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Incline Press Setup


Couple questions:
Are you pushing with your legs/putting pressure on your upper back (like a flat bench press)?
Or do you not engage your legs at all?

I've been unable to settle this for myself. I've been doing it with the legs pushing but I feel silly as hell with my ass in the air and question if I am even still pressing from an incline. If I don't use my legs, I am significantly weaker* and also feel like I just can't push out reps as well (entirely possible I just have to spend more time on the movement and get more efficient at it.)

*Which brings me to my next question- what is your strength deficits between flat and incline presses? I have flat benched 230 but 160 on the incline is challenging if I don't use my legs. Of course if legless is the way to do it, I will just work my way up - but part of the reason I have been doubting the setup and experimenting with using the legs is because that gap seems a bit big...


When I do incline and I don't do flat I can end up putting up as much in the incline, and when I return I can't do the same on flat. It varies a lot from one to another, some can incline more. Your case is probably due to doing flat for a long while and just starting up on the inlcine. You don't have to push so much with your legs to the extent that your ass is flying off the bench, remember that you're stimulating a muscle group for a response, not preparing for a meet.

Some that are "powerbuilding" will say otherwise, I've known a couple of guys who do powerlifting style on some movements for physique development, they have PL background though. Heck, I knew a guy who is 19 and can bench 5 plates, obviously this is powerlifting technique, but his chest and delts were pretty big and solid. Feet have to help your body be stable, but no other than that.


you definitely should feel silly if your ass is flying up. using leg drive correctly should actually plant your ass on the bench regardless of it's flat or incline. you need to spike your traps in the bench and then get a decent arch. the ass flys up because you are pushing with the soles of your feet. leg drive is more equated to a static leg curl. you actively force the heels down and contract the hammies. this will raise the hips but keep the ass planted. hopefully this makes sense.

here's a vid of my setup on inclines. i spike my trap and get a moderate arch. i drive my heels into the platform and contract the hams. this keeps me tight and mantains my arch during the set.



The incline press at my gym doesn't have the platform for the feet like marauder's but I still use leg drive, keep my butt planted in the seat, keep an arch in my lower back, and drive my traps into the bench. I find it dumb when people lift there butt when pressing. Not only is it dangerous, but on incline the angle becomes the same as flat.

As far as strength difference between incline and flat, I can usually do about 20% less on incline than flat.


Thanks for the responses

"the ass flys up because you are pushing with the soles of your feet. leg drive is more equated to a static leg curl. you actively force the heels down and contract the hammies."

haha... yes, that is exactly what I was doing. I tried the leg curl thing on the side of my bed here and it feels promising - I will try that the next time I bench

Never heard it described like that before.

Kind of a side question. Is your position one where your butt would come up if you pushed the wrong way, or one where you are locked in in a way that it is impossible for it to come up?


if you are contracting the hamstrings and forcing the heels down i don't see how the ass could come up.


I fell I can press heavier weights more comfortably on the Incline Bench rather than on the Flat bench.

Anyway, I fell that when I use a powerlifting-like setup on the incline I get more chest work instead of shoulders, here is how I set up:

  • Shoulder blades squeezed together, keeping the upper back tight.
  • Chest up, minimum arch on the back as possible
  • Ass on the bench at all times
  • Hands just outside shoulder width.
  • Feet planted on the floor.

From there I take the bar down just bellow my clavicle and push it straight up. I avoid using leg drive for the first work sets until my last ones.