Bench chest exercise: incline or flat?

The bench chest exercise, known as press banking, is a basic movement to build muscle mass whose benefits for the development of pecs and shoulders are undeniable. Now, is it more advisable to do it on a flat bench or an inclined bench?

The difference in the placement of the bench lies in the way the muscles are activated. In this sense, it should be noted that one way to achieve a more balanced pectoral musculature is, precisely, to combine work.

What is the incline bench chest?

The press inclined bench performed with the bench positioned at a higher angle, between 15 and 50 degrees. Usually it is between 15 and 30 degrees, since any higher value works the anterior delts (shoulders).

This exercise focuses on the upper part of the pecs (the clavicular head) and the anterior delts (the area between the pecs and the front of the shoulders). In fact, the incline chest is excellent for strengthening these muscle groups.

Many people like the flat bench exercise less than the flat bench exercise because the latter tend to be able to move more weight. But this is not a problem. The important thing here is to look at the results.

Keep in mind that, the higher the incline of the bench, the more the exercise will target the shoulders and the deltoids.

Read this: 5 ways to work your pecs without gym tools

How to do the incline bench chest exercise

To begin, lie on the incline bench positioned at an angle between 15 and 30 degrees. The grip should be where the elbows form a 90 degree angle.

Next, with a shoulder-width grip, wrap fingers around the bar with palms facing out. Pick up the bar and hold it straight over you with your arms closed.

Then slowly lower yourself until the bar is close to your chest. It should be in line with the upper chest at all times. As for the arms, they should be at a 45 degree angle and glued to the sides.

Hold the position for a moment and then push the bar up up to its starting position. Lock your arms, hold your lower up, and then lower yourself slowly again.

The force load of this exercise is variable according to the capacities that are developed with its practice.


As we have seen, the main benefit of performing the incline bench chest is develop the upper part of the pectoral muscles. In this regard, as it puts more pressure on the upper pectoral, this will help fill an area that appears to be lagging for many lifters.

On the other hand, the incline bench places your shoulders in a more secure position when pressing and raising the bar. The incline position will help reduce stress and keep your rotator cuffs healthy.

What's more, when performed with dumbbells allows to add additional work for the upper pecs after you've exhausted your pecs and triceps. What's more, using dumbbells on a flat bench has all the benefits of a barbell bench chest exercise.

Finally, just by changing the grip width you get a movement that exerts pressure on different areas of the chest. They can be used in a training routine in a dynamic way.


The press Incline bench chest is a great exercise to build muscle, but it also has some negatives associated with lifting. One of them has to do with the fact that the incline bench recruits the same muscles that are used in other pressing movements.

Therefore, if you do not have a balanced strength training routine, it will ease muscle imbalances that can create shoulder problems.

On the other hand, if it is not done properly it is very possible that the muscles are not worked that are believed to be working. What's more, the risk of injury is high.

Discover: The best exercises to grow shoulder muscles

What is flat bench chest?

For many professionals, the flat bench exercise is one of those that must be incorporated into a training program to be most effective and develop a balanced and muscular physique.

The press chest on flat bench works the entire pectoralis major, both upper and lower. When doing the exercise, both heads become uniform, which makes for a better general development.

How to do the flat bench chest

Lie on the flat bench so that your head and neck are supported. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle with your feet flat on the ground.

Position yourself under the bar so that it is aligned with your chest. Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold the bar with your palms facing away from you, with your fingers wrapped around it.

From this position, push the bar toward the ceiling using pectoral muscles. Stretch your arms and tighten your chest. Following, lower the bar without supporting it. Come back to the starting position.

If you are using dumbbells to do this exercise, be careful not to drop them to the side when you are done using them. This is dangerous for the rotator cuff.


The press The flat bench chest is a simple and effective exercise to develop the pectoral muscles. Plus, it requires minimal equipment, making it a very accessible exercise.

Only by making a change in grip width can pressure be achieved in different areas of the chest, with which the training routines can be varied for a more harmonious muscular development.

On the other hand, if dumbbells are used in the press Chest on a flat bench will also provide additional benefits, as they allow you to move your arms in a more natural and independent way.


One thing to keep in mind is that the flat bench chest exercise places the shoulders in a position that could cause injury if the execution is not well attended. Especially to the previous position.

On the other hand, if you abuse the movement you run the risk of suffering shoulder injuries from repetitive use. Pectoral muscle tears can even occur.

There is also the decline press

A third version of the bench chest exercise is performed with the bench declined, that is, backwards, leaving the head below waist level, between 15 and 30 degrees.

Targets the lower part of the lower pectoral more efficiently than the press flat or inclined bench. In general, it is considered safer than the traditional one, as it takes the strain off the shoulders.

The biggest benefit is increased muscle activation in the lower pectorals. However, this is a superficial muscle area. In fact, it is usually only used by bodybuilders.

On the other hand, since the torso and head are positioned lower than the rest of the body, this exercise can be uncomfortable for some people.

Bench chest injuries can be complex, involving the rotator cuff.

Bench chest injury prevention and care

When doing the bench chest exercise, whatever the position, The first thing to consider is the placement of the arms and the general posture of the body. Second is technical execution.

If the exercises are not done correctly, the risk of injury is very great, especially in the shoulder area. Another no less important issue that must be taken into account is the care with the loads.

It can seem spectacular to move large loads and it is tempting to achieve a large volume with these exercises. Nevertheless, if they are excessive they represent a risk.

The press Bench is a demanding exercise that requires a good warm-up beforehand to prepare the muscles involved. Finally, we cannot fail to mention stretching to regain muscle elasticity in the pectorals and shoulders.

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