Incline vs. Decline vs. Flat Chest Press

Hi Ellington,
I’m interested in your thoughts regarding the 3 basic chest press movements. Which do you think activates the most pectoral fibres? I know the first gen Nautilus chest machines were a decline press because Jones believed it was a more efficient movement. My newest routines are going to incorporate all 3 on a rotating basis.



Jones believed that the decline press involved the most pec fibers. But I think you are smart to rotate the three positions.


The decline done with free weights inherently has a range of motion limitation. Done with a barbell your chest doesn’t allow much of a stretched position. And while good range of motion can be obtained with dumbbells, as you get stronger the size of the dumbbells present the same problem that the barbell has, not to mention the awkwardness of getting them in position to press.

Of course, if you have access to one of a number of different decline chest machines that range of motion could be minimized or eliminated.

I have a Powertec Multi-station and I feel the decline press the most in the chest vs flat or incline. I also feel less in the front shoulders with this angle. I feel no range of motion issue with it. I still do the other movements from time to time for variation.