If you are planning to pump up your chest and build the best upper body, you must include an incline bench press in your workout plan. This popular variation of bench press is known for its effective impact on all your chest muscles. But here’s the good news- you do not really have to change a lot in the traditional bench press to perform this workout!
Just like the flat bench press, the incline bench press focuses on your upper body muscles. It also involves your triceps and biceps. So those who wish to have strong “boulder” shoulders should definitely give this incline bench press workout a try. In this article, we have gathered the steps along with some tips to make sure you can perform this exercise even during your home workout. So wait no more and read till the end.
Incline Bench Press: Basic Facts and Muscles Worked
Before you learn how to do incline bench press exercise, it is important to understand a few basic things about it. For instance, who should perform this workout and what equipment is required for performing incline bench press workout. Below, we have shared these details:
Other Names: Incline bench press is also known as incline dumbbell bench press or incline barbell bench press depending on the weights you use.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Equipment Used: An incline bench, dumbbells or barbell
The incline bench press is an excellent exercise for boosting muscle hypertrophy throughout your upper body. It focuses on the following muscles:
- Upper chest muscles: The incline bench press works on your pectoral muscles, specifically the clavicular head of your pectoralis major. It also targets and helps in muscle growth of your upper pecs more than other bench press variations.
- Shoulder muscles: When you lift weights through a full range of motion, you tend to activate your anterior deltoids as stabilizers. Upon regular practice, the incline bench press workout can strengthen your deltoids and also improving the muscles such as rotator cuffs in your shoulders.
- Arm muscles: As we mentioned before, incline bench press also works on the triceps and other arm muscles.
Performing incline bench press seems simple but it is not an easy exercise. You should have some prior experience in weight lifting and have strong muscles power and stability to perform smoother lifts. This is why it is suggested for people with at least intermediate level of fitness. In case you are a beginner, you should perform incline bench press under an expert’s supervision. We too have jotted down a step-by-step guide to incline bench press workout so that you have an idea about where to begin.
Before you start, here are some things you need to do:
- Grab suitable weights – either dumbbell or barbell and an inclined bench that is adjustable. We are discussing the incline dumbbell bench press, so get dumbbells for that.
- It is also important to keep the weights in mind. We would suggest you to pick lighter weights than the ones you use for flat bench press since incline bench press is a bit more tough and requires extra strength for lifting. So, be on the safer side and pick weights that are light. Once you are sure you can handle higher weights, work your way up.
- Now, adjust the incline bench press angle between 30 to 45 degrees. The bigger you set the angle, the higher you can engage the shoulders. However, the ideal incline bench press angle is usually 30 degrees.
It’s time to learn step-by-step guide for incline bench press exercise:
- Sit straight on the bench and lean back. Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure your hands are positioned at your shoulders with elbows bent and angled down below your ribs.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor. Your hips and back should also stay flat on the bench. Relax your neck against the bench.
- Slowly exhale and engage your core while you push both the dumbbells straight up over your chest so that they are almost touching each other at the top. Your hands should be perpendicular to the floor. Your wrists should be straight. Pause for a second.
- Inhale and bring back the dumbbells back to the top of your chest. During this reverse movement, your elbows should come down at roughly a 45-degree angle to your torso and should be pointing to the floor.
- This is one rep. Try to complete sets of 8 to 12 reps.
- When you have finished your set, safely exit the exercise. For this, gradually sit up and place the dumbbells on your knees before you stand up. Make sure you do not just drop the dumbbells while you're lying on the incline bench as it can lead to injury.
If you are doing incline barbell bench press, use a bar rack and your grip on the barbell should be shoulder-width apart. The other steps are as same as mentioned above.
How to Perform Incline Bench Press Safely and Avoid Injury
Whether you are performing incline bench press or the basic bench press, it is important to perform the workout with all the safety precautions. It becomes even more essential when you perform incline bench press at home since there is no expert available to prevent wrong technique or any possible injury.
To help you with a few basic safety precautions, here are some tips:
- Do not perform incline bench press if you have any back or upper body injury.
- You should also consult to a doctor before starting this workout if you have any previous health condition related to heart, back, or shoulders.
- Always select the right weight to ensure you do not put excessive stress on your body and have full control over your movement. Any instability can be dangerous in such workouts.
- If you notice any unusual pain or discomfort, immediately stop the workout. If the pain still persists, consult a doctor.
- Don’t forget a proper warm-up when you are performing incline bench press.
- Take at least 24 to 48 hours of rest for the muscle recovery before training the same muscle group.
If you are doing incline bench press at home, we would suggest that you first learn it from a professional. Nowadays, you can also get access to online videos that teach the correct technique and other tips to perfect incline bench press.
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