How can I do the incline bench press correctly?

Learn To Do The Incline Barbell Bench Press For A More Complete Chest

1. How to Do the Incline Barbell Bench Press

This step-by-step form and technique guide is for the incline bench press using a barbell. Most of the steps would be similar if you were to use dumbbells or a specialty bar. However, some slight technique adjustments may occur mainly with how you grip a specific implement.

Step 1, Set Your Base

Set up an incline workout bench on its own or in a power rack to about 30 or 45 degrees. Load the bar. Lie back on the bench. Set your hips and upper back on the bench. Root your feet into the floor.

Coach’s Tip: Actively press your knees out. This will activate your lower body namely your glutes and quads which will allow you to drive the weight off of your chest.

Step 2, Find Your Grip

Where your hands sit on the bar comfortably is different for each person. But generally speaking your hands may be slightly wider than shoulder-width. If you’re unsure your forearms should be perpendicular to the ground at the bottom of the bench press. Too wide or too narrow of a grip width will result in your forearms angling outwards or inwards.

Coach’s Tip: Find the smooth ring on the barbell that sits in the knurling. Use that as a guide to measuring your grip. Some place their pinky over the ring. Others use their ring finger. When you find a comfortable grip check to see where your fingers are aligned with the ring so you can replicate it next time.

Step 3, Pull the Bar Down with Control

Unrack the barbell. Stabilize it above your upper chest and shoulders. To do so forcefully retract your shoulder blades and squeeze the barbell to better activate your grip.

Pull the barbell to your chest. Actively use your back muscles to keep your chest and shoulders from rounding forward. As you lower the bar actively stretch your pectoral muscles. Make sure to keep your shoulders on the bench.

Coach’s Tip: Do not let the bar drop to your chest. Pull the bar towards your chest. Think of your lats as a spring that you’re loading up for more pushing force.

Step 4 Push the Bar Up

While pulling your elbows inward toward your body press the bar upward. Extend your elbows. Be sure not to lose control or stability in this phase. Generally speaking your elbows should not flare out. Keep your shoulders on the bench.

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