T Nation

Decline Bench Help

I was thinking about this today, as I was inclining. My sticking point on flat bench is right at the bottom, I’ve never failed to the best of my recollection, on any rep I’ve gotten more than 2" off my chest. If incline focuses more on triceps/delts than standard flat benching, and decline benching focuses more directly on the pecs, would it not make sense to add in some heavy decline work, since my sticking point indicates pec weakness?

I don’t think it would carry over directly to where you’re referring to. Decline is a shorter ROM, so you won’t be hitting the troubled part of the flat bench ROM with it. Training the movement pattern > training the muscles involved when it comes to strength.

However, since you posted this in BBing, sure, hit all 3!

The decline is actually easier at the bottom because of better leverage. And it doesn’t transfer well to the flat bench, not a regular decline anyway. Why? Two reasons:

(1) In a “normal” decline bench your feet are hooked beneath the pads/rolls (whatever you want to call them) so you cannot use any leg drive to get the bar started off the chest. While in a regular bench the butt should not come off the bench, you should drive with your feet into the ground and tense your glutes as you start to press from your chest. In the decline you can’t do that so there will be little carryover to the start of the bench.

(2) In a normal decline it is hard to use the lats properly to bench. Ask any top powerlifter and he will tell you that if you are weak off the chest the main reason is that you can’t use your lats properly when bench pressing. The lats are flared and tensed, which helps you push up. And that is much harder to do on a decline.

If anything a slight incline (I’m talking doing a bench with about a 10 degrees elevation, raising the “head” end of the bench with a 2-4" block) would help strengthen the start more since there is a slightly great stretch at the bottom.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
The decline is actually easier at the bottom because of better leverage. And it doesn’t transfer well to the flat bench, not a regular decline anyway. Why? Two reasons:

(1) In a “normal” decline bench your feet are hooked beneath the pads/rolls (whatever you want to call them) so you cannot use any leg drive to get the bar started off the chest. While in a regular bench the butt should not come off the bench, you should drive with your feet into the ground and tense your glutes as you start to press from your chest. In the decline you can’t do that so there will be little carryover to the start of the bench.

(2) In a normal decline it is hard to use the lats properly to bench. Ask any top powerlifter and he will tell you that if you are weak off the chest the main reason is that you can’t use your lats properly when bench pressing. The lats are flared and tensed, which helps you push up. And that is much harder to do on a decline.

If anything a slight incline (I’m talking doing a bench with about a 10 degrees elevation, raising the “head” end of the bench with a 2-4" block) would help strengthen the start more since there is a slightly great stretch at the bottom.[/quote]

Very in depth reply, thank you very much!