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How to do incline bench press: Forms, Variations and Proper Techniques

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Stepping into the gym, you’re hit with the clang of weights and the pumped-up vibe from determined athletes. Your gaze locks onto the incline bench – the weapon of choice for sculpting that upper body finesse. Nailing the incline bench press is a whole new ball game. Those basic steps? Just the warm-up.

Now, you’re thinking: What’s the sweet spot for the incline angle to hit those muscles just right? Are there any cool variations for different fitness levels? Well, buckle up because we’re about to dive into the world of incline bench pressing together!

Ready to buff up that upper body and define those muscles? Let’s rock the incline bench press!

 

What is an Inclined Bench Press?

The incline bench press stands out as a widely embraced strength training exercise, placing emphasis on key torso muscles like the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Distinguishing itself from the conventional bench press, this variant involves executing the movement on an inclined bench, typically set at an angle ranging from 30 to 45 degrees. This adjustment in angle specifically directs attention to the upper chest and shoulders, rendering the incline bench press an exceptionally potent exercise for fostering muscle growth, strength development, and sculpting definition in the upper pecs.

 

What are Incline Angles for Bench Press?

Experimenting with different incline angles can further diversify your workout routine:

Incline Bench Press Angle

1. Low Incline (15 degrees):

2. Moderate Incline (30 degrees):

3. High Incline (45 degrees):

  • Emphasises the upper chest while engaging the shoulders.
  • Suitable for those seeking a balance between strength and hypertrophy.
  • Targets the mid-upper chest, contributing to a well-rounded development.
  • A versatile option for varying training intensities.
  • Places greater emphasis on the anterior deltoids.
  • Ideal for isolating specific muscle groups for targeted growth.

 

How to do an Inclined Bench Press?

The inclined Bench Press is a powerful exercise for targeting the upper body, but correct form is essential for safety and effectiveness. If you are unsure about your technique or would like personalised guidance, consider consulting with a fitness professional or a personal trainer to ensure you perform the exercise correctly and safely.

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Set up the equipment: Adjust the incline bench to your desired angle, typically between 30 to 45 degrees. Ensure the flat bench is stable and secure.
  2. Lie down on the bench: Lay back on the bench with your head, upper back, and glutes in contact with the bench. Root your feet into the floor to establish a stable base.
  3. Grasp the barbell: Reach up and grip the barbell with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Position your palms forward, aligning your hands with your shoulders.
  4. Unrack the barbell: Lift the weight off the rack or have a spotter help you. Hold the bar until your arms are fully extended over your upper chest, maintaining control.
  5. Lower the barbell: Inhale and slowly lower the bar until it touches your chest on the base of the sternum. Keep your elbows at a comfortable angle, slightly flared out.
  6. Press the barbell upwards: Exhale and push the bar back up using your chest, shoulders, and back of upper arm muscles. Fully extend your arms without locking out your elbows, emphasising control and stability.
  7. Repeat the movement: Complete and slightly higher rep range, focusing on engaging your shoulder blades throughout the exercise while maintaining a steady and controlled pace.
  8. Rack the barbell: After completing your set, guide the bar back to the rack or enlist the help of a spotter. Ensure secure racking before releasing your grip for a safe conclusion to the exercise.

 

What are Incline Bench Press Variations?

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The barbell incline bench press is a great and effective exercise that specifically targets your upper chest, offering a range of benefits for comprehensive upper torso development. Adjusting the bench to an incline of around 30 to 45 degrees, this variation emphasises the upper pectoral muscles, contributing to a well-defined and balanced chest. This compound movement not only promotes strength gains but also provides a variation to the traditional flat bench press, ensuring diverse muscle stimulation.

  • Sets: 3-5
  • Repetitions: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell incline press involves a similar motion to the barbell version, but instead of using a barbell, you use dumbbells. This variation provides a greater range of motion and allows for each arm to move independently, which can help to address muscle imbalances and improve overall symmetry. Additionally, the exercise activates stabilising muscles more effectively than the gym bar version. The incline dumbbell press emerges as a potent workout, facilitating the development of strength and muscle size in the upper pecs and shoulders, leveraging the unique advantages provided by a pair of dumbbells.

