The incline bench press is the best exercise to shape your chest because it develops the mass and strength of the:
- Pectoral muscles (upper and middle region of your chest which will give a square-cut appearance with a vertical drop), and
- Anterior (front) deltoids. The lower chest is naturally more responsive to growth.
As you’d learn during your study of personal training, men who train their lower chests only will have ‘man boobs’, even if they do not have any breast tissue or fat on their chest. The incline angle of this exercise focuses on the upper pectoralis muscle (also known as the Pectoralis major muscle).
A lot of men in the gym do the incline bench press most of the time. However, the problem with doing the incline barbell bench press regularly is that it targets a lot of the anterior deltoids of the shoulders as does doing the incline bench press with dumbbells. (Performing this exercise with dumbbells will have a greater stretch at the downward movement and a better contraction at the upward movement – especially if you bring the dumbbells in towards one another at the top. This will also isolate the pectoralis muscle.)
How to have the best technique to get the most out of the incline bench press:
- Place the bench on 30 to 45 degrees.
- Lean back on the bench, with your five points of contact secured. This means your feet should be flat on the floor giving you a good base. Your bum, back and head should all be flat against on the bench.
- Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Raise the bar off the rack and start in the upward position (arms extended above your head with elbows locked). Alternatively, take the dumbbells from the floor towards your chest or let a spotter hand you the dumbbells.
- Now you can lower the bar or dumbbells slowly down to the top part of your chest. Pause for a moment and do not let the bar bounce off your chest. Press it back up to the starting position. Inhale on your way down toward the upper chest and exhale on the way back up. Make sure you do not lower the bar or dumbbells down to your nipples as this position is too low.
- Keep your wrists straight and your elbows beneath your wrist with your arms always tucked at a 45-degree angle. It’s very important to stay focused.
Always use a spotter when doing this exercise, especially when you are planning on working with heavy weights.
If you enjoyed learning about the incline bench press, why not sign up for Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Personal Training Certification and learn about other execises that will help to build your body. Find out more by following this link.