T Nation

Poundages in Flat vs Incline Bench

I can only lift approximately 5% more weight benching flat vs an incline bench. I’m pretty sure that the spread should be wider.

What do you think are the culprits?

  • Relatively strong shoulders (I wish)
  • Weak upper back
  • Weak lats
  • Lack of leg drive
  • All of the above

Others?

Thanks,
-J

Do you bounce the weight off your chest while doing flat benches? Lift your hips off the bench?

dude my incline and flat are the same exact weight. but i’m just weak in general.

[quote]4est wrote:
Do you bounce the weight off your chest while doing flat benches? Lift your hips off the bench?[/quote]

Neither. My form is very strict (plus those two no-nos would increase my flat bench, the opposite of what I am experiencing vis-a-vis inclines).

I’m in a similar situation. I attribute it to doing alot more overhead pressing (in the past) than bench pressing–caused more of a carryover to incline than flat due to the similarity.
Have you done more shoulders than chest? I’d figure that to be the culprit assuming form is equal in both lifts. Was thinking tris but I think lockout in both incline and flat are equally tri-driven. Though not 100% sure

Why is this important to you? I think you’re over analysing things.

[quote]cap’nsalty wrote:
Why is this important to you? I think you’re over analysing things.[/quote]

It is important to me because it may point out either technique flaws or a neglected muscle group/exercise. Believe me, this is not paralysis by analysis.

I have never done a lot of OH pressing so I’m guessing that my shoulders are not a major factor.

Are you maybe doing inclines first in the same workout so that you’re already down the fatigue curve by the time you starting lifting flat?

–Tiribulus->

Who cares? Just lift your best with good technique and you’ll get stronger in all of them.

Man, you try to understand your lifts better and people say “who cares”, like what is this, a fitness site?

My guess is you have a form or technique error in the bench. Where in the ROM on the bench do you fail? Is the 5% difference on a max or a set of reps? Do you keep your elbows tucked in or flared out when you bench?

Your guesses match my thoughts, stronger shoulders compared to weaker chest/lats but it is a little hard to tell. Could also be weaker tris. I think most people have a difference of 10-20% on the incline vs regular bench.

[quote]JuliusA wrote:
I can only lift approximately 5% more weight benching flat vs an incline bench. I’m pretty sure that the spread should be wider. -J[/quote]

My flat bench is way ahead of my incline. The difference on a 1x5 is 90lbs! I haven’t done much overhead work until recently, so I suspect that is the culprit. For many years I’ve focused much of my energy on benching, because that’s the first thing that everyone asks isn’t it? So I’m betting if you focus more attention on the lift you want to improve, it will come.

LJ

My incline bench is higher than my flat.

[quote]nptitim wrote:
Man, you try to understand your lifts better and people say “who cares”, like what is this, a fitness site?
[/quote]

Amen. Finally someone on the same wavelength.

My whole flat set up is a powerlifting setup, whereas for the incline I just plop down on the bench and press - that means that all of the other shit I do (arch back, tighten shoulder blades and lats, drive with the legs, elbows tucked, flaring only with 1/3 of the way to go) isn’t doing much. Kind of disappointing…

Anyway, I figure my shoulders are just strong comparatively speaking and my traps and lats are relatively weaker. Lockout is probably the same for both movements.

[quote]nptitim wrote:
Man, you try to understand your lifts better and people say “who cares”, like what is this, a fitness site?
[/quote]

And I refer you to today’s tip:

Today’s tip comes from Dave Tate:

Bust It

Everyone wants to major in the minor shit.

We’re the most overeducated, under-producing group of trainers and coaches ever. The one thing that’s never changed is that you still have to work hard.

And that is why I don’t care about the difference between someone’s incline and flat press. When it matters, I will give a shit. Until then, I won’t.

This helpful post was brought to you by Sxio, the letter Q and the number 7.

[quote]Sxio wrote:
We’re the most overeducated, under-producing group of trainers and coaches ever. The one thing that’s never changed is that you still have to work hard.

And that is why I don’t care about the difference between someone’s incline and flat press. When it matters, I will give a shit. Until then, I won’t.

This helpful post was brought to you by Sxio, the letter Q and the number 7. [/quote]

It should be obvious from this guy’s post that he does train hard and he is trying to improve his bench, a pretty worth goal IMO. Trying to figure out what to do to help it is also a worthy goal. While I totally agree with Dave’s words, they apply to the general population and probably a small-medium percentage on this site. But if it is a given that someone is training hard then clearly there is some worth to trying to figure out the problem. And if you flat is almost the same as your incline (or worse as per some responses on here) that is a major problem and you have some kind of imbalance. Just like if you could stiff legged deadlift more than conventional deadlift or good morning more than you squat, something is up.

Training hard is great, even if you aren’t on the best program, and I would rather do that than train light and smart. But training hard and smart is a killer combo, I think even Dave Tate would agree with that.

im about a 25 percent difference lol.

[quote]JuliusA wrote:
I can only lift approximately 5% more weight benching flat vs an incline bench. I’m pretty sure that the spread should be wider.

What do you think are the culprits?

  • Relatively strong shoulders (I wish)
  • Weak upper back
  • Weak lats
  • Lack of leg drive
  • All of the above

Others?

Thanks,
-J[/quote]

Drink milk and squat.

I have a similar issue, but it only presents itself with dumbbells. With a barbell I can press 350 flat and 275 incline both for 2 reps. With DB’s I can press 115s on inclines for 5, 105s for flat. Both are done with the same form and the first exercise in a workout when I train them. Needless to say, Im just as confused as you guys are.

[quote]JuliusA wrote:
I can only lift approximately 5% more weight benching flat vs an incline bench. I’m pretty sure that the spread should be wider.

What do you think are the culprits?

  • Relatively strong shoulders (I wish)
  • Weak upper back
  • Weak lats
  • Lack of leg drive
  • All of the above

Others?

Thanks,
-J[/quote]

OK you said you take a power lifting setup, maybe you would do better flat- back with no arch. I incline 235max and flat bench 290max. I do arch my back for max outs and it seems to add 10-15 pounds, but I also like to bench with no arch elbows flaired because that hits my chest alot more, also my arm span is 80" at a height of 74 1/2", do you have short arms?

[quote]daniel d wrote:
Drink milk and squat.[/quote]

Wow, that’s brilliant. You don’t know anything about my training so your advice is useless. (I squat 3x a week btw).