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The Incline Press

The incline press is a great lift that supplements and supports the overhead shoulder press and the flat bench press. The reason the incline press is so effective is because it changes the angle of the lift, which alters the recruitment of fibers between the anterior deltoid, pectoralis major and triceps surae. Many people are strong at the flat bench press and work on it as the staple of strength, but in this author’s opinion, the incline press is just as essential and will test your grit in a way that the flat bench cannot. I also like that it is harder to cheat on the incline press because of the angle of support from the back pad.

I also like the incline press because it identifies any weak link in training. I am fully convinced that we win competitions based on our strengths, but we lose because of our weaknesses. In training, eliminating deficiencies is the name of the game. I look for the BB incline press max to be around 75-80% of the flat press max. If you can bench 200 flat, but only 135 on the incline, you have a training weakness. To calculate your strength co-efficient of the flat to incline press, take your flat press max and multiply x.75 and x.80 and that will give you your ideal incline press number.

Another good training stimulus is to train the incline press with db’s to promote more stability from the rotator cuff while also working on shoulder range of motion. When we press with db’s we are always more concerned with stability and range more than strength. If someone is looking to increase their flat bench press max and doing 4 sets of 6 on the flat, then I will finish the workout with 3 sets of 8 on the db incline to give more volume and a comprehensive training effect. Over the years I have noticed that when training for max strength in any lift with a bb, the supplemental work needs to be done with db’s.

Here is how I would incorporate this scheme into a 3 day total body training routine and into a 4 day upper/lower split:

3 Day Total Body

Monday

BB Bench 4x8

DB Shoulder Press 3x8

Wednesday

DB Alternating 4x8

Friday

BB Bench 4x8

-Or-

3 Day Total Body

Monday

BB Bench 4x8

DB Alternating Incline 3x8

DB Shoulder Press 3x10-12

Wednesday

DB Shoulder Press 3x10-12

Friday

BB Bench 6 6 4 4

DB Incline 3x8

4 Day Upper Lower Split (The Following is for your Upper Days)

Monday

BB Bench 4x6

DB Incline 3x8

2 Lat Exercises

1 Shoulder Exercise

1 Bicep and 1 Tricep

Thursday

BB Bench 8 6 4 2

DB Single Arm Incline 3x8

2 Lat Exercises

1 Shoulder Exercise

1 Bicep and 1 Tricep

Superset Press and Lat Round 1

Superset Press and Lat Round 2

Giant Set Shoulder, Bicep, Tricep Round 3

-Jon Eric Fountain, CPT

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