If you’re a beginner and recently visited a gym, chances are you’ve seen someone doing a flat bench press or an incline bench press. But what exactly is the difference between these two exercises and which one is better for fitness?
Actually, the debate between flat bench press vs incline bench press is very common among many people. But both exercises are good for fitness. However, they both are used to build different body muscles.
Let’s take a look at the differences between a flat bench press and the incline bench press so you can decide which one is right for your fitness goals.
Flat Bench Press vs. Incline Bench Press
The biggest difference between flat and incline bench presses is the angle of the bench. The flat bench press requires you to lie down on a flat surface. While the incline bench press has an adjustable back that can be set anywhere from 30-60 degrees.
And while both exercises work your chest muscles, they also target different areas of your body.
Flat Bench Press
The flat bench press works your chest muscles, triceps, and shoulders. It focuses primarily on building strength in your chest muscles, but it also helps build strength in your arms and shoulders as well.
The flat bench press also activates more stabilizer muscles than other exercises, making it a great all-around exercise for developing overall upper body strength.
Many experts recommend that beginners should start flat bench press first, as it requires less effort to perform. Because, while lying down flat you can hold the dumbbell bar and weights much more easily than lying on an incline plank.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press works similarly to the flat bench press but in slightly different ways. The incline angle activates more of your upper chest muscles as well as your front deltoids (or shoulder muscles).
It’s also great for strengthening your core since you must use your abdominal muscles to maintain good form throughout the exercise.
For those looking to maximize their chest development, an incline press is often recommended over a flat one due to its ability to target more of the upper chest area.
If you’ve got some experience in the gym, you must try the incline bench press it will give your upper body an excellent shape.
Incline Bench Vs Flat Bench Ratio
Both exercises have their advantages, but most professionals agree that the best ratio for working each is a 5-to-1 elevation with the Incline being five times higher than the Flat Bench.
This ratio provides an efficient balance between building upper and lower pectoral muscles and allowing for sufficient growth in both areas. The high Incline requires more energy, leading to better chest contraction which is effective for muscle gains.
The deeper incline also helps to slightly recruit some deltoids to support muscle development of the chest area. Overall the 5-to-1 Incline Bench ratio is a cost-effective method of targeting all parts of your chest while still keeping you on track with your fitness goals.
Is It Better to Do Incline Bench Before the Flat?
The votes go in both categories. Many trainers opt for an incline bench press first to work their upper chest area in order to build strength and definition. This is then followed up with a flat bench press to hit the lower chest area.
Other trainers recommend going with a flat bench press first. So that they can focus more on building overall mass while still creating definition and symmetry throughout their physique.
Ultimately, it's important to take into account what your own personal goals are when making this decision. Only then can you decide which will be most beneficial for your weight training routine.
What is Better Incline or Flat Bench Press?
When it comes to bench press, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Both incline and flat bench pressing are beneficial to building strength and muscle mass, but they also differ in their effect on the body.
Incline pressing targets more of the upper chest muscles while a flat bench works both the upper and mid chest muscles.
Depending on your goals, one may be better suited than the other. For example, if you are seeking more definition in your upper chest then you might prefer an incline press.
However, if you want balanced chest development then both types of presses would be an excellent choice. Ultimately, choosing between an incline or flat bench press will come down to what type of results you want from your exercise program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Incline Bench Replace a Flat Bench?
No, incline bench exercise can not replace the flat bench exercise. As the incline bench works more of the upper chest and shoulders, a flat bench still gives you a good chest workout and helps to balance out your strength levels with the rest of your lower body. That means both exercises have their own benefits.
Is Incline Bench More Difficult Than Flat?
Yes, the incline bench press is more difficult than flat bench press exercises. Since the inclination of an incline bench affects how much weight can be lifted at once, it stands to reason that it may appear harder than its flat counterpart.
The flat bench press and the incline bench press are both great exercises for developing strength in your upper body and core muscles, but they target different areas.
So it all comes down to your individual fitness goals. If you want to build strength in all areas of your upper body then both should be incorporated into your routine. However, if you’re looking to maximize development in certain areas. Then it might be beneficial to focus more on either a flat or an incline press.
In a nutshell, if you prefer most of your upper body exercise, you can go for an incline bench press. But if you’re a beginner, I’ll recommend you choose a flat bench press exercise. As it will give you a grip over the pieces of equipment.