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Incline vs. Flat Bench- A Few Questions

Hey Folks,

I had a few questions for everyone.

To preface, when I started working out at 14-15, my parents bought one of those home gym machines that had 3 different stations with a dozen different exercises. The bar on the chest press was set just a little off, the left part of the bar being set a little closer to the back rest then the right…

Over time, I think using the machine created an imbalance with my left pectoral muscle being slightly stronger and slightly larger. This was something magnified by the fact that I’m left handed.

Once I realized what was happening, I switched to free weights, but have never fully been able to correct the problem (I’m now 24)… Whenever I do flat bench (with a barbell or dumbbells) it just doesn’t feels quite right.

It seems like my left side is consistently stronger, and even if i’m using the same weighted dumbbells in both hands, it seems like it gets a little more pump (and the entire thing is sort of distracting).

For whatever reason, the problem is not discernible when I do inclined bench (even if its only slightly inclined- which I generally prefer). Inclined bench just feels much more natural.

Is using inclined bench as a staple vs flat bench advisable/not advisable for any reasons? (I augment the training by a combo of other moves regardless- including dips and push ups…where for whatever reason, the problem is still not apparent/distracting)

Thanks,
RS

[quote]MW2006 wrote:
Over time, I think using the machine created an imbalance with my left pectoral muscle being slightly stronger and slightly larger. This was something magnified by the fact that I’m left handed.[/quote]

That’s absolutely normal. The overwhelming majority of people have one side noticeably stronger and/or bigger than the other. It will correct itself over time, if you focus on dumbbells for a while and, this is the important part, cater to the weaker side.

Do not add extra weight, sets, or reps. Do what you can for the weaker side, even though it’ll seem “easy” for the dominant side.

That’s 100% fine. For the past year or two, I’ve been going away from flat with myself and clients, and there’ve been no negative issues with strength or size. Work your incline and you’re overhead lifting, and you’re good to go.

depends on your goals.incline bench, and flat bench are 2 completely different exericses.Flat bench is used for adding size to your entire upper body, while incline is mainly a chest and shoulder exercise.

My advice is that you dont drop the flat bench, but focus on getting stronger on it.This will hopefully even out any strength imbalances you have.

wrist curls and the clean-and-jerk are two completely different exercises.

incline and flat bench are very close to the same exercises. unless your goal is to become a competive powerlifter, incline should be fine.

Dumbells could help even things out as one side can’t help the other

[quote]LiamBrady wrote:
wrist curls and the clean-and-jerk are two completely different exercises.

incline and flat bench are very close to the same exercises. unless your goal is to become a competive powerlifter, incline should be fine.

Dumbells could help even things out as one side can’t help the other[/quote]

no. Flat bench uses the lats, shoulders, triceps, chest and biceps, as well as the ,upper middle back and traps. Incline bench use mostly chest shoulder and triceps, thats why most bodybuilders focus on it since they already have a very developed upper body, that would take away from chest involvement in flat.

And IMHO, i dont see how dumbells will ven out the problem.On a bar, the weight is evenly distributed on both sides, while with dumbells his weak side will give in first.

Flat bench does not use biceps.

Presumably he’s doing rows and pullups which directly work the lats and traps and won’t be adversely affected by the marginal work they get in the bench press (and incline bench).

You bring up a good point on dumbbells vs. barbells. Just getting off the weird bench things should even out.

[quote]steel_12 wrote:

And IMHO, i dont see how dumbells will ven out the problem.On a bar, the weight is evenly distributed on both sides, while with dumbells his weak side will give in first.[/quote]

I think dumbbells could help. Isn’t that the idea? The weak side gives in first and then you stop. On the bar it is obviously not evenly distributed, or he wouldn’t have an imbalance.

With dumbbells it has to be evenly distributed. You are pushing up X weight with one hand and the same X weight with the other.