Skip to main content

Barbell Incline Bench Press

What Is A Barbell Incline Bench Press

How To Do A Barbell Incline Bench Press

Like the barbell bench press, the barbell incline bench press involves pushing the bar up from the chest by extending the arms, but as it is performed on an incline bench the angle between the bar and chest is altered. There is also a greater range of motion in the incline bench press.

While this variation still works the pectorals, triceps, and deltoids, the incline means it puts a greater focus on the upper chest and deltoids more, specifically hitting the clavicular head of the pec major.

Commonly Asked Questions On Barbell Incline Bench Press

  • The incline bench can be set to anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees. The more upright the bench, the greater activation of the deltoids, so keeping closer to 30 degrees will ensure most of work is coming from the pecs.

  • The incline bench press works the pectoral muscles, with a greater focus on the upper chest, known as the clavicular head. As the incline press requires less involvement from the lower chest, known as the sternal head, it is unlikely performers will be able to lift as much weight than when performing the flat barbell bench press.

  • The incline bench press does work the shoulders, particularly the anterior deltoids. This bench press  variation has a greater focus on the shoulders than that of the flat press and would make an great choice for anyone wanting to work their shoulders more.

Barbell Incline Bench Press Tips

Most people are unable to lift as much weight with the incline bench press as they can with the flat bench press, so start with a lower weight and work out how much you can lift with correct form. 

You can alter how much work is done by the chest vs the shoulders by changing the angle of incline. Closer to 30 degrees works the best more, while closer to 45 degrees recruits the shoulders more.

How To Do A Barbell Incline Bench Press

  1. Sitting on an incline bench press rack, position yourself so that your eyes are in line with or just behind the barbell. 

  2. Grip the barbell taking a grip a little wider than shoulder width.

  3. Retract your shoulder blades by pulling your shoulder blades into the bench and pressing through your feet. This should create an arch in your lower back, which helps to protect the shoulder joint.

  4. Take a deep breath in to unrack the barbell and hold it straight above you.

  5. Commence the reps by lowering the barbell in line with your mid chest making sure you keep your elbows tucked rather than allowing them to flare outwards. Ensure to lower the barbell until it is nearly touching your chest.  

  6. Push through your arms, chest and feet as you lift the barbell back up in an arc direction towards your chin. 

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.