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Incline Terrible Compared to Decline


Bit of a newbie question, however I’m gonna go ahead and ask it.

I can decline bench 110kg for 6 reps, yet I can only incline bench around 60kg for 8 reps.

I’ve consulted the Arnold Bodybuilding encyclopedia and I’ve started to weak point train my shoulders as I believe that is the issue.

however I’ve focused on shoulders for a month or so now and I’ve seen NO progression on my incline but lots on my decline. I believe my form is spot on.

Any advice on how to improve my incline? Or is it just a case of perseverance?

Cheers guys this is my first post to this awesome forum.

I’ve attached a photo to show how poor my shoulders are (think its also unfortunately a genetic thing)

I don’t think you are experienceing anythign out of the ordinary. You decline bench will likely be > than flat, which is likely > than incline.

How much do you flat bench? Are you looking to gain strength or size? How did you work your shoulders?

While that is a noticeable discrepency in strength levels, realize that most people can decline a heck of a lot more weight than they incline. The pattern I’ve usually seen is decline>flat>incline. That’s why so many newb trainers love decline pressing, it has a shortened ROM, and due to the angle, actually allows more engagement of your lats to move the weight. Hence a much heavier lift than you can realistically put up on a flat bench.

If your muscular development appears even though (and based on the one pic you posted, I’d say you’re fairly balanced), I wouldn’t obsess about it.

S

usmccds423- around 100kg for 6 reps which I do with a chest workout once a week, alternated every other week with dumbbells.

I wanna gain size. My shoulder workout is pretty standard (although if you have any other exercises you can recommend that would be awesome)

dumbbell press 36kg for 8 currently (not a lot of weight but my form is very strict), front raise, side raise, shrugs (barbell or dumbbell).

And Stu- Cheers for that I’m a bit insecure about my shoulder development and didn’t push them as hard as my preferred exercises until a year ago. I haven’t thought about lat engagement which makes sense!

[quote]sean501 wrote:
usmccds423- around 100kg for 6 reps which I do with a chest workout once a week, alternated every other week with dumbbells.

I wanna gain size. My shoulder workout is pretty standard (although if you have any other exercises you can recommend that would be awesome)

dumbbell press 36kg for 8 currently (not a lot of weight but my form is very strict), front raise, side raise, shrugs (barbell or dumbbell).

And Stu- Cheers for that I’m a bit insecure about my shoulder development and didn’t push them as hard as my preferred exercises until a year ago. I haven’t thought about lat engagement which makes sense! [/quote]

I’m not an expert by any means so take what I have to say for what it’s worth.

First thing I would do it go through the BB forum and read through Stu, Zraw, and other competitors threads. Look to see what they do for shoulders.

If strenght isn’t a concern for you I wouldn’t worry much about the difference too much, but the stronger you are = more weight for hypotrophy sets.

If shoulders are holding your incline back, personally, I would add BB OHP for low reps 1-3 to strengthen them up. For you, a beginner, I think the heavier BB OHP will help you more so than using just DBs. DBs have their place, but I’ve never found DB exercise help my max numbers. Maybe that’s just me.

I would also drop the shrugs. I think they are a waste for a beginner. Heavy deads, cleans, farmers walks, etc… will build larger traps than shrugs, imo.

^ Also heavy deads off pins are great for traps as well.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]sean501 wrote:
usmccds423- around 100kg for 6 reps which I do with a chest workout once a week, alternated every other week with dumbbells.

I wanna gain size. My shoulder workout is pretty standard (although if you have any other exercises you can recommend that would be awesome)

dumbbell press 36kg for 8 currently (not a lot of weight but my form is very strict), front raise, side raise, shrugs (barbell or dumbbell).

And Stu- Cheers for that I’m a bit insecure about my shoulder development and didn’t push them as hard as my preferred exercises until a year ago. I haven’t thought about lat engagement which makes sense! [/quote]

I’m not an expert by any means so take what I have to say for what it’s worth.

First thing I would do it go through the BB forum and read through Stu, Zraw, and other competitors threads. Look to see what they do for shoulders.

