in other modes of exercise and hence is necessary to focus when you are getting into chest exercises for the day.
Let’s take a look at how each type of exercise help you out when it comes to building your body:
Flat presses are when the bench is parallel to the floor and is one of the most usually practiced exercises in the gym for building a strong upper body. It is one of the most popular chest development exercises for good reason, it focuses a lot on the correct form and you need power to execute it correctly. This exercise also works the triceps, delts, forearms, chest area thoroughly. So flat bench presses are an integral part of your chest development routine.
Why would people change the angle?
And does it offer optimal benefits when compared to the default flat bench press method?
Well, when you work out at an angle that is different your body is forced to adapt and change its muscle development to work out different parts of the body and in this case, the chest. And to answer the second question, yes. It does offer many tangible benefits when compared to just bench pressing flat for any measure of time.
The position of the body during incline bench press machine develops the upper chest area and makes the upper pectorals work much harder than having it flat. This means that people who are looking to get a well-developed upper chest area should concentrate more on inclined bench press rather than just flat bench press set. When you consider incline vs flat
Decline chest presses are recommended for developing the lower chest area and giving your chest that complete look when it comes to building your pectorals. You need to note that you can either work this out with barbells or dumbbells as and when your situation demands it.
Why don’t we look at some benefits that decline and incline bench press methods can give you which flat bench presses cannot.
When you bench press on a flat bench, there are a lot of muscle groups involved that really shouldn’t be in the mix like shoulders for example. Bench press rack takes your shoulders completely out of the equation and focuses more on your chest area.
Bench pressing involves a lot of compound movements, all which work together to develop your chest and upper body area completely
The only way to truly isolate your chest muscles is when you incline or decline your bench. Since the body is not used to this awkward angle, the chest works completely to keep the bar in balance giving you a more thorough workout.
The change in angle can stimulate your muscle fibers and give you the ability to lift even more weight in the long run. Everybody who has a chest day, will definitely prefer bench press for the advantages.
Using an incline bench is an excellent way to develop the shoulders and upper back muscles. Remember to keep your arms at about the same level as your shoulders while you squeeze your shoulder blades together. This will help you get the most out of your workout while protecting your back.
It has been found that angling your bench press can give your body more advantages when it comes to muscle activation. This basically means that you get more for the same amount of effort.
Most bodybuilders stress on the fact that for complete development of the chest area, you need to work all parts of the pectorals. Building more muscle mass is one of the distinct benefits of the Incline bench.
Most times during exercises, you will find that you have hit a plateau because you are just rinsing and repeating the same exercises over and over. What you need to do is change it up for more benefits.
You will find that you need to keep your focus when you switch over from flat bench presses to this kind of exercises. This is because totally different muscle groups are involved between both which makes you concentrate harder.
Switching over to new exercises creates new demands of your body, to which it will adapt. Different positions during bench presses force your body in new situations and hence improving balance.
Incorporating decline bench press with weights and bar into your muscle building routine can greatly enhance your lower pectoral development which helps augment the total strength of your chest.
Adding additional movements like these gives your chest better definition and widens it. This enhances your physique to be aesthetic.
When you bench press with weights and bar, you hit a lot of muscle groups that are normally dormant. This enhances your total upper body.
When you get incorporate presses into your repertoire, your chest will begin to resemble classic bodybuilding proportions which looks aesthetically pleasing.
Since you are working out all areas of the chest when you perform these presses, for the same amount of work you’ll find that you are fatigued less, which is a great news for regular gym goers.
Incline and decline bench presses can give you total upper body muscle strength because the body is not used to these angles and so works harder to lift the bar.
When you substitute dumbbells with barbells, it totally changes your workout and provides more isolation and increased workout on your stabilizer groups.
There are a few pointers that you might need to be aware of before you start pounding at those benches. These are general tips that any gym trainer will tell you and I’m sharing this because people who have their own home garage gyms might get some idea about this.
First things first, you need an appropriate bench to start this off:
You should take care that it has sure footing before you start off as any mishaps during presses, especially decline, can be dangerous. Also, it would be good to have your own spotter, especially if you’re just starting out.
The mechanics are quite similar to the bench press, in that you move weight from your chest to full extension of your arms. What differs here is the angle at which your arms are in relation to your chest.
You need to make sure that the bar is at your chest level before you lift it. Bring it down to your sternum and then push explosively till you lock your arms out. Repeat for 8 – 10 reps.
Ideally, you should have between 45 – 60 degrees during incline bench press or decline. But to kick it off, you might do well to keep it to 30 degrees and then work your way up to it when you are comfortable.
60 is the absolute max I would go, because beyond that you aren’t doing much for your chest anyways and it will only be exerting your arms/shoulders and not to mention stressing your back. Once you’ve been at it (30 degrees) for a period of time, then you can move to greater angles according to the equipment that you have access to.
Now that you know about what advantages decline or incline bench presses offer you, it’s time that you took advantage of it as well at your local or garage gym.
Just remember to load up on lesser weights until your body gets used to the new position and posture. This will ensure minimal risk of injury and unintended consequences when you start on this new regime.
What does decline bench work in your body and how is it different from incline bench presses? Did it work out just like you wanted it to? Write to us in the comments below.
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