Which Is Better For Chest Building: Incline Or Flat Bench? Expert Answers

Flat Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The flat bench press is arguably the most popular exercise in the gym. When someone finds out you lift weights, inevitably the first thing that comes out of most people’s mouths are “how much do you bench?”

Because we have a National Bench Day, there must be something to the flat bench press. It is great for building your chest up, right?

Pros

There are plenty of articles and videos that teach you how to get the most out of the flat barbell bench press. With so much information available about this exercise, it’s obvious that the bench press is a worthwhile exercise, right?

IFBB Pro Eddie Robinson says “I feel the flat bench press, with a wide grip is best for overall pec development…”

The flat bench is one of the “big 3 exercises” that I feel need to be incorporated into a training program in order to be the most effective and build a balanced and muscular physique.

Flat benching requires minimal equipment and is a natural movement. This means that with a little practice, you can start adding weight to the bar and building some muscle.

By simply changing grip width, you can put pressure on different areas of your chest which can be used dynamically in a training routine. Using dumbbells on flat bench will give you the benefits of a barbell bench press while giving you the ability to move your arms in a more natural fashion.

Cons

The flat bench press puts your shoulders in a position that could possibly cause injury. Be sure to learn proper form to minimize the chances that you may get hurt.

Earlier I mentioned that there are a lot of articles and how to videos that demonstrate how to bench. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of very bad information out there; not everything you read is correct.

Dorian Yates states “I don’t even include flat benching in my pec routine because I think it stresses the front deltoids far too much to be an effective exercise for building the chest. Also, the angle of the flat bench press puts the pec tendons in a vulnerable position. Most shoulder injuries and overuse injuries can be stemmed from flat benching. Many torn pecs in bodybuilding have been the result of heavy flat bench presses.”

It is not uncommon to hear about someone who has developed shoulder issues from flat benching. It seems that bench press injuries can happen to the best of us. Make sure to do your best to perform this exercise correctly.

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