T Nation

Incline and Decline Bench... or Not?


My main goal right now is to hit all the "minimums" for strength training. Body weight bench, a pull up, double bw dead lift, bw back squat.

Ok so with benching I currently do flat, inclines and declines with my question being, are inclines and decline even worth doing if my goal is strictly increasing my basic flat bench? Should I just concentrate more on flat benching with more sets and mixing in DBs sets as well?

Also by reading here and watching videos, I think my main sticking point is my triceps, as I can still get the last rep off my chest easily, it just stops a little past half way up. So maybe some tricep isolation instead of incline and declines will be more useful?



What are your stats right now?
If flat benching is the goal, focus on flat benching. Doesn't mean you can't do incline or decline but I wouldn't do both. Remember you don't need to do every variation of every exercise. As Jim Wendler says: Thats majoring in the minors.

If you think triceps is a weak point use some assistance exercise that transfers well to bench pressing like close grip bench, Tate presses, JM presses or dips.
Have you watched Dave Tate's bench pressing video on this site? Maybe your technique just sucks as he would put it.

But hey maybe if your goals are in reference to your body weight, you could begin by lowering said BW.


Anyone can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're working to a 'minimum' level of strength, is it really necessary to have all that variety? What I'm trying to say is; isn't the adage that you're supposed to work up to that level of strength before you have the privilege of using any major variations? At this point in time, you'd probably do best just plain old vanilla benching.


Yeah saw Dave Tate's video and changed up right away. Makes me laugh now to see nearly no one benches using proper form. lol

...and yeah my BW needs to drop, currently at about 275 (6'1"), bench is..well about cough225-1rm*cough.

And that majoring in the minors makes a lot of sense. I was mainly wondering about hitting the different angles I guess, but putting it that way, there probably is no sense for my current goals anyway.



True...I used to work out "like a body builder" until I found this site and read how it is actually better for what I am looking for to not bother with isolation exercises at my current fitness level. Then the more I read people's training logs and such, I started to think maybe I was still doing doing too many exercises (particularly benching)..hence this post.

I guess I'm the the typical newbie, already knowing what I need/should be doing, just needing the positive reinforcement to change it up. It's just that I have altered my workout so much since coming here, I want to get it right this time and not waste anymore time.



J.M. Presses will serve you well. They really hit the "lazy head" of the tri's- which help make a great bench. If you have a good arch when benching (you did say you saw Dave's bench vid right? Declines will help).


Well, not that I want to change your program again but have a look a Jim Wendler's 5/3/1.
It gets your basic lifts up, and cuts the unnecessary stuff out.


Nope, somehow in all my reading this weekend, I over looked that one. I guess one more can't hurt. :slightly_smiling:

I really shouldn't be too worried about making adjustments anyway. The whole goal is just going to the gym and if messing around with my workouts keeps it fresh and interesting and keeps me going to the gym......only good things can come of it.

thanks again!


Are u trying to power lift or are u going after hypertrophy? I think tates form is more for straight powerlifting I tried it and felt major tricep involvement. What I use to get my bench up if I hit a sticking point is I hit triceps and shoulders a lot harder and back off bench.

When I bench ill use a westside barbell exercise of 8 sets of 3 reps at 50% 1rm u lower slowly and blast it off your chest like your trying to hit the ceiling ill do that for 6 weeks.it works really well for me ill usually get a new pr when I go back to heavy bench and still gain more after that .the westside trick is used for the sticking point u described so it might be helpful.


Really now, my only true goal, is to keep going to the gym. I have done the gym thing on and off since 2000 and always seem to get bored, so to keep myself there is #1 for now.

Tate's bench press is helping me because a few years ago I popped a shoulder and benching with elbows straight out, east and west, bothered it. Though once I started tightening my upper back it helped as well. His technique seems to make it easier to keep the shoulder blades in, when the elbows are more tight into the body.



This has probably been said in a previous post, but if you want a big bench, then bench.


So Decline or not?


No reason to ever do all three on the same day. All three variations have merit though whether powerlifting or bodybuilding.

Considering the fact that the pecs' primary role is to move the arms forward (away from the body) and down (towards teh feet) decline may be the most natural movement. A small angle though, otherwise the ROM is too short.