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Incline Barbell Bench Press Tips

Exercise Function:
The incline barbell bench press exercise will help build mass and strength in primarily the upper pectorals and front deltoids.  It will also develop the triceps to a lesser degree.

 

Description:
Similar to a standard bench press the incline press is a great chest developer.  However, by changing the angle of the action you place a greater degree of stress on the upper chest and front deltoids.  This exercise is typically harder than standard bench presses for most people and a bit trickier to perfect.  With a bit of work and patience it can become a useful tool to add mass to the upper chest and front delts.  Plan to use lighter weights and get a spotter if available.  

Performance:
Begin by lying on the incline bench with your feet spread shoulder width and placed firmly on the floor.  Your grip should be medium or even slightly narrow to minimize stress on the shoulder joint and rotator cuff.  Your hands should be wrapped fully around the bar.  Using your palm only to hold the bar will stress the wrist and put you in great danger of the weight slipping out of your grasp.

Lift the bar off the rack and bring it out over your upper chest.  If you have the luxury of a spotter have them lift off the weight and help you bring it out over the chest before they let go.  This will add years to your heavy benching career by taking great stress off the shoulder joint as well as decrease the chance of injury.   

Once the bar has been moved over your upper chest you then lower the bar with control to the chest just above the sternum.  There are two important things to remember here.  First you need to lower the bar on the slow side and fully under control.  Dropping the weight too fast will require great energy to stop the bar and return it back to the starting position.  Brining the weight down too slow will also rob you of valuable energy.  Simply bring the bar down under control to the chest and then pause for a brief moment before pushing the weight back up.  The second thing to remember is to bring the weight down comfortably on the chest just above the sternum.  

When lowering the bar you must also try to keep your arms tucked into your sides and do not flare your elbows out when lowering or pushing the bar back up.  Breathe in as you lower the bar and either hold your breath as you push or exhale slightly as you drive the bar upwards as fast as you possibly can to the starting position.  Force equals mass times acceleration.  The faster you can move the weight (using proper form) the more force you will develop.  Of course, as a beginner, you will need to focus on form for a while before you can really push the speed envelope.  Unless you are under direction to attempt a different routine always use a full range of motion, keep the arms in, pause at the bottom and keep your elbows tucked to your sides.  There are partial exercise techniques and variations of every exercise that can be explored, however, herein we are trying to instruct on pure fundamental form.

A modest back arch while tightening the back and abdomen at the same time pressing your feet into the floor is recommended for everyone.  A more pronounced arch may be used to maximize your mechanical advantage to press extremely heavy weights.  You should try and maintain contact with your buttocks and upper back to the bench at all times.  Feet will press into the floor but not move.

 

Things to Avoid:
Avoid using the palms only grip with the thumbs tucked under if you value your teeth and want to avoid crushing your throat or ribcage.  Avoid a wide grip unless you are advanced and are specialty training as this really stresses the joints and rotator cuff.  Avoid bouncing the weight off your chest by dropping it fast and popping it back up using momentum.  This not only can damage the joints and rib cage it avoids using the muscles in the way they are supposed to be used.  Avoid flaring the elbows out and bringing the bar down on the upper chest as you lower and raise the bar and your shoulder joints will thank you.  At first with this exercise the weight will want to travel out and away from the bench.  Until you find the right groove or path of travel a spotter is invaluable. Be sure to visit our home page for more bench-press routine information.

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Before attempting any exercises, programs, routines, or modifying your current diet/supplement program you must get approval from a licensed medical practitioner. Any methods or advice given in this web site must be reviewed with your physician. Before attempting any new exercises or routines a full physical examination is highly recommended.

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