Inclined Bench Press: Tips, Proper Form and Benefits

Benefits of keeping your bench at an incline. Image via Unsplash/Arthur Edelmans
Benefits of keeping your bench at an incline. Image via Unsplash/Arthur Edelmans
Natalie P.

The bench press is common practice in every fitness enthusiast’s regime. It is a compound exercise that works the chest, shoulders, and triceps. You should start with these to improve push-ups.

Despite being a fantastic upper body push exercise, it shouldn’t be the only one you stick to. This is especially if you’re looking to improve your push strength and/or build your chest. If you’re looking for that smooth definition in your upper chest, inclined bench presses are how it’s achieved.

How to do an inclined bench press

Although similar to its flat-bench counterpart, the inclined bench press also engages the shoulder and the upper chest more. To perform this variation, you will need to raise the back of your bench to an angle of 30 to 45 degrees. The higher the incline, the more tension on your shoulders.

• Seat yourself on the bench and lean back into the inclined back rest.

• Grab the barbell above you with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width distance and lift it off the rack.

• Hold the barbell up above you with your arms straight. Slowly lower the bar down until it is at your chest level. Inhale as you bring it down towards you.

• Exhale and push the barbell up away from your chest, raising it up to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 10 to 12 reps.

You can watch this video for reference:


Yep, sounds and looks a lot like a bench press, doesn’t it? But once you start, you can tell that this is slightly harder to pull off than your conventional version. If you’re trying this out for the first time, you may want to be careful and start slow.

Tips and tricks to master the inclined bench press

Here are some pointers for you to perform this exercise flawlessly:

Start light

As mentioned above, pushing heavy can be challenging as the weight does feel heavier when you’re at an incline. You might want to start with a weight that’s below the usual weight you perform 10 to 12 reps with, and slowly increase the weight over time.

Maintain good posture

Just as one does with a flat bench press, it is important to keep your lower back arched and your shoulders retracted while performing the inclined version. Sticking your chest out ensures there is optimal tension on the upper pecs, strengthening and developing them.

Use dumbbells to balance it out

Most people are stronger on one side than the other. So starting out with dumbbells is a good way to recognise your weak side and improve on it before progressing to a heavier weight.


How is the inclined bench press even beneficial? Can’t one get the same results with the flat variation? Not quite! Here are some of the benefits of performing these at an incline:

Sculpts the upper chest

Most people look at the definitions in the upper portion of the pectorals when it comes to having a built chest. The best way to do this is by keeping your bench at an incline, folks.

Increases push strength

Since it is a small, easy-to-ignore part of the chest, its potential is often overlooked. Having a strong upper chest means having more strength to push weights. This is because the upper pectorals offer support to the rest of the muscles in the chest.

Improves posture

Similar to working the upper back, exercising the upper chest also provides some support to the upper body and strengthens it. It also helps with straightening out your posture and keeping aches away.

For a killer chest workout session, perform three to four sets of inclined bench presses after you complete your sets of the flat variation. This will ensure your pectorals are already active and ready to push more, resulting in more strength and growth.

As with any workout routine, post-workout recovery and nutrition is important. So take care of yourself and keep pushing. Literally!

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Do you perform bench presses at an incline?

Yes, all the time.

Nope, haven't tried.

39 votes so far

Edited by Aditya Singh


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