Start & Finish Position
Please remember, the Incline Bench Press is exactly that - INCLINE! Arching your back only places you in a flat position & greatly increases your risk of injury. Also, if the bench angle is too steep, you'll feel greater effort from your front delts, rather than your chest muscles. Follow the Key Steps (below) to perform Incline Bench Press correctly.
Confused about what gym exercises to perform & when? You should consider reviewing the sample gym workout routines under our 'Workouts' category page. Better-still, purchase the acclaimed Gym Professor book Gym Workouts: Maps to Success.
Key Steps to performing the Incline Bench Press correctly:
For this exercise, you require a spotter.
1) Ensure that gym equipment is set up correctly - bench*, bar, weights etc. The bar should be empty (free of weight) at this stage. *If you are not using a fixed Olympic Incline Bench, set the bench to an angle between roughly 30 to 35 degrees.
2) Lie down on the bench, sliding underneath the barbell. The bar should be resting on the lift-offs directly above your eyes. The bar should be empty (free from weight) at this stage.
3) Grip the bar with your hands roughly shoulder-width plus one hand-width on either side. Remember this grip point in correlation with the bar's knurling.
4) Inhale as you lower the bar downward to touch your upper chest - a weight will typically be drawn or lowered to the area/ muscles being worked! At this point your arms should form a right angle (ask your spotter to check). If your arms do not, you will need to adjust your grip width accordingly. Exhale, and the press the bar up.
5) Repeat the exercise for the given number of repetitions Do not lock your elbows out at the top of the movement & do not bounce the bar off your chest.
6) Warm Up. Warm up with little or no weight, performing 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps or more, in order to lubricate joints and raise local muscle temperature.
7) For your working sets, select an appropriate weight that allows you to achieve your target repetition range in a safe & controlled manner.
Muscle worked during the Incline Bench Press:
Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Clavicular Fibres (Upper Chest).
Secondary Muscles: Anterior Deltoids, Triceps, Serratus Anterior, Anconeus.
Stabilizing Muscles: Lateral Deltoids, Rectus Addominis, Transversus Abdominis, Forearm Flexors...
Here's a video demonstrating of Matt performing a Neutral-Grip Incline Bench Press superset with an Orthodox-Grip Incline Bench Press: