T Nation

Incline Helping Improve Flat Bench


I have recently started to work on my barbell incline bench. It has always been a tough lift for me-never really trained it consistently, but after hitting a recent plateau on flat bench, decided to focus mainly on it. My question is, what has been your guys experience with carry over from your incline to flat bench?


I the past, I would usually switch things up - start with incline db for a few months, then switch to starting with flat. Worked out very well for me - flat bench has always been my weakest lift, but my numbers went up significantly. Of course, I wish I had also kept a log.


It helped me some. Probably the same as military press did. Look at this way. It couldn't hurt your benching, so try it out and see.


i remember talking to a guy that works with alwyn cosgrove many years ago. he told me when i asked a similar question that there is a carryover of 15 degree in both directions for pressing. further than that and the gains begin to drop off rather quickly.


Inclines have always helped my flat bench. I feel like incline has more ROM than flat bench and helps my speed off the chest. Personally I like to do a lot of inclines as assistance work. Inclines, close grip inclines, incline JM press ...


I had terrible luck with inclines, but all kinds of shoulder presses work great for me.


I've always preferred variety myself. I work chest two days per week. one day maybe flat bench and flies another day incline and dips or maybe decline and weighted push ups... Sometimes barbell sometimes dumbbell. I never really plateau and I definitely get stronger.


For me I have found military and closegrip to have great carryover. I feel inclines to be awkward.



A couple of years ago I spent 8 weeks without doing traditional flat bench (pinky on rings) and focused on inclines on chest day and close grip (pointer on smooth) on arm day and got both up to 2 plates for sets of 6-8 weighing about 180. My first day back to regular benching I put up 3 plates. Before that my max was 285. Obviously worked for me.


I will say this for quite a while inclines always felt awkward to me, so I wouldn't do them. One time though I finally figured out the proper groove for me and stuck with them and got a lot stronger on them. My bench was stuck at sub 300 for a few months but once I inclined 245x1 I benched 300 for the first time and it wasn't hard.


Thanks for all your input guys! I guess it makes sense, train what youre weak at, and youll get stronger!


I get about zero carryover to my competition bench when my incline goes up. I hardly ever train it anymore unless it is for higher reps or with DB's.


I'm with Storm - for a good 3-4 months ant one point I stoped flat BB benching and only Incline Benched with a BB. Got to 12-15 Rest-pause reps with 225 on that - went back to benching regularly, hadn't moved AT ALL, in fact it had slightly decreased.

That was back when I was stuck at 250. Over the last 6 months Ive hammered the shit out of bench variations and close-grip and close-grip chain board presses and my bench is finally at the 290-310 mark. To each his own I guess...


Inclines never really helped me with flat just helped build my upper chest. Close grip, aheavy dose of tricep training, and pausing the bench an inch above bottom helped me.


I had never inclined in my life until a few months ago when I took a run at Thibideau's HP Mass Program for 6 weeks. At the beginning of the program, my incline was something like 255x3 when I first started. By the end of the 6 weeks, it was 315x3.

Shortly thereafter I smashed a couple of bench PR's, hitting 365, 375, and 385. I had been failing at 365 for much of the past year.

I think getting better at the incline helped a ton with that. Especially in keeping tight and tracking the bar path.


I certainly wouldn't replace Bench with Incline, I'd add inclines after bench for a while then as Incline increased see if there is a related increase in bench.
My feeling is that if you substitute you may get stronger (in the area Inclines hit for you) while getting weaker on the actual bench.