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Barbell Incline press vs. Barbell Bench press

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  1. #1
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    Barbell Incline press vs. Barbell Bench press






    I am curious to know what is a better overall upper body strength test? I always thought the bench was, but it seems like you have to have more control on the incline ( thus using more muscles? ). Also, what pecentage of weight from the bench press should one be able to press on the incline? I can bench press 290 lbs, but can only incline press 205 lbs. Does this seem accurate for someone trying to achieve an all-around type physique?

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    I have always wondered why most people can press more from the flat bench than from the inclined. Which muscle is weaker in the inclined position? The old argument was that you were using upper pecs for the incline, but that horse seems to have been beaten to death here before.

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    Incline is weaker because it uses your shoulders more.

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    negative

    the above statement is incorrect. Incline bench is weaker because you are using mostly chest muscles. The combination of anterior deltoids (shoulders) and chest muscles allow for a much stronger Flat Bench. Flat bench isn't even a direct chest exercise...... do standing presses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nike2323 View Post
    the above statement is incorrect. Incline bench is weaker because you are using mostly chest muscles. The combination of anterior deltoids (shoulders) and chest muscles allow for a much stronger Flat Bench. Flat bench isn't even a direct chest exercise...... do standing presses.
    wait..so you mean flat bench press isnt that great for chest..and standing presses are better for chest..? i gotta be misunderstanding you somehow. im lost now..

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    Quote Originally Posted by nike2323 View Post
    the above statement is incorrect. Incline bench is weaker because you are using mostly chest muscles. The combination of anterior deltoids (shoulders) and chest muscles allow for a much stronger Flat Bench. Flat bench isn't even a direct chest exercise...... do standing presses.
    You are wrong. When you incline, you use your shoulders more, and your chest less. Why do you think almost everyone can flat bench press more than they can incline press? The chest is much more powerful than your shoulders. As the angle increases from horizontal to vertical the pectoral muscles are used less, and the shoulders take over. when the angle makes it to full vertical, the chest is used almost none, while the shoulders are doing all of the work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihateschoolmt View Post
    Incline is weaker because it uses your shoulders more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpa55 View Post
    I have always wondered why most people can press more from the flat bench than from the inclined. Which muscle is weaker in the inclined position? The old argument was that you were using upper pecs for the incline, but that horse seems to have been beaten to death here before.
    This has been explained a million times. The upper, middle, and lower pectoral muscle regions are all connected at the same insertion point, which means for all practical purposes, there is no upper, lower, ect. You can't work just upper or lower chest. That is old nonsense that just won't go away.

    The only thing that changes is the angle at which you press recruits different stabilizer muscles, and entirely different muscle groups.
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    If you disagree or don't I really like to go the whole spectrum. I like doing Dips, Incline, Flat, Military Press, etc. The more you go vertical the more you use your shoulders (as had already been said). I also like doing some decline work, as well. I can generally do as much on a decline bench as I can flat, if not a little more.
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    Upper outer pec thread revisited?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoneCrusher View Post
    Upper outer pec thread revisited?
    Unfortunately.
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    hm. so incline press would be a good exercise on shoulder day then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delusional View Post
    hm. so incline press would be a good exercise on shoulder day then?
    Well, try to get away from thinking in terms of body parts. That was one thing that took me a while to do, but when I did, my training got better. Try to think of training days as movements, because the body doesn't understand parts, only movements. If you were doing pushing movements (vertical pressing, horizontal pressing, and arm extensions), then incline would be fine. But, I never do incline. I figure if you do flat bench pressing and vertical pressing, I'm covered. Incline is still a great exercise, bit it doesn't fit into my training style.
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    apart from that flat bench press uses lats also (atleast for me), thats why its possible to press more.

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    Listen to Kelju on that - get off of training your bodyparts. I've made 200% more progress in the gym when I started focusing on a good push/pull full body/compound 3 day a week exercise routine than I ever did doing a 5 day per week body part split.

    I still stand by that you need to be in incredible shape before isolation is needed to bring you to the next level. The exception is bringing a lagging muscle up to speed if needed - for example, my right leg is way weaker than my left leg, so I throw in some isolation work for it to make sure my left leg isn't compensating for weakness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by r00kie View Post
    apart from that flat bench press uses lats also (atleast for me), thats why its possible to press more.
    Lats are not used to bench press.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    Lats are not used to bench press.
    lats internally rotate the shoulder. so, they do play a roll in bench pressing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    Lats are not used to bench press.
    Yeppers, they do. Even more so if you use the powerlifting press motion (elbows tucked) as compared to the bodybuilding press motion (elbows flared). At least i feel them more with them tucked, which may not mean much

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    Quote Originally Posted by P-funk View Post
    lats internally rotate the shoulder. so, they do play a roll in bench pressing.
    Wow! I stand corrected. Thanks for straightening that out for me.
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    If you take your barbell off the rests without your spotter doing it for you, then you are using your lats to pull the weight to the point over your chest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buening View Post
    If you take your barbell off the rests without your spotter doing it for you, then you are using your lats to pull the weight to the point over your chest.
    decatur eh? i live in pekin, decatur rings a bell but i dont think i know where that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelJu View Post
    Wow! I stand corrected. Thanks for straightening that out for me.
    you are welcome :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delusional View Post
    decatur eh? i live in pekin, decatur rings a bell but i dont think i know where that is.
    It's an hour east of Springfield. Basically in the middle of Champaign-Urbana and Springfield

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    .....