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Repetitions: 10-15
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Smith Machine Incline Bench Press

Smith Machine Incline Bench Press

The Smith machine incline bench press is a variation of the bench press where you use a guided bar on an inclined bench. It’s great for people who need extra support or have trouble stabilising a free barbell. However, it’s important to note that this variation does limit the natural range of motion compared to free weights, which may not engage stabilising muscles as effectively. Nonetheless, it still provides stability and controlled movement, making it suitable for individuals who need additional support or those focusing on isolation exercises.

  • Sets: 3-5
  • Repetitions: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Always prioritise perfect form and control, and ensure that you’re using a weight that allows you to maintain good technique throughout the exercise. If you’re new to these exercises or weightlifting in general, seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional to ensure safety and effectiveness.

 

Close Grip Incline Bench Press

Close Grip Incline Bench Press

The close grip incline bench press is a variation of the regular bench press where the hands are positioned closer together on the bar, usually inside shoulder width. This hand placement shifts the emphasis to the triceps, making it an excellent exercise for developing these muscles. While it still engages the chest and shoulders, the close grip places greater stress on the back of the arm muscles. This makes it a valuable addition to a workout routine that aims to target different areas of the upper portion of the body. By incorporating this chest press exercise, one can work towards developing a balanced and well-proportioned physique.

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Repetitions: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Wide Grip Incline Bench Press

Wide Grip Incline Bench Press

The wide grip incline bench press is a variation where the hands are placed on the weight bar wider than shoulder width. This exercise mainly targets the outer chest muscles, giving emphasis on the sternal head of the pectoralis major. The wider grip or hand placement also engages the shoulders and triceps, resulting in a complete upper-body workout. Adding this variation to your routine can help you develop a broader chest appearance and improve overall upper-body strength.

  • Sets: 3-5
  • Repetitions: 8-12
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Incline Neutral Grip Bench Press

Incline Neutral Grip Bench Press

During the incline neutral grip bench press, the palms of your hands face each other while you press. This grip puts more emphasis on the inner chest and can be less stressful on the shoulders compared to a standard overhand grip. Additionally, the neutral grip also engages the triceps and shoulders, leading to a well-rounded upper pec development. This variation is a good option for people who may experience discomfort with a pronated grip and want to target their chest with a different hand position.

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Repetitions: 10-15
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Take the next step in your fitness journey!

Experience a transformative difference in your bench press by determining the amount of weight you can lift under expert guidance. Act now and redefine your strength training journey with precision and expertise!

 

Incline Band Resistance Bench Press

Incline Band Resistance Bench Press

Integrating resistance bands into the incline bench press can take your workout to the next level. The bands create an additional challenge by increasing resistance as they stretch, contributing to muscle activation throughout the entire range of motion. This variation is particularly beneficial during the lifting phase, promoting continuous strength gains. It’s a great option for anyone looking to add some variety to their workout routine while also experiencing the benefits of progressive resistance.

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Repetitions: 10-12
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Incline Single-Arm Dumbbell Press

Incline Single-Arm Dumbbell Press

The incline single-arm dumbbell press is a weightlifting exercise that involves lifting one dumbbell at a time while lying on an inclined bench. This movement focuses on one side of the body at a time, which promotes balanced muscle development and addresses any strength and size differences between the left and right sides. It also engages the core muscles for stability and puts additional demand on the stabilising muscles. By incorporating this variation into your workout routine, you can improve your functional strength overall. This exercise can be particularly useful for individuals who are focusing on unilateral training or rehabilitation.

  • Sets: 3-4 per arm
  • Repetitions: 8-12 per arm
  • Rest: 1-2 minutes between sets

 

Elevate Your Fitness with PTSPOT!

Diversifying your workout routine with various incline bench press exercise variations can significantly boost upper pec strength, carve out your chest, and foster comprehensive muscle development. Each variation presents a distinctive challenge, honing in on different facets of the upper part of the body’s musculature. Be sure to customise your sets, reps, and rest intervals to align with your fitness objectives and personal preferences.

Ready to escalate your training? Our team of professional fitness trainers at PTSPOT stands ready to provide tailored guidance and unwavering support on your fitness journey. Reach out today to promote your workout experience and realise your fitness goals with the expertise and personalised assistance offered by PTSpot!

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