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Incline Bench Press Question

Hey everyone,

I’m new here. I’ve been lifting for 5 months, I take it seriously.

My question is, why is it that whenever I do incline bench press, my triceps don’t ‘fire’, it’s my biceps that I feel working, in fact. This confuses me because triceps are pushing, biceps are pulling muscles.

I make sure my form is perfect: neutral grip (standard grip on barbell: not too close, not too wide), when I reach the bottom portion of the rep, my arms are perpendicular to the form, my scapula are retracted as of the beginning of the rep and stay in that exact same position.

My biceps are VERY weak, they are NOT developed.

Could it be that my biceps are very weak, and that’s why I feel them working instead of the triceps, and this problem will go away in time?

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
Hey everyone,

I’m new here. I’ve been lifting for 5 months, I take it seriously.

My question is, why is it that whenever I do incline bench press, my triceps don’t ‘fire’, it’s my biceps that I feel working, in fact. This confuses me because triceps are pushing, biceps are pulling muscles.

I make sure my form is perfect: neutral grip, when I reach the bottom portion of the rep, my arms are perpendicular to the form, my scapula are retracted as of the beginning of the rep and stay in that exact same position.

My biceps are VERY weak, they are NOT developed.

Could it be that my biceps are very weak, and that’s why I feel them working instead of the triceps, and this problem will go away in time?[/quote]

Your biceps play the role of stabilizing the weight in all exercises were the arm is extended. It isn’t really a bad thing necessarily that you feel it and the use of dumbells, which I think you are talking about, increases the stabilization aspect of the lift. Dont worry about it and just get stronger. As far as not feeling your triceps, I would wager that although you may not feel them, they are definitely putting in the work.

Are you using DB’s? That’s why I assume when you say “neutral grip”.

I’ve notice when doing neutral grip DB presses of any kind, it’s very easy for the biceps to get stimulated. Think about it: if the dumbbells aren’t prefectly balance above your forearm, and they “slip” a little so that they go outside your elbows at any point, your biceps have to engage to keep your arm from extending. Similar to a DB fly.

I’ve noticed I get less biceps stimulation when I use more of a pronated grip with the DB’s.

If you’re using a barbell, then explain to me what neutral grip is for a barbell.

Thanks brah! By saying neutral grip, I actually meant standard grip on the barbell: not too wide, not too close.

Could be your trying to push your hands inward without realizing it. However, as jb said your biceps play a role in stabilization and do get stressed some. If you’re doing any movements beforehand that would activate your biceps (curls, pull ups, rows, pull downs, etc.) it’s also possibly your weak biceps are already drained some from that. Almost like a pre-exhaust.

Staystrong, what do you mean by ‘pushing hands inward’? By saying that, do you mean ‘squeezing the bar’ or ‘trying to melt the bar’?
I don’t do that :stuck_out_tongue:

I have no idea what “melting the bar” is. Never heard of it. Basically the opposite of pulling the bar apart, which is a common cue I’ve heard from people. I’m not sure if there is a common term for the opposite, where you try to push your hands together (without actually having your hands move closer together. It’s a cue).

But if you were doing this without realizing it, it would activate your biceps more. Odds are though, you aren’t doing that and it’s more of the stabilization thing jb was talking about.

Alright thank you! So will this problem go away if my biceps get stronger?

Possibly. Theoretically, if that was the issue then yes. Also, as I mentioned before make sure your not doing anything that involves the biceps substantially (like pull ups, rows, curls, etc.) before you press. Normally that wouldn’t be a huge issue, but if you’re already feeling like your biceps are doing a lot of work on the press, fatigued them before wouldn’t be great.

Otherwise, hopefully someone who has experienced this will chime in.

[quote]GetBigs wrote:
I make sure my form is perfect[/quote]

Vid?

It will likely help us address this easier.

Staystrong, thanks for the reply! I was wondering this: do you guys think it would be worth a try if I pre-fatigued the biceps before pressing/incline bench pressing? I’ve here http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/6_dirty_tricks_to_instantly_increase_muscle_and_boost_performance that the pump you’d get would stabailize the elbow joint, and basically, given this would still be pre-fatigue, the triceps would have to work hard during the press, no? What do you guys think? Has any of you (by chance?) tried this?

Souldozer: Alright, I’ll try to post a vid on my form.

Until then, has any of you tried this?

Edit: I tried it and my biceps still get pumped and my tris don’t…

At 5 months in I would only worry about whether your numbers on the lift( and all other main compounds are going up), not which muscles are or aren’t ‘feeling it’.

Pushing the bar inward (instead of outward) activates the chest more in incline and regular bench press (which I would find desirable), in my experience it doesn’t make me feel it more in the biceps at all (though your problem is likely that you may feel that because your biceps aren’t developed enough). Adding in more direct bicep work (not prefatiguing, maybe after) is a good idea.