T Nation

Lagging Incline Bench


#1

How much can you incline bench vs. flat bench?

It's common to have a worse incline bench because it involves the weaker upper pecs and front delts. Has anyone made progress in closing the gap that can offer suggestions?


#2

On chest day, switch barbell flat bench for barbell incline as your first exercise.

As your secondary exercise you can do incline dumbbell bench (if your that far behind) or flat dumbbell bench.

You could switch that around every 4th week also to prevent yourself from stalling.


#3

Upper chest has always been a priority to me for years and I feel like I have done everything known to man to no avail, so I am interested in any suggestions.

In the past I have tried always doing incline first, sometimes incline flyes first then incline press.I have done every angle of incline that my bench will allow, I have tried taking the bar to my neck, upper chest, not all the way down and stopping at different levels when lifting up. I have tried elbows wide, narrow,and between. Needless to say I have done DBs too.
I am strongest at a 30 degree incline with a grip width just beyond shoulders, but I don’t think it hits my upper chest the best.


#4

I don’t know if this will work for you guys, but switching to a suicide grip for bench/incline has really helped with size. It seems to change up the leverage and engages my chest a lot more. Whenever I did thumbs around the bar it seemed like I was using a ton of shoulders. If you can’t think of anything else, I suggest trying that.


#5

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
I don’t know if this will work for you guys, but switching to a suicide grip for bench/incline has really helped with size. It seems to change up the leverage and engages my chest a lot more. Whenever I did thumbs around the bar it seemed like I was using a ton of shoulders. If you can’t think of anything else, I suggest trying that.[/quote]

What grip width do you use and do you bring the bar to your upper chest or higher?


#6

improving shoulder strength through overhead pressing has done wonders for closing the gap between my flat and incline bench press.

I also like to use elastic bands which I can attach to either side of the bar under the bench to add a sort of dynamic resistance.

I also like to incline benchpress to the neck.


#7

pec deck + high incline wide grip smith gave me some good growth on my upper pecs, btw by wide i mean my hands couldnt possibly go farther as the machine stops it


#8

[quote]forlife wrote:
How much can you incline bench vs. flat bench?

It’s common to have a worse incline bench because it involves the weaker upper pecs and front delts. Has anyone made progress in closing the gap that can offer suggestions?[/quote]

How much of a disparity are you talking about here between incline/flat? You’re never going to have an incline press that is stronger than flat press typically there is a 15-20% difference depending on the bench incline you use.

Apart from dips heavy low incline dumbell presses are the only chest pressing movement I have done for the last three months and they are working great for both strength and chest development - I’de recommend them.


#9

Incline presses are also a longer range of motion than a flat press. That’s another reason they are rarely as strong. I got the idea to do incline barbell press first in my workouts from watching a video of Branch Warren training chest, and since then it has improved a lot.


#10

[quote]JamFly wrote:
How much of a disparity are you talking about here between incline/flat? You’re never going to have an incline press that is stronger than flat press typically there is a 15-20% difference depending on the bench incline you use.

Apart from dips heavy low incline dumbell presses are the only chest pressing movement I have done for the last three months and they are working great for both strength and chest development - I’de recommend them.[/quote]

My incline bench is around 80% of my flat bench, which is in line with your estimate.

Thanks all for the suggestions, I would like to close that gap a bit more in the next few months.


#11

I like most of you guys have done most, if not all, of the above listed techniques to improve my size and strength on incline. I tried various grips, dumbbells, smith machine, hammer strength machines, switching up from barbell incline and dumbbell incline, and so on, and on, and on, and on…

The best thing that myself and my workout partners could come up with is to split chest up into 2 days. We do an “incline” chest day and a “flat” chest day (each day also including decline exercises).

By splitting it up and having 1 day to focus the majority of our workout on incline and blast the upper pecs with bar, dumbbell, flies, hammer strength (we do this innovative press in which we sit sideways in the hammer strength presses -flat, incline, & decline- and press up with the range of motion of the machine and get a wicked good squeeze at the top of the lift), crossovers, etc. I have been able to see substantial growth and strength increase in my upper chest.

We do pretty much the same thing for our “flat” chest day as well. We use various techniques of going heavy for low reps, and going light for higher reps… all in 4-6 week cycles. We do this because I feel that if I do the same workout week after week, month after month, etc… I get stuck in ruts and switch it up in order to keep my results coming. This may go against what a lot of others feel as “proper” fundamentals, but I feel that bodybuilding is about finding what works for you and sticking to it.

Nonetheless, you might try splitting up your chest routine into 2 days (1 early in the week, and one 2-3 days later, thus having 2 or 3 days between each chest workout) and just blast your upper chest with everything you can throw at it.


#12

[quote]bwhitwell wrote:
waylanderxx wrote:
I don’t know if this will work for you guys, but switching to a suicide grip for bench/incline has really helped with size. It seems to change up the leverage and engages my chest a lot more. Whenever I did thumbs around the bar it seemed like I was using a ton of shoulders. If you can’t think of anything else, I suggest trying that.

What grip width do you use and do you bring the bar to your upper chest or higher?[/quote]

I grip it a thumbs length from the knurling or w/e it’s called and yeah I go to my upper chest.


#13

I’ve always had great results doing incline flys before my presses.


#14

Smith machine incline seems to hit me better, I guess the defined ROM takes the shoulders out it for me. My upper chest has lacked for some time and since introducing smith inclines I’ve seen improvement.