T Nation

Incline Bench Form


I was wondering what the right form is for the incline bench press, both with dumbells and a barbell. I read on this site that during a bench press, the elbows should be tucked and close to the body, making the weight go down just below your chest rather than right on top of it like most people do it.

Is the same true for the incline bench? The reason I am wondering is because most people tell me to lower the weight right below my chin to really hit those 'upper pecs' (or deep muscle tissue, whatever you want to call it). However, doing so requires the elbows to go out to the side more.

should I lower the weight the same way I do during a flat bench with the only difference between the two exercises being the incline of the bench, or should I lower the weight to a point higher up on my chest as well? Or something in between?

Thanks in advance for the help.


Where do you lower it to on flat bench? For me, I lower the bar below my nipples, around my solar plexus/abdomen. I'm not a BBer, though, so that may affect things. On incline, though, I touch down on the chest where a typical BB flat bench would touchdown, since it'd be impossible to lower it to where I normally do without dropping the bar on my lap.


I lower it similar to where you lower it, the solar plexus/abdomen region. I read in a T-Nation article (searched for it, couldn't find it anymore) that you should lower the bar to the place where your elbows are if you stand up straight.

However, I am 6'4" with a big arm spread and lowering the bar to that specific spot would mean lowering it to my abs. The video of the guy benching in this article is pretty similar to how I do it: http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/the_seven_habits_of_highly_defective_benchers

So you're saying that on the incline bench, I should lower it to a spot on my chest a little higher up? Say between the lower part of my chest and my chin?


i think that it really depends on what your goal is. Bodybuilders keep in higher on their chest with their elbows out to help focus more on just their chest and its growth. However, those who are more focused on stregth tuck their elbows more and touch lower on their chest. it allows for the body to be used a little more along with their triceps. If you watch any of the great raw benchers vs. the top BB's you can tell a significant difference in their form, bar speed, and often their range of motion.


FightorFlight = Al Murray?


That was very helpful, thanks!


Isnt this covered in yesterdays article to chest building by CT

Tucked in elbows for pure strength, but if you want to build the pecs then a more open angle. If i read things right the incline press is designed to work the pec more so personally I would possibly use a tucked in elbows for a flat bench press and widen the elbows for an incline to prevent your triceps over compensating for lack of chest strength ( I suffer from this tbh)

Just make sure you adjust the weight accordingly (if your not spotted)


Elbows out, lowering to the upper chest or stopping 1-2 inches above it.


The question was about inclines, therefore no it wasn't covered in the article. I would personally be interested to get input on Declines as well.



When it comes to the incline BB, I tend to have my elbows around a 45 degree angle and my ring finger on the rings. I lower right down to my clavicle w/o touching my chest (inch or so). If your shoulders can take it, widen your grip to outside the rings to really hit the upper/outer pec.

As far as DB go, I tend to flare out my elbows a little more the 45 degrees. When coming down (negative) don't much below parallel. When you press up try to emulate the same movement as if it was the BB. Meaning, don't press up and then swing you arms and shoulders up trying to touch the DB at the top.