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Incline Bench: Touch Chest? Grip Width?


i'm extremely weak if i try to touch the chest; very unnatural. my forearms seem out of position, no longer vertical.

what is the proper way?

also, how far out should the grip be -- wider than flats? tuck or flare?



There ios no 'right'. There are some wrong ways to do it, but the correct style will depend on your goals, injury history, limb length etc.

I personally like to do a sort of guillotine press (almost to the neck) and to stop it actually beheading me, stop about 3 inches above the neck.

For lovely smooth form, see this: Frank McGrath

To be honest i'd recommend checking out all his videos, he really does the movements very consistently and smooth


Despite a few shoulder 'issues' over the years, I've always been able to touch my chest with the bar without any pain, or discomfort. My reason for even doing it when so many trainers with great pecs stop an inch or two above is simply that I still feel a good stretch in the muscles, as well as a good amount of tension (sometimes you can lose tension to get the stretch). To each his own though. Everyone has their own kinesiological issues and injuries to address.



Beautiful form, refreshing to see. I only recently began incline benching, for some time I have had an on/off shoulder injury and bicep tendon injury which prevented me from attempting many free weight chest excersises. Thankfully I am injury free now and moved to incline from decline benching. At the moment I'm just concentrating on form and technique, just as in the video above, I can comfortably touch my upper chest lower neck and I feel a good stretch in the movement.


I stop an inch or two above my clavicle or I get shoulder pain. My grip is usually shoulder width.


Depends on the person. I've got a rather lanky frame, and It gives me shoulder discomfort if I don't stop a couple inches from my pecs. Been like that for years.


One other thing to consider is 'bulkiness'. That is, how fat or muscular are you? I'm lean and carry very little fat, so my chest really is my 'chest', not fat. Obviously If I had more fat on me, my chest would be that much more sticky-out.

Don't know if that makes sense? Touching a 52-inch chest is a different proposition to touching a 40-inch chest


Im fairly tall - 6ft but not lanky at all and i had the same problem but i fixed it and it hurt my lifts for a while but then in the end made me stronger I just got 315 on incline a few weeks ago this is the set up

back arched
hands placed wider then shoulder
I tuck my elbows in when I go down and almost use my elbows to push it back out in the same path, this surprisingly doesnt hit my triceps at all but hits only the upper chest I dont even feel it in the shoulder


Some days I can touch, some days I can't.

Depends on how much PMS my shoulders have.


Pros and cons of a standard grip vs. the false grip? Do you get better leverage, or is it a feel thing?


I prefer thumbless, just feels right.

I do chalk my palms though after a certain weight. I have sweaty hands anyway, add in hodling weight over my head, and it gets nerve racking.


If I'm going for a max weight, I'll touch my chest...If I'm doing sets of higher reps, I stop 2 inches or so before it.


ebomb, why do you do that? it seems counterintuitive to me


As many have already said, there really is no right or wrong way to do this ( as far as touching the chest goes). My first 2-3 warmup sets usually don't feel all that great in my shoulders but after they are warm there is no issue as long as I have my elbows flared all the way out. If I tried that setup on a flat bench my shoulders would rip off my body. As far as touching the chest goes I do both. In some cases I will make it a long pause and do paused reps. Still gives me a pretty good stretch during that pause. But like ebomb said, if I am repping out I will stop about an inch short or so.


If you're taking a true max, then you must do full ROM or can't really say it counts. As far the reps go, it is likely just by feel as you are more focused on the muscle (stretch and contraction)


Ya, what Spartee said...If I want to test my true max, I'll do the full ROM...but I usually incline press stopping just before touching.

I have never actually seen a discrepancy in what I can do weight wise either way though.


Definitely depends. If you touch your chest to utilize a bounce, don't touch. On the other hand if touching it allows for a greater stretch like Stu said, touch your chest. I've always preferred touching.


How much difference does it make touching your chest vs stopping a couples inches short in terms of muscle growth?


prob between 6-15 lb


This kinda leads to my point: Go by feeling. I know I'm going the right distance down when my upper pecs get a good stretch out of the bottom. Go by the muscular 'feeling' towards the bottom, not just by "inches above chest". Let your body tell you where you should stop.

However, if it "feels" right 2-3 inches above the chest, use that but I would recommmend some work on increasing flexibility of the shoulder joint.
From above, I personally love the guillotine press mentioned earlier(just watch your elbow placement, tucked under the wrists) and if you're going for a max it won't count unless you get to chest level(to be fair, I don't understand maxing on incline; either press it overhead or bench press it. But to each their own; I've always looked at incline bench as a more aesthetic exercise) All in all, do work