Main Muscle Worked: Chest
What is the Barbell incline bench press?
However, although it can seem pretty simple, there is more complexity to the barbell incline bench press than many people realise as they may not know how to bench press with proper form.
The barbell incline bench press works the top of the chest and the front of your shoulders harder than the standard exercise, boosting the strength of your muscles and hopefully increasing the amount you’ll be able to lift when performing the standard flat bench press.
If your approach to the barbell incline bench press is to simply lay down incline on the bench, grab the bar, and start pumping out reps, then you’re certainly not maximizing the potential of the exercise.
What’s more, if you don’t get your initial set up right with this, and have a really good handle on the proper form, then you can put yourself at risk of injury – especially once you start pushing heavier weights.
For extra safety, lift heavier weights and support I recommend buying a pair of wrist straps as they help a lot, the ones I use are here: Wrist straps
Muscles Worked in the Barbell incline bench press
primary: pectorals (chest)
Benefits of the Barbell incline bench press
Improved Bone Health
The barbell incline bench press is like other compound movements which help support healthy bones. When there’s added resistance on the body’s structure, especially from larger movements such as the barbell incline bench press. A study from 2014 saw bone health improvements when the bench press was included in a workout plan for medicating osteoporosis.
Maximize Workout Sessions
When you are short on time, use the barbell incline bench press as your upper-body exercise. In addition to working your pecs, you are also working your deltoids, your triceps, your hand flexors and your abdominals. Do the barbell incline bench press when you have no time to do exercises for your smaller, upper-body muscles.
It Boosts Your Testosterone Levels
When you force your body to lift an extremely heavy weight, such as you do when benching, your body’s natural production of testosterone goes into overdrive. That’s why guys who are intent on packing on mass simply must bench – along with squatting and deadlifting. The more testosterone floating around your system, the stronger you’ll be – and the more muscle you will build as result.
Power is a measure of fitness for many recreational and competitive athletes. Power is your ability to exert force, or strength, over a given distance as fast as possible. Use the barbell incline bench press to first increase your upper-body strength. As your strength grows, focus on performing each repetition as quickly as you can. Do six sets of three to six fast repetitions to increase your power.
How to do the barbell incline bench press
If you need a barbell one can be bought here: Barbells
1. Set up a bench press station by adjusting the bench to a 45-degree incline, or use an incline bench station.
2. Grasp the bar with a overhand grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
3. Lift the bar off the rack and lower it down to chest level in a smooth and controlled motion.
4. Push the bar straight up, driving your feet into the ground and activating your chest, core, triceps, and back muscles.
5. Resist the tendency for the bar to move forward due to the incline.
Repeat for desired reps
If you need a bench which can be flat and in an incline or decline postion one can be purchased here: Benches
Mistakes commonly made in the barbell incline bench press
Locking Elbows Suddenly
You can actually “lock-out” your elbows on the barbell incline bench press, although it is the opposite of some safety advice that is usually misguided. You should just make sure that you don’t lock them out very quick.
It is important that when performing the barbell incline bench press that you should keep your back straight and brace your abs throughout the exercise instead of performing with a rounded back and careless abs.
If you perform the barbell incline bench press with bent wrists then your wrists will hurt, this is because gravity pulls the bar down, then pushes your hands back and it will then stretch your wrists past their normal range of motion.
The heavier the weight, the harder the stretch and then the more your wrists will hurt.
Although for extra wrist safety, lift heavier weights and support I recommend buying a pair of wrist straps as they help a lot, the ones I use are here: Wrist straps
Location of Grip
When performing the barbell incline bench press the grip on the bar should normally be just wide enough so that the elbow joints are at least at right angles and the forearms are in a perpendicular position. If your grip is too wide and your elbows are too stuck out you risk injuring yourself.
Safety when performing the barbell incline bench press
You should talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you have had a previous injury or condition involving your shoulders, chest or arms to see if this exercise is suitable for you.
If you have a current injury to your shoulders, you should avoid the barbell incline bench press. If you feel any shoulder pain during the incline barbell bench press, put the weights back on the bench press rack and end the exercise.
If you are bench pressing a heavy weight, always get assistance in the form of a spotter. It is also good to use a power rack, which has bars on either side set at the level of your chest. If your lift fails, the bars will prevent the barbell from crushing your chest.
Variations of the barbell incline bench press
Barbell decline bench press
If the barbell incline bench press targets the top of the chest then it should be obvious that the barbell decline bench press will target the lower chest muscles, and you might also find with the barbell decline bench press that you can lift more weight than with the flat or incline press.
- 1. Set up a bench press station by adjusting the bench to a 45-degree incline, or use an incline bench station.
- 2. Grasp the bar with a overhand grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
- 3. Lift the bar off the rack and lower it down to chest level in a smooth and controlled motion.
- 4. Push the bar straight up, driving your feet into the ground and activating your chest, core, triceps, and back muscles.
- 5. Resist the tendency for the bar to move forward due to the incline.
Repeat for desired reps
Barbell flat bench press
- 1. Lay faceup on a horizontal bench, with your butt on the bench and feet flat on the ground.
- 2. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width (typically your ring fingers or pinky fingers will be placed on the rings).
- 3. Tuck your shoulder blades behind your back – this will help keep your elbows from flaring out too much. Also, press on the floor hard with your feet – this will create a slight arch in your back, with your weight of your body resting on the back of your shoulders and your butt.
- 4. Inhale, lift up the bar and lower it to the center of your chest, in a controlled movement, maintaining pressure on your feet the entire time. Note that the bar should travel in a slight arc forward, in order to reach the center of your chest.
- 5. Once the bar touches your chest, press the weight back up explosively, and exhale at the end of each rep.
Repeat for desired amount of reps
Write below in the comments your opinion on the barbell incline bench press, if it works for you and any questions you might have.