T Nation

Hello I'm an Incline Bench Addict

I made the change earlier this year from a basic home gym set up to going to a proper gym. It was cool for me because I could use heavier weights than before. My home collection was a little limited.

I decided that I wanted to fix some imbalances and in particular my chest was developed badly from loads of flat barbell bench pressing.

I switched to incline and things have changed big time. I no longer look like I have a pair of tatas and I have some respectable slabs of muscle on my upper chest which used to just be a boney muscle graveyard.

I’ve since removed doing flat bench chest work completely and I haven’t seen any negatives from doing so yet.

I also started working with dumbbells exclusively as I feel it much better when using an incline.

Have any of you managed to build fully developed chests by just doing incline bench? I want to know if I absolutely need to include some form of flat bench work. I don’t want to build more imbalances.

My full chest routine is very simple;

3-5 sets of heavy incline db bench for 6-10 reps.
3 sets on the chest fly machine. Similar reps.

I have done more for my chest in the past but my chest has grown way more with these two exercises recently.

I would be interested in adding more to my routine if anyone here strongly feels that these two exercises really isn’t enough.

[quote]Lolkema wrote:
Have any of you managed to build fully developed chests by just doing incline bench? I want to know if I absolutely need to include some form of flat bench work. I don’t want to build more imbalances.[/quote]

I’m also interested in the answer to this.

Of course I suspect the answer is going to be something along the lines of “stop looking for the lazy way out; you’re going to need more volume overall, from more angles [including decline], and with more unilateral movements [db presses], in order to fully develop the chest”.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]Lolkema wrote:
Have any of you managed to build fully developed chests by just doing incline bench? I want to know if I absolutely need to include some form of flat bench work. I don’t want to build more imbalances.[/quote]

I’m also interested in the answer to this.

Of course I suspect the answer is going to be something along the lines of “stop looking for the lazy way out; you’re going to need more volume overall, from more angles [including decline], and with more unilateral movements [db presses], in order to fully develop the chest”.[/quote]

I expect something of the same though I know we all respond differently to different exercises. Could well be someone out here with a similar finding to my own or I may be completely outnumbered.

I do also realise that saying ‘build fully developed chests by just doing incline bench’ is a little silly when I also do flies. But I’m sure the non-semantic nitpickers know what I mean :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t work exclusively incline. Find another heavy movement that you can incrementally load consistently over a period of time. Incline barbell bench, barbell bench, dumbbell bench, weighted dips, or even a good Hammerstrength chest machine all work well.

I don’t train for bodybuilding, but I know a lot of guys like to work incline barbell second after they get the pump going with a couple sets of something else.

If the question is “doing ONLY incline bench” for chest, then the answer is no. If the question is about whether you can build a complete chest WITHOUT FLAT BENCH, then the answer would be yes.

I’ve known many guys with excellent chest development who have relied on a whole host of exercises aside from flat work and had no complaints whatsoever. I’ve personally avoided flat work for a very long time, after building up a fairly impressive poundage, shoulder pains, and still a lagging set of pecs in the process. I didn’t really possess a complete set to ta-tas until I focused more on what I was trying to achieve, and less on doing what old school dogma says I absolutely must do.

You’ll find good many authors, coaches, and PTs who will tell you that the angle of pressing for flat work places the majority of the stress on the anterior delts, and not even on the pecs as much as a slight incline or decline would.

S

If its not broken then there’s no need to fix it. If
you start to notice that your upper chest overpowers
the rest (which i have never seen before) or when your
results slow down/stop then its time to switch things up.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
If the question is “doing ONLY incline bench” for chest, then the answer is no. If the question is about whether you can build a complete chest WITHOUT FLAT BENCH, then the answer would be yes.

I’ve personally avoided flat work for a very long time, after building up a fairly impressive poundage, shoulder pains, and still a lagging set of pecs in the process.
[/quote]

I think I was trying to ask can I build it without doing flat bench with a major focus on incline haha

Nice to see that someone as experienced and developed as yourself isn’t doing flat. For me it’s all the same reasons to be honest. Shoulders were bad from day one and even are with dips to an extent.

Incline and dumbbells have been a saviour and built my chest to the point that what I once considered a weak bodypart regularly gets comments.

Thanks for the input Stu!

