Flat Bench VS Incline Bench Press


flat bench vs incline bench press

Which Is Better For Pectoral Development? Flat Bench VS Incline Bench Press?

Of all of the great debates in the health and fitness world, and there are many, few are easier to settle than flat bench vs incline bench press when it comes to which is more important for pectoral development. As a personal trainer trainer in Austin for over 22 years, I’ve heard arguments advocating one over the other, and for oftentimes, pretty entertaining reasons. One of my favorite explanations was from some “personal trainer” at a big box gym advocating incline presses over flat presses because it will incorporate more gluteal muscle contractions and you can therefor do incline bench presses for gluteal development. I’m still scratching my head about that one.

Let’s look at facts as opposed to utter nonsense. So, which wins for pectoral development, flat bench vs incline bench press? The answer is both. Not one nor the other. The reason being, is that they each do different things. Yes, there is a bit of overlap in the pectoral muscles as far as muscle fibers recruited when performing these exercises, and yes, there is the commonality of the anterior deltoids and triceps being heavily involved, but they are markedly different movements.

When flat bench pressing with proper technique, you are focusing on pectoral development. When you are using an incline bench properly, you are focusing on the development of the pectoral minor portion of the chest. Yes, they are both parts of the pectorals, but they are markedly different in the function, and what we use to work, as well as stabilize them when we work them. The pectoral muscles are what we use to push things, in conjunction with the triceps, as well as the anterior deltoid. When you consider what a bench press is, it’s a pushing motion aimed at pectoral development. The argument of flat bench vs incline bench press comes from people who tend to think that 1 is superior to the other and so much so, that it negates the need for the other. This is simply not true if you want a fully developed chest.

In either case, be it flat bench vs incline bench press, the technique remains the same. The ribs must be up, the shoulders blades retracted, and held there, and the elbows must be under your hands for proper alignment. If you compromise any of those forms, you will deviate from the engagement of the pecs and refocus your efforts elsewhere in the muscles we use for stabilizing the pecs and shoulders during these exercises. That only promotes imbalances and exacerbates existing ones. It also does nothing for pectoral development. Range of motion is another consideration. The people who are working hard at building their gym egos, aren’t doing much in the way of building muscle if they’re not employing a full range of motion. This goes for any exercise. If you want to maximize your progression, you’ll want to use manageable weights and use a full range of motion with proper form. In this case, you will bring the bar to your pecs, and then once you’ve gently touched, not bounced the bar, you press to the top again. Rinse and repeat. Ideally, whatever approach you embrace, be it high volume with light weight, or the opposite, heavy weights and low volume, the last few reps in your sets should be a struggle, but not impossible to do without breaking form. Keep your form, employ a proper range of motion, and in time, you will have a far better developed set of pectorals if you do both of these exercises as opposed to simply one of them.

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Flat Bench VS Incline Bench Press
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Flat Bench VS Incline Bench Press
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Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey settles the debate of flat bench vs incline bench presses for chest development.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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Andy
My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
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My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270