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What's the difference between flat, incline, and decline bench presses?

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by Master Moron, May 23, 2006.

  1. Master Moron

    Master Moron Well-Known Member

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    Do the different types of bench presses work different parts of the chest? If so, which ones work which part?
     
  2. steven

    steven Well-Known Member

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    incline works the top, flat works the mid, decline works the bottom
     
  3. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, this question always opens up a can of worms. Some suggest that you can't get differential fiber stimulation via the angle, meaning that specific areas can't be targeted. I've never seen concrete proof either way, so I continue to operate under the assumption that they can be targeted. Even worst case scenerio, I am still providing multiple modes of stimulation to encourage growth and strength, even if I am not differentially targeting specific areas of the muscle itself....so I don't worry too much about this debate.

    But to answer the poster, Steven is correct -- the general wisdom is that incline targets upper pecs, flat targets mid-pecs, and decline targets lower pec area.
     
  4. jwdiho

    jwdiho Well-Known Member

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  5. Hort

    Hort Well-Known Member

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    Right- and to add- they each target other muscles differently, recruiting the tris, and other supporters a little differently.
     
  6. Cab00se

    Cab00se Well-Known Member

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    Conventional wisdom supports that incline presses focus on upper chest development, while decline presses focus on lower. I haven't found this to be the case with me personally, at least as far as incline presses are concerned.

    Upper chest development has always been a sticking point with me, and it wasn't until I abandoned all notions of targeting specific regions of my chest that I finally saw some definition in the striations just beneath my collar bones.

    My new chest routine focuses on exercises that result in maximum contraction of the whole muscle, and incline presses just don't do that for me. They tend to work my anterior delts more than anything else. Maybe that's just me, though.
     
  7. GRCRYSTYK

    GRCRYSTYK Well-Known Member

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    This is interesting, as I'm not an expert, but have felt the same about incline,...Everybody is built a bit differently, but I too have felt like incline bench seemed to almost be more of a shoulder lift, than a chest lift. That's even at a pretty low incline. I'm still doing them, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like I'm working the chest,...

    >>>--->
     
  8. Master Moron

    Master Moron Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...you know, I didn't even know I HAD a muscle directly below my collar bone. It's kind of strange to talk about upper chest, lower, chest, and mid chest, as looking at my chest it's hard to determine where the upper, mid, and lower parts begin. I mean, I can't imagine what someone would look like who had a huge lower chest but small upper chest.

    Anyway, is there any way to target inner chest and outer chest? I notice that my outer chest seems to be more defined than my inner chest.
     
  9. StoneCold

    StoneCold Well-Known Member

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    The decline bench press is a 45 degree angle, your legs being up at the top, and your head near the ground, right??
     
  10. jaydfwtx

    jaydfwtx Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen one with such a large angle...
     
  11. Monkey0ne

    Monkey0ne Well-Known Member

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    45 degrees does sound a bit extreme, the article in the link posted by jwdiho mentioned a -15 degree below horizontal but I'm not sure if that's a "standard". But to answer your question, yes. Decline is when your chest area is lower than your legs.
     
  12. Monkey0ne

    Monkey0ne Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if there's any truth to this or not but I was always told that dumbell flys help target the inner pectorial area. Someone also told me a closer hand grip on the bar during bench press exercises help.

    Of the two, I'd lean more towards the flys...
     
  13. mo0fer

    mo0fer Well-Known Member

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    they emphasize certain areas of the chest
     
  14. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    When chest is discussed I always try to point one to Milos Sarvec's video, it is free. In fact look at all of his that was shown on fit show.

    Nearly all competing bodybuilders believe the different presses affect different parts of the pec muscles, as I do. People that hook up wires to muscles and some personal trainers who have never competed say differently. :lol:
     
  15. BreakingPoint

    BreakingPoint Well-Known Member

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    I just do whatever feels comfortable, I hate inclines, I also felt they were more of a front delt exercise. I just do Parallel-bar dips and bench presses (elbows tucked, to lower chest), after I started just these two, I felt it throughout my entire chest, oddly though I felt it more in my upper chest than any part but these two are said to be for targeting lower pecks.
     
  16. Omaha

    Omaha Well-Known Member

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    Declines are a waste of time. Flat isn't bad, but Incline is where the real development is at.

    Find your proper angle, and you are off to the races.




    Flys will work the upper right and left muscle areas that connect to the shoulder area. The middle is worked, but not as much. Also depending on high low or mid range fly you could hit other areas. But it isn't really worth much thought, the point is to do what ever you like the most.

    A closer grip will work the triceps mainly. As many chest exercises do.
     
  17. jessie

    jessie Well-Known Member

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    Dumbell flyes target more of the outer pec because their is not enough tension at the top of the movement to fully stimulate the inner portion, for this try using pecdecs or cable flyes for their constant tension. This is just my opinion like others have already said targeting different portions of the chest is a touchy subject.
     
  18. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    Bold statement, but I disagree.



    On an unrelated/related note....just out of interest:

    IEMG max motor-unit activation

    Exercise/% EMG Muscle Stimulation

    Pectoralis major:
    Decline dumbbell bench press - 93
    Decline bench press (Olympic bar) - 89
    Push-ups between benches - 88
    Flat dumbbell bench press - 87
    Flat bench press (Olympic bar) - 85
    Flat dumbbell flys - 84

    Pectoralis minor:
    Incline dumbbell bench press - 91
    Incline bench press (Olympic bar) - 85
    Incline dumbbell flys - 83
    Incline bench press (Smith machine) - 81
     
  19. Omaha

    Omaha Well-Known Member

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    Ahh the infamous EMG readings. Of coarse if you are using a higher percentage of muscle fibers to perform an exercise...that would mean they are the most effective...right??

    Not so much.

    The EMG ratings don't always translate to increased strength. Such as the relationship between incline bench press and flat. Either one ups the other's numbers. Flat won't be doing that.


    Besides, EMG isn't the silver bullet of weight training.
     
  20. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    Never said it was....it's just another training tool, nothing more nothing less. You'd be fool hardy to dump all your eggs in one basket. It would also be pretty foolhardy to ignore those readings altogether.

    Not quite sure why you are showing an TENS EMS machine.... :confused: for rehab, it has purpose but no, I don't believe you can sit there and stimulate quality hypertrophy with a device like that. EMG (electromyography) is a little different.
     

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