Aziz says a 4:28 “Don’t do decline. If you do decline, you’re wasting your time. Start off with incline, then incline the flyes, then dips, and after that, pullovers. You can do flat, but mostly do incline because you see those people with that droopy chest look. If you just keep doing mostly upper you’ll get that nice chest shape, and it’s still going to grow the bottom.”

this guy at a time was only doing incline and he had a great chest (one pic is a boner pic so prepare yourself i know its very faggoty but this is one of the best pictures that shows his upper chest:

^

I remember in interviews both Dorian Yates and Jean Pierre Faux stated they only did bbell incline and no flat work, yates said he did no flat or decline work at all after a bad shouder injury stopped him from doing so. Im going thru this flat issue with my training partner right now, hes convinced that flat bbell press is the best chest exercise by far and it completely isnt.

I agree w stu, its great for getting the shoulders to ache and building up the front delts, and if you concentrate on it, ur development will be well, kinda lopsided and tit like ugly yes.

I actually love doing 3 week waves where one week itl b 30 degrees, next week b 45 degrees,3rd week 60 degrees using dumbell presses.

Inclines dumbells directly stress the pecs while bbell really does focus on anterior delts and alot of triceps.

My workout buddy says o fuck that when its time for 45 or 60 degree presses, that angles so high it doesnt even work the chest, now hes cryin cause his pecs look droopy and his shoulders hurt and still thinks hes gota get his flat bench back up!

For me I constantly vary the angle of incline 15,30,45,60 and change from bbell to dumbell frequently, and work close, med and wide grip equally on the bbells and its helped my pectoral development more than flat bench ever did 4 sure. I say rock those inclines!

Lots of varying incline work + fly variations + dips with forward lean = good chest stimulation.

I do zero flat benching. Used to and never had a good chest, stopped and my chest is decent now. Haven’t don’t standard flat BB bench in forever.

Agreed, if u wanna still hit the lower pecs use dips instead of flat. Dips are far superior to flats andyday.

You answered your own question. Why add more,or change the angle’s if you are making progress. I like your program,as you are not overtraining.To many people think they have to do 5-different angles and 25-30 set’s those people,if not on aas are body destroyer’s,not bodybuilder’s. keep it simple john

[quote]Obisidian wrote:
I wouldn’t work exclusively incline. Find another heavy movement that you can incrementally load consistently over a period of time. Incline barbell bench, barbell bench, dumbbell bench, weighted dips, or even a good Hammerstrength chest machine all work well.

I don’t train for bodybuilding, but I know a lot of guys like to work incline barbell second after they get the pump going with a couple sets of something else. [/quote]

Agree about not only doing incline as your only pressing motion for chest. Throw some heavy ass weight on another pressing movement…flat, decline, any hammer strength, whatever. Just wanna get a little more variety in there as well as take advantage of more sets of heavy pressing for those titties boyyyy!

[quote]sesumatse wrote:
Agreed, if u wanna still hit the lower pecs use dips instead of flat. Dips are far superior to flats andyday.[/quote]

Dips definately hit a wider range of muscle groups and stimulate the chest more directly without your anterior delts lending a major hand.

However, you simply cannot move the same amount of weight on dips as you can on flat bench. I like to just use a wide variety of chest exercises, but I see no reason to completely write off flat bench? Unless you have an injury it bothers, or you are very anterior delt dominant and are working to correct the imbalance.

Chest fly machines r nice and all, but u want to rotate between that and doing dumbbell flyes too

Ya, Il become anterior delt dominant very quickly if I do the flats but thats just me. Il do mostly inclines cause thats what I need, but I do agree that for overall development, varying angles and resistance curves is best.

Close grip flats with chains doubled will grow u some triceps tho o yes!Flat dumbell presses for reps will hit some pecs decently too!

Boney muscle graveyard is one of my new favorite sayings.

[quote]WhiteFlash wrote:
Boney muscle graveyard is one of my new favorite sayings.[/quote]

Thanks buddy :slight_smile:

Like its said before, ive never seen anyone with “too much” upper pec development…I always do incline first…anyone not ever do decline? I haven’t done decline in months…

[quote]Cron391 wrote:
Like its said before, ive never seen anyone with “too much” upper pec development…I always do incline first…anyone not ever do decline? I haven’t done decline in months…[/quote]

I’ve never done decline. I always heard mixed things about it and that whole notion of upper/middle/lower chest just isn’t anatomically correct from what I’ve read.

The way I see it is flat and incline are the most important along with flies and dips. Depends on how your chest grows which you emphasize.

I’m not sure if I ever heard anyone say they built a great chest doing declines.