As you would know, the bench press should form the foundation of your mass training routine as it’s one of the best chest exercises for building masculine pecs. However, with all of the bench press variations such as the flat bench press and incline bench press, what should you focus on then?
Some people love the incline bench press, while others hate it. If you try to tell a person who benches on a flat bench press that the incline is better then you better watch your back because they might want to fight you!
What are the main advantages of the flat bench press?
Before I talk about why the incline bench press is good I thought I would get out a few nice things about the regular bench press.
The main advantage of the flat bench is that you can handle more weight. The motion is very natural and it is easy to master the technique. This usually means that you have all the elements of a good weight training workout. It is an excellent strength and power motion as it is so simple and brute forceful.
The position that your body is on when you lay on the flat bench is also very comfortable. Again, it is natural and easy to do and usually doesn’t leave you lifting a heavy weight in a strange way. You are able to push off of the bench and it supports you well. However, the incline has certain advantages. Here’s why…
Why is the incline bench press better for chest growth?
Now I move onto the dangerous waters – the incline bench press is better for your pectoral muscles than the flat bench. By far.
You see the main disadvantage of the flat bench is that it works your shoulders a lot. This is why I am not a fan of it. People think that the flat bench is all triceps and chest but they are wrong. The anterior deltoid muscles get worked quite hard and as such your pectorals get a lot of help. This is not good for muscles growth.
If you want to target your pectoral muscles you are much better off using an incline angle for your bench press. You are also better off using a pair of dumbbells instead of your barbell. Now I am really getting into controversial territory! As I mentioned in this post the dumbbell allows you to get a much better stretch and range of motion. These two things are vital for good muscle growth.
In summary, next time you want to target your pectoral muscles and remove as much shoulder work as possible try using an incline bench with some heavy dumbbells instead. Although the flat bench press has a huge role in effective strength training and muscle building, it is not the be all and end all of weight training exercises as many trainees would have you believe.
Read the other articles on this site to learn how to do the incline bench press and flat bench press with good lifting technique.