T Nation

Decline Pressing

Hey everyone. This is my first post, so I’m not quite sure if this is the right place to be posting.

Anyway, from my understanding, the pecs consist of two muscles: the sternocostal head and the clavicular head. I recently watched Dorian Yates’ “Blood and Guts” trainer in which he referred to the decline bench press as (probably) the most effective pec exercise that works the whole chest, contrary to popular belief, considering the function of the pecs is to bring the arms downwards and across.

Initially when I started working out, I thought that it’d be crucial to do the flat barbell bench press, but upon more research and a study I found (not sure if it’s entirely reliable, conducted correctly, etc.), I concluded that the decline dumbbell press was a superior choice for general pec development, but also incorporating incline dumbbell press would be crucial.

Is the flat barbell bench press really as good as everyone claims? Is the decline version better, and if so, why? Do genetics and body structure play a role? (I have pretty long arms.)

Thank you, looking forward to communicating on this forum as the bodybuilding.com drove me insane :slight_smile:

[quote]labean wrote:

Thank you, looking forward to communicating on this forum as the bodybuilding.com drove me insane :slight_smile: [/quote]

Yeah, that place is full of idiots.

I’m not personally a fan of declines, and the general consensus I’ve seen is that declines are the least useful of the three angles, but I’m curious to see what others have to say about it. Inclines, on the other hand, are always highly recommended - a good upper chest really makes a difference.

Personally I’ve always favored flat benching, but that could be because my shoulders are very temperamental and inclines tend to hurt more. I’m working on getting better at recruiting the chest instead of the shoulders in that position though.

Technically speaking to hit the pecs the bench press is thee best exercise

http://thesportjournal.org/article/optimizing-development-pectoralis-major

However, to build muscle and shape, diet, mmc, and rep scheme effect the quality of the exercise. If you contract your muscles harder during a dumbell press while giving it more TUT then that exercise is the best one for you.

Different angles effect your shoulders differently. Ideally when you are focused on your chest you want to minimize how much helps your pecs get from other muscles. For some declines require less delts (more so if you have a spotter). If you have the best results from decline DB then continue on, that’s the art of BB it is up to your your coach to sculpt your body.

[quote]labean wrote:
Is the flat barbell bench press really as good as everyone claims? Is the decline version better, and if so, why?[/quote]

I have never heard it said that barbell flat pressing was a superior movement for chest development. Some would argue that dumbells are better than the bar at any angle. Most lifters I have known could move more weight on the decline than flat, myself included. IMO…I feel more chest and less shoulder in decline or during dips than I do flat bar pressing.

About a year ago I was following yates advice and my chest was growing like crazy and my volume for it wasn’t high at all, just the three exercises he recommends for chest. So I’m guessing the decline bench had something to do with that. I’ve stopped doing declines but will start doing them again

[quote]anonanon wrote:
I’m not personally a fan of declines, and the general consensus I’ve seen is that declines are the least useful of the three angles, but I’m curious to see what others have to say about it. Inclines, on the other hand, are always highly recommended - a good upper chest really makes a difference.

Personally I’ve always favored flat benching, but that could be because my shoulders are very temperamental and inclines tend to hurt more. I’m working on getting better at recruiting the chest instead of the shoulders in that position though.[/quote]
You might want to try out having only a slight incline, approximately 15-30 degrees. When I first started doing incline, the incline was way too high which made it focus on the anterior deltoids more. So if you aren’t doing that already, I would try that!

If I had to choose one exercise for chest, I would say Guillotine press, and second Dumbell incline press.
Those two exercises and BANG!

Really I would say the last thing you need is decline presses.
Most chest exercises hit pretty hard the lower chest. And even more the mid chest.

For example flat flys, hit way more lower than upper chest.
So do flat presses.

I would say to you: focus your training on the uppper chest, so neglected and at the same time, not easy at all to hit really well, as the “mid” portion and lower at least in comparisson.

So in conclusion

Flat exercises hit more lower chest than upper.
So why doing decline exercises to even potentiate more this imbalance.

Man I tell you this, when you have a good upper chest, it really does make a difference in the way your chest look.

[quote]Matias A. wrote:
If I had to choose one exercise for chest, I would say Guillotine press, and second Dumbell incline press.
Those two exercises and BANG!

Really I would say the last thing you need is decline presses.
Most chest exercises hit pretty hard the lower chest. And even more the mid chest.

For example flat flys, hit way more lower than upper chest.
So do flat presses.

I would say to you: focus your training on the uppper chest, so neglected and at the same time, not easy at all to hit really well, as the “mid” portion and lower at least in comparisson.

So in conclusion

Flat exercises hit more lower chest than upper.
So why doing decline exercises to even potentiate more this imbalance.

Man I tell you this, when you have a good upper chest, it really does make a difference in the way your chest look. [/quote]
I currently train my chest 2x a week. I start out with 4 sets of incline dumbbell press (because I want a bigger upper chest) for 6-8 reps, then 4 sets of decline dumbbell press for 6-8 reps again. That’s all I do, 2x a week.

I train decline barbell press religously, and for my weight, my chest is pretty thick, along with good strength gains on the bench:

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:

[quote]labean wrote:
Is the flat barbell bench press really as good as everyone claims? Is the decline version better, and if so, why?[/quote]

I have never heard it said that barbell flat pressing was a superior movement for chest development. Some would argue that dumbells are better than the bar at any angle. Most lifters I have known could move more weight on the decline than flat, myself included. IMO…I feel more chest and less shoulder in decline or during dips than I do flat bar pressing. [/quote]

X2 on all points… I put a lot of focus on flat bench because I’m interested in both PLing and BBing, but I’m confident if I focused more on other movements instead, my chest would be better developed.