    I would like to know how much or how often you all workout per week?
    A person doesn't need to do flat bench....it is not a direct chest exercise...in fact it is not a direct exercise for ANY one muscle. Flat bench is best for shoulder/tricep work. These are the "weak" muscles in that movement which give out before your chest does...if you do a set of dumbells on a flat bench as a pre-exhaust...then immediately go to decline or incline.....you have much greater chest growth/development.

    High volume advocates love the "more is better" principle. If you follow this thinking then why don't you just sleep and eat in the gym and workout 6 hours a day, 7 days a week....

    If anybody thinks differently of what I have stated.....try substituting the above workout for one month and you will experience better results in half the time spent in the gym.

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    Both Are Needed

    Hi.

    I always find the same discussions about the efficacy of different exercises. Incline and Flat barbell press are not comparable because they work different muscular parts, therefore both are needed to create a whole effective system.

    Remember that a whole system is much more important than its parts.


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    Quote Originally Posted by nike2323 View Post
    I would like to know how much or how often you all workout per week?
    A person doesn't need to do flat bench....it is not a direct chest exercise...in fact it is not a direct exercise for ANY one muscle. Flat bench is best for shoulder/tricep work. These are the "weak" muscles in that movement which give out before your chest does...if you do a set of dumbells on a flat bench as a pre-exhaust...then immediately go to decline or incline.....you have much greater chest growth/development.

    High volume advocates love the "more is better" principle. If you follow this thinking then why don't you just sleep and eat in the gym and workout 6 hours a day, 7 days a week....

    If anybody thinks differently of what I have stated.....try substituting the above workout for one month and you will experience better results in half the time spent in the gym.
    So let me get this straight. You say that the flat bench is not a direct chest exercise and that it works the delts more, yet you recommend doing inclines for better chest development even though inclines work the delts more than flat bench. You will essentially be fatiguing your shoulders (which are weaker than pecs) in the flat bench and then blasting them with inclines. In my opinion, declines are pretty worthless as they have a reduced ROM and doesn't play nice with the shoulder joint. They are good for a variation every once in awhile, but not a cornerstone for any chest exercise program. Flat bench with inclines will produce a fuller chest based on my experience, that i will agree with you.

    If you want to kill your pecs, do dumbbell flies first to pre-exhaust them and then go to the flat bench. I guarantee most people will fatigue in the chest before their shoulders with this method. That is assuming you are into pre-exhaustion. I personally do the reverse, as try to move the heaviest weight first and then finish the chest off with isolation. But again as stated above, don't think bodypart workouts because if you stress over isolating any muscle you'll never reach your potential. I generally work out 3-4 days a week, depending on the program i'm using.

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    to the above message

    well i'm no expert by any means....

    In my recent studies with 5 actual trainees working under my direct supervision... i have noticed that the soreness described by my trainees when doing flat becnh press was more in the shoulders and triceps than in the chest.

    I have also personally followed this routine for 3 months now and have yet to go back to flat and have measured results from preexhaust flat dumb...incline.

    Some people judge the effectiveness of a workout by "how sore they got"... i'm telling you since i began training 6 years ago I get the same amount of soreness from 1 high intensity set that I was getting with 3 high volume sets.

    the ONE result that is constant across the board is weight/strength increase in all subjects

    So far H.I.T has produced results and that's what i'm standing by.

    If you have some friends or relatives that are willing to take your word for it, prescribe a training routine for them and track the results.

    I'm curious to know if a 3-4 day a week program will produce the same results.

  28. #28
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    Don't forget that there is a greater range of motion used when incline pressing relative to the flat bench press.
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    suck on this

    Secondly, the path of bar movement down to the lower chest level leads to shoulder extension instead of horizontal abduction. The fan shaped muscle of the Pectoralis Major is optimally taxed with horizontal adduction (i.e. the motion you make when you do a pec deck machine). With bench pressing to the lower chest level, the elbows are closer to the torso and the Deltoid takes more workload instead of the chest

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    Quote Originally Posted by nike2323 View Post
    I would like to know how much or how often you all workout per week?
    A person doesn't need to do flat bench....it is not a direct chest exercise...in fact it is not a direct exercise for ANY one muscle. Flat bench is best for shoulder/tricep work. These are the "weak" muscles in that movement which give out before your chest does...if you do a set of dumbells on a flat bench as a pre-exhaust...then immediately go to decline or incline.....you have much greater chest growth/development.

    High volume advocates love the "more is better" principle. If you follow this thinking then why don't you just sleep and eat in the gym and workout 6 hours a day, 7 days a week....

    If anybody thinks differently of what I have stated.....try substituting the above workout for one month and you will experience better results in half the time spent in the gym.

    I workout 3.5-4.5 times a week, with each session lasting 50 minutes to an hour. I workout with very high intensity low volume style of training which works well for me.

    Bench pressing does not recruit your deltoids (shoulder movement) more than your pectoral (chest movement).

    Barbell Bench Press


    No one is arguing that shoulders aren't used. Shoulder, triceps, and chest is all used, but it is a primary chest exercise

    Barbell Incline Bench Press

    As the angle goes from horizontal to vertical, you recruit the deltoids more.

    Somebody back me up on this.
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