Types of incline bench presses – swing the top and bottom of the chest

May 18, 2021 Willie Pep 0Comment

The incline press is the most important exercise for developing your upper and lower chest. In this article, we’ll look at four bench press options – 30, 45 and 60 degrees (upper chest) and upside down (lower chest) press.

The benefits of an incline positions

When you do the bench press on a horizontal bench, work:

  • Large and small chest (middle) – do the main work.
  • Front bundles of deltoid muscles.
  • Triceps.

We are specifically interested in the pectorals. It is believed that a regular classic bench press evenly pumps the entire chest. However, the main load during its implementation falls on its central part. If the top or bottom of your chest looks much smaller than you would like, various angle presses come to the rescue.

the main working muscle groups do not change, but the load is distributed differently. We can deliberately force the top or bottom of the chest to work.

Redistribution of the load depending on the angle:

  • Pressing at an angle of 30 degrees works primarily on the middle of the chest and slightly on the top.
  • 45 degrees transfer the load to the upper part, freeing up the middle one.
  • 60 degrees already transfer the entire weight of the barbell to the front deltoids and triceps, leaving some of the load to the very top of the pectoral muscles.
  • Incline press can also be done upside down. This is a proven way to pump up your lower chest.

Thus, by varying the pressing technique, you can build the desired chest relief.

Bench Press Position in Workout

It is not recommended to use the barbell press on an incline bench as an independent exercise. It is better to do it after basic exercises, for example, after the classic bench press. As a last resort, after weighted dips.

First you need to give a heavy overall load, and only then you can start working on specific areas of the pectoral muscle.

The incline bench press is very useful for beginners for the uniform development of the entire upper body mass.

Here are several schemes, using which you can reasonably load the entire pectoral area.

The first scheme

Perform the exercises in this order:

  1. Do the classic bench press.
  2. After set an angle of 30 degrees and do an incline press there in 3 sets and 10 reps.
  3. Then we do 2 sets with less weight, but already at an angle of 45 degrees.
  4. After that, we finish killing our chest spread on a horizontal bench.

Second scheme

This scheme is a superset for the pectoral muscles:

    Did the bench press on the horizontal bench (the required number of sets).

  1. We set an angle of 30 degrees on an incline bench, sitting for a set of 10 repetitions with a heavy weight.
  2. Then we take light dumbbells and instead of a break we make a layout in 15 reps.
  3. Do incline press again, set. As a result, we have to do this 3 times 10. This is a kind of superset on the chest, which allows you to load and pump it very well.
  4. After completing it, we rest for a minute, during which we set a 45-degree angle on the bench. We press the bar at this angle (if it’s hard, you can lighten the weight) as many times as at 30 degrees. We carry out the wiring in the same way. After three sets, you can rest.

If you wish, you can repeat the superset if you still have strength.

When to press upside down?

If you want to emphasize the bottom of your chest, then the barbell bench press with an incline down is ideal for these purposes.

As already mentioned, there is no point in doing such a bench press as an independent exercise. If you did not do the base that day, then try to do at least 3 chest exercises.

For example:

  1. First, do the barbell press upside down.
  2. Then press the dumbbells from the same position.
  3. And finish everything by raising the dumbbells on a horizontal bench.

The first exercise is performed in 3-4 approaches and 8 repetitions, the second – 10 times, and the third – also 10 times in two or three approaches. Focus on your condition.

If you have enough strength, do 3-4 approaches in each exercise. Between sets, break 60-90 seconds, between exercises – 90 seconds.

If you work to failure on the bench, rest a little more as you need. Just remember that too long rest leads to “cooling” of the muscles. And on the “cold” muscle, you can get stretching.

Press down with your head in cases where the lower chest is far behind. This exercise is commonly used by bodybuilders to compete effectively. For the rest, it is enough to do the horizontal bench press and the barbell press on the bench with an upward slope.

