DIfferences Between Bench Angles?

Hey all, I was wondering what kind of weights people should be able to move in relation to their regular bench press. In particular,their incline bench and close grip. I’m wondering this because I feel like my triceps might’ve developed more than my chest has.

When I bench I struggle a lot at the bottom, and normally finish fine. Also, I can close grip bench press a decent bit more than I can incline bench. Should the amounts lifted be similar? Thanks for the help!!

I think it really depends on many factors. Some people are naturally stronger in their triceps or naturally have a closer grip for the bench press. A friend of mine’s regular grip is only about an inch off of his close grip; consequently, he can close grip 15-25 lb less than he can do with a normal grip (I think he could do more, but it’s his grip).

Incline is different and involves more shoulders than the flat barbell press and is tougher usually. However, it involves a level of coordination that beginners do not have and when people first start benching on the flat, then switch to the incline, it usually tends to be weaker because they are not coordinated on that angled plane yet.

Once people get stronger, more experienced, and more coordinated, in my experience, their incline bench gets better and becomes a higher percent of their one rep max on the flat bench.

Personally, my Incline bench is about 40-50 lb off my flat bench max and my close grip bench is more like 60 lb less.

In the incline press you “remove” part of the pec major because the costal fibers are not in the plane of the restiance. For any press consider the angle you are pressing at (relative to you), the width of your grip, the angle of your humerus relative to your torso, and any additional efforts you add like “pulling the bar apart”.

The direction of the resistance relative to you (e.g. military vs. flat bench) will influence the potential for muscles to contribute to the task so it makes sense that as the angle of inclene inreases the amount of weight moved decreases because the pec major becomes less involved and the anterior delt has to “work alone”.

I think I can close grip press roughly the same as I can incline press, maybe about fifteen pounds more on incline. My bench doesn’t quite adjust high enough for a true incline press so this might account for the higher weights on incline.

I think it’s easier to get a good drive with the legs on close grip presses, so if you are proficient at using your upper traps/shoulders as a solid base to drive off of and are good at driving your feet into the ground (and your hips/lower back) upwards, you can create more maximal force output on close grip presses.

It depends on the bench, but generally I find it harder to do all of this on incline press benches as opposed to flat benches, regardless of hand position.

Of course, some people (like myself) don’t have really broad shoulders or naturally strong upper backs and shoulders. I’ve always had pretty good strength in my arms from working construction and my lower back is really strong, but I’ve had shoulder impingement issues from years of pitching that probably account for a discrepancy between the two presses.

The bottom line is that the two lifts, if done with the same volume and intensity over a long period of time, are probably not going to be equal due to any number of outside circumstances that may have nothing to do with your training methods.

As for being weak at the bottom of the press, you’ll always be weakest there. At the bottom of any weightlifting move (or at full extension on curling-type moves) your muscles are stretched out and the fibers are unable to “grab” each other to create more force output. As the muscle becomes less stretched out, the move becomes easier.

You could probably do 5-10 partial reps at the very top of your bench by bringing the bar up and down just a few inches with 10-25% more weight than your one rep max. This is a great way to stimulate your central nervous system.

So you’ll always be weakest at the bottom and there is simply no way to improve upon this weakness without also increasing your strength at the top. The two ends of the movement will always have this discrepancy.

You can get better at creating more force output at the bottom by strengthening your abs to help drive up through your hips and torso on squat-type movements and by improving your form on presses, but that’s about it.

currently my incline 1rm bench press is 10lbs lower then my 1rm bench press. Before i hurt my shoulder i could rep out more sets at a higher weight using incline then i could on flat. CGBP is about 30lbs lower then my flat bench. I do have really long arms though so i use i very wide grip with incline, less wide using flat and the narrowest(shoulder width) for cgbp