T Nation

Normal Incline Bench?


Just started doing incline benching, how many degrees should the bench be? 45? Less? (from the ground)


The higher the degree of the incline, the more it hits the shoulders instead of the pecs. Lower the angle if you want to work the chest more. Keep it higher if you want to work the shoulders more.


personally I like to vary the angle, just dont come too close to 90 or 180. working your muscles at different angles is always a good way to build muscle.


If you really want to hit the upper pec (pec minor), use an angle between 15 and 30 degrees, a wide grip, and a straight line bar path to your clavicle. This can be very hard on the shoulders so you might want to use these on a medium/light day. Also, the delts, tris, and pec major really take over after you are about half way up. So, using those 1-1/2 reps CT just talked about or using only the lower 1/2 of the movement will fry the upper pecs.

In any event, I would not recommend incline benching above a 35 degree incline. I believe the stress on the shoulder is just too great if using any more than 60%1RM. Also, try using an 80 degree angle for shoulder/military presses. This will of course hit the front/side delts hard, but this slight angle will also recruit the upper pecs.



Thanks, i'v had shoulder problems for a couple of years, i'll go light on the incline.


I say ADDRESS the problem and dont dodge it. ROW ROW ROW. Also external rotations etc.

Id look up an article on shoulders by Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey and get that prob solved.


Change the incline angle every 3 weeks.


My understanding is that the pec minor lies beneath the pec major and functions to depress and protract the scapula.

The upper pec is still part of the pec major.

Feck, I hope I'm right in case Cressey is watching :slightly_smiling:


I have seen a doctor about the shoulder, not sure what that kind of doctor is called in english, but she seemed to konw what she was talking about, said that nothing had been torn off and that i should train until it went away basicly. For some reason not doing movements behind the head. Military press behind the head that is. Anyway, it has gotten better, so i trust what she says.


This is from T-Nation's own Don Alessi - according to him, incline pec movements do hit the pec minor. Although, it is below the pec major, so it's direct hypertrophy may not make the chest look noticiably bigger. But, this will assist the pec major making your chest and shoulders stronger. As was mentioned, an equal or more attention to pulling from various angles is a must.


"A: Exaggerated, incline chest fly, pronated grip. This pronated hand position limits the involvement of the lateral deltoid fibers, thereby forcing pec minor isolation. Position yourself supine on an incline bench. Grasp the dumbbells and "kick" them on to the upper chest position using your knees. Press to elbow locked position over the upper chest. As you descend slowly, stretch the upper pec fibers by pulling the elbows down and back to your ears. Pause momentarily before returning to the contracted, elbow extended position."


But you referred to the upper pec as pec minor

Which is wrong. Which is all he pointed out. Interesting info though


Yes, I misspoke. There is no upper, middle,or lower pec, just the pec. Decline, flat, and incline all stimulate the entire pec. But, some studies have shown decline to stimulate the pec the most.