And good advice: when you do the bench press on the bench with an incline down, ask your partner or coach to help you. You will need help feeding the weight. The bar is usually taken from the floor. In such a position, in which you will be, it will be quite difficult to take it. Especially if the barbell weighs 50 kg or more. Still, you don’t shoot from the racks. Although some gyms are quite well equipped and allow you to conveniently do this kind of thing.


Finally, we got to the most important thing. Now you know why you need to do an incline press, it’s time to learn how to do it right!

As always, we start with a warm-up. For a start, an empty bar will do, you will need to do 10-15 repetitions at an average pace, but without throwing sharply up and down.

  1. Set the desired angle of the bench back. Sit on it so that the pelvis is pressed against the seat and your back against the back. Spread your legs to the sides and rest your heels on the floor.
  2. Leave a natural arch in the lower back. Reduce the shoulder blades, they should rest against the back. Put your head on the back, looking at the top of the wall opposite you.
  3. Grab the bar with a straight grip wider than your shoulders, focusing on the risks. On each line of the bar (right and left), there should be a finger of your hand (usually the middle or ring, depending on the length of the athlete’s hands).
  4. Remove the bar from the racks, bring it to its original position: it should sit over your collarbones.
  5. Bring the bar down to the top of your chest as you inhale. Without holding your breath, exhale and push the bar up. Control the movement at every stage! You don’t need to throw the bar on your chest, nor do you need to uncontrollably push it up.

When you have done the required number of warm-up reps, put the bar back, hang the working weight and do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Important points

Before you start training, there are

some important points to pay attention to.


Removing the barbell with the incline press is more difficult than with the classic one. Therefore, you will need an assistant. Ask someone to help you remove the barbell. While you are doing the exercise, have the person stand by. Putting the bar back on is no less difficult, so you will need to help here.

When you work with a weight of 60-75% of the maximum, you can do it all yourself. Failure approaches require insurance.

Pivot points

During the exercise, you lean on your buttocks, back and legs. Usually, beginners lift the pelvis off the bench. With a seated incline press, this is even more dangerous than with a classic one, since the weight puts pressure on you in the vertical plane (albeit slightly).

Keep your pelvis on the bench!

Trying to make a bridge

When you try to get into the bridge in this bench press, all sense in 45 or 30 degrees is lost. With your bridge, you zero this angle. You do not need to bend like this, a natural deflection in the lower back is enough.

Press in the simulator

The coach can put you press in the Smith after the classic. This is normal and allows the upper chest to be pumped in isolation. Everything is done here in the same way as when working with a free bar. Only the task becomes easier – the bar is fixed and moves strictly in the vertical plane.

It is best, of course, to work with free weights. Let other muscles engage to stabilize the barbell position.

What to do with shoulder pain

If your back hurts a bunch of deltoids, this will not affect the incline press in any way. If the middle or front – everything is much more complicated.

Decide, by experimenting with light weights, at what angle you are more comfortable to press. If pain haunts you absolutely in any bench press, you will have to exclude these exercises for a month or two.

If, for example, at an angle of 45 degrees you do not feel pain, you can work. But those exercises in which you feel discomfort should be excluded.

Warm up well before exercise, use special ointments. Listen carefully to your body. If pain appears somewhere, stop immediately! In a warmed-up state, the athlete may not immediately understand that a stretching has occurred. This will manifest itself after training, when the muscles have cooled down.

It may not be painful for you to press the bar with your head down. The shoulders are not used as much as the triceps and chest.

How often to do incline presses

If you divide the exercises into the chest for 2-3 days, then you can do different versions of the bench press 3 times a week.

For example, press at an angle of 30 degrees in the first workout, after it spread and press dumbbells under 45 degrees.

In the second workout, after push-ups on the uneven bars, you can do an incline press sitting at 45 degrees and end with the same set.

If you alternate light and hard workouts, you should do all the same the same, but with the current weights. For example, if today is a light workout, the weights should be less than your abandoned ones.