If strenght isn’t a concern for you I wouldn’t worry much about the difference too much, but the stronger you are = more weight for hypotrophy sets.

If shoulders are holding your incline back, personally, I would add BB OHP for low reps 1-3 to strengthen them up. For you, a beginner, I think the heavier BB OHP will help you more so than using just DBs. DBs have their place, but I’ve never found DB exercise help my max numbers. Maybe that’s just me.

I would also drop the shrugs. I think they are a waste for a beginner. Heavy deads, cleans, farmers walks, etc… will build larger traps than shrugs, imo. [/quote]

I’ll do that! DLs are working wonders for my overall strength at the moment, so will start doing more OHP instead of DBs. Would you recommend getting a belt for OHP? I got up to 60kg on OHP before just sticking to DBs but I felt I was engaging my lower back too much.

I’ll second what usmccds423 said about adding heavy OHP. Also, If you want to get stronger at incline, do it more and/or do it first in your workout.

Me personally, I’m not a huge fan of decline anyway. It seems more common to lack upper chest development anyway and more time should be spent in general doing incline work. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone I felt like saying “he needs more decline work”.

[quote]sean501 wrote:

I’ll do that! DLs are working wonders for my overall strength at the moment, so will start doing more OHP instead of DBs. Would you recommend getting a belt for OHP? I got up to 60kg on OHP before just sticking to DBs but I felt I was engaging my lower back too much. [/quote]

I think belts are personal preference. I hardly ever use a belt even on deads and squats, but many people do and they are beneficial. Do a search on OHP and watch guy like Wendler perform it. CT probably has a video up in the vid section of this site. Your lower back shouldn’t be that stressed. You are probably leaning too far back turning the movement into more of an incline press than an over head press. Form won’t be perfect at 95+% of 1RM, but it’s still a good idea to work on form.

I like to spend non training time watching “pros” form to re-enfroce my form.

I am no expert but you probably have weak shoulders and decline press earlier or more often the incline.

I actually incline more than I flat fwiw

Forgive me if I’m repeating people, but here are my couple quick thoughts on incline and decline:

As a powerlifter, I’ve found decline bench to be largely worthless. It is a shortened range of motion, and I can use more weight and theoretically overload my triceps, but in practice it never seems to translate to my flat bench. Board press, floor press, and deadbench from various pin heights all have better carryover to bench press strength in my experience.

I have heard that many bodybuilders absolutely love decline pressing as a chest mass builder. I feel like that’s probably it’s only role.

Inclines are great for both powerlifting and bodybuilding. BBers usually especially love dumbbell incline. They say you can never have too much upper chest. It’s a good shoulder strengthening movement for powerlifting as well. Ed Coan and James “Hollywood” Henderson and other big timers would always do flat bench, close grip, and incline on their bench day without fail.

Best way to get better at inclines? Inclines :slight_smile:

you definitely don’t need a belt. I’ve DL’ed 490, squatted 345, OHP’ed 195, and BP’ed 305, and I haven’t used a belt once in my life.

Cheers guys awesome advice. I’m gonna try and hit incline bench prior to decline, and then swap dumbbells for OHP.

Will no doubt see some improvements with perseverance!!

[quote]sean501 wrote:
Cheers guys awesome advice. I’m gonna try and hit incline bench prior to decline, and then swap dumbbells for OHP.

Will no doubt see some improvements with perseverance!!

[/quote]

I’m sure you will with that attitude, good luck!

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]sean501 wrote:
Cheers guys awesome advice. I’m gonna try and hit incline bench prior to decline, and then swap dumbbells for OHP.

Will no doubt see some improvements with perseverance!!

[/quote]

I’m sure you will with that attitude, good luck![/quote]

Cheers mate!

Prioritizing incline bench is gonna: A) improve your incline bench B) improve your chest development C) supplementally improve your front delts, so obviously just an echo of what other posters have said. Due to shoulder and elbow issues I’ve found that I generally have less joint pain with a narrow grip set up on incline barbell bench; while not a concern yet as you’re young you should still protect your joints. I like to include both incline barbell and then move onto low incline (adjustable bench angle set at the first or second incline position) db presses; generally using moderate rep ranges between 5-12 reps.