How important is incline press?

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Jungledoc
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Post by Jungledoc » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:00 pm

Well, we're working from different assumptions. I don't bench for big pecs, nor do I press for big delts. I bench in order to be able to push heavy things away from myself, and press in order to be able to lift heavy things over head. Incline contributes a little to both of these.

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Post by nygmen » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:40 pm

Well, as I said in my first post in this thread.

I disagree with what was said and feel it contributes greatly to both lifts, physique goals, and injury prevention by way of avoiding imbalances.

Again, this is just my opinion.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:23 pm

In everyday activities you're more likely to push something horizontally or at an angle upward rather than straight up. Incline presses definitely have a place in your workout.

Years ago, I worked out with this fellow who had a routine of throwing sandbags forward, upward (not straight!) and with twists to the side. Sort of like a poor man's medicine ball. Unlike most upper body pushes, you're on your feet rather than lying on a bench. Real world stuff.

It was a good workout - but I doubt if I could have made it as a shotputter. :wink:

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Post by KenDowns » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:29 pm

Well I guess it wouldn't be the internet if two members whose opinions I respect did not disagree completely :)

But seriously, thanks for taking the time. I do read these answers carefully and try to think about them before answering myself.

So I'm going to leave it in but as a low priority. If pressed for time I will skip it. My main reason for this I guess is that it is not a core, while bench and press are both cores, so they get priority.

If and when I start "sculpting" my fabulous rippling-muscle physique (ha ha, that's still a bit over the horizon) I'll ask again and, as always, try to pay close attention to the answers.

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Post by Ironman » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:32 pm

For bodybuilding, I think it is critically important. Overhead press isn't all that important. Unless your front delts are lagging of course.

For powerlifting I think incline is better. I think that will do more for your bench press than overhead will.

For general strength, I also think incline is better

For basic fitness, I really don't think it matters one way or the other.

For Olympic weight lifting, I think overhead press is extremely important, where as incline doesn't really matter.


So the question is what are you doing?

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Post by bam » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:15 am

Looks like the time has come to whip out the Reverse Grip Bench Press
Most people think that to develop the upper chest you need to focus on the incline bench press. A recent study however shows that muscle activity of the upper pectoralis during an incline press increased by only 5% as compared to the flat bench press. Muscle activity in the front deltoids increased by 85%.

The answer for increased muscle activity in the upper chest lies in the flat bench. Instead of a standard grip try using an underhand grip in an exercise called the reverse grip bench press. Be sure to use a wider than shoulder width grip. This will maximize the involvement of the upper chest and minimize the involvement of the triceps.

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Post by KPj » Mon Feb 14, 2011 5:13 am

Why don't you try going middle of the road. Hit your pressing "strength" via flat bench, and get your volume via incline DB bench....... :grin:

I'm really not a BB but I done this with someone with decent size and training experience and it worked. However, different things work for different people.

Bottom line is we don't know what you're training for.... If you're trying to get a big bench then there's loads of things you can do to help that. Incline BB bench is one of them.... If you're trying to get a bigger chest and feel upper chest is lagging then you need to attack it more and various incline based movements would be the obvious answer, really.....

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Post by robertscott » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:11 am

yup I agree with strength work done on the flat bench, and volume stuff done on an incline.

Neglecting your upper chest is a surefire way to get a rubbish looking chest.

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Post by KPj » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:19 am

As an aside, I trained another BB "type" who had a strangely well developed upper chest despite not really doing much on incline. I thought he was just some kind of genetic freak but then I read that Gullotine Press gives you loads of upper pec activation. Then I tried it, with both the BB types i'm referring to and I jumped on it to see what it was like, and got a major pump in JUST the upper pecs. Then it all made sense, for me anyway, because the one with the good upper chest done all his flat benching (BB and DB) with elbows mega flared, practically up to his ears.... The take home there is not to do gullotine style pressing unless you want a great upper chest at the expense of your shoulders but, to hit the inclines in some form or other if that's what you're concerned with.

Not really a point, just an "FYI".

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Post by KenDowns » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:46 pm

Ironman wrote:For bodybuilding, I think it is critically important. Overhead press isn't all that important. Unless your front delts are lagging of course.

For powerlifting I think incline is better. I think that will do more for your bench press than overhead will.

For general strength, I also think incline is better

For basic fitness, I really don't think it matters one way or the other.

For Olympic weight lifting, I think overhead press is extremely important, where as incline doesn't really matter.


So the question is what are you doing?
Combo basic fitness and general strength, leaning more to basic fitness. This puts us more toward not mattering.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:51 pm

I haven't done inclines in years now, and so far I haven't missed them. The combination of Barbell Bench Presses and Barbell Military Presses works well for me. However, it's not a one-size-fits all thing.

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Post by Nevage » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:53 pm

It really does depend on genetics as well, just the movement of pressing incorporates so many muscles some being more dominant than others depending on genetics. I often seen some guys benching like double me, with not much of a chest to show for it, but mega triceps. The only chest stuff I do is upper chest movements because if that was on par with my lower chest I'd just maintain for a year or so and concentrate on other bodyparts.

I don't think you will really know how your chest responds unless you've been lifting for a while. I don't know many people with a better upper chest development than lower though.

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Post by KenDowns » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:14 pm

bam wrote:Looks like the time has come to whip out the Reverse Grip Bench Press
Most people think that to develop the upper chest you need to focus on the incline bench press. A recent study however shows that muscle activity of the upper pectoralis during an incline press increased by only 5% as compared to the flat bench press. Muscle activity in the front deltoids increased by 85%.

The answer for increased muscle activity in the upper chest lies in the flat bench. Instead of a standard grip try using an underhand grip in an exercise called the reverse grip bench press. Be sure to use a wider than shoulder width grip. This will maximize the involvement of the upper chest and minimize the involvement of the triceps.
This sure messed me up.

I tried what I figured was a very light weight, 75 lbs. Did 3 sets of 8. Wasn't sure of form, but went slowly trying to work it out. Felt no stretch or pull in chest. Then about 10 minutes later started getting quite sore in left side. Actually thought I was having chest pains :eek:

Then after 10 minutes decided to start bench. Last time I did 135-145-155-165 for 8-8-5-2. So I threw on the 135 to warm up, and could barely crank out 6. This freaked me out. Going to wait an hour and try again.

But anyway, I liked the video, and will keep experimenting with this one.

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Post by bam » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:41 am

I tried them for awhile but found that they're too rough on the elbows.... I seem to get better bang for the buck with bw dips. But they do isolate the "upper pec" -- no doubt about it!

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:40 am

KenDowns wrote:I tried what I figured was a very light weight, 75 lbs. Did 3 sets of 8. Wasn't sure of form, but went slowly trying to work it out. Felt no stretch or pull in chest. Then about 10 minutes later started getting quite sore in left side. Actually thought I was having chest pains :eek:

Then after 10 minutes decided to start bench. Last time I did 135-145-155-165 for 8-8-5-2. So I threw on the 135 to warm up, and could barely crank out 6. This freaked me out. Going to wait an hour and try again.

But anyway, I liked the video, and will keep experimenting with this one.
It's not reasonable to think that you can to 3x8 of a bench variant, then jump right back into what you did fresh a couple of days ago! And 135 is hardly a warm-up for the weights you're lifting. Even many of the "big boys" start their bench warm-up with an empty bar. Try something like 10x45-5x95-3x125, and then on into your work sets. Dave Tate has an article either on EFTS or T Nation about warming up for the bench. He starts with many very light sets.

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