Although flat benching forms the core of most good chest routines, it is often done second, after an incline press. In terms of producing aesthetic chest, emphasizing incline pressing in this priority fashion will pay off.
Incline presses stresses the upper chest region. For most people, the upper chest is smaller and less muscular than the bulkier mid and lower-chest region; it is stubborn and needs a special focus. Going even further, the outer edge of the upper chest (the chest/shoulder connection) is often uncooperative as well. The fix is an exercise like the dumbbell incline press, which exerts tremendous focus on the tie-in area (because of the longer range of motion), and pounds the upper chest directly. Follow these instructions:
- Set an adjustable incline bench press slightly steeper than 45 degrees – this extreme angle is more favoured with dumbbells as opposed to barbells because it focuses the stimulation right onto the connection area, a benefit that is not as pronounced when performed at a lower angle.
- The starting position is the same as for the flat-bench press, but the dumbbells will be over your upper-chest instead of your mid-chest. Grasp two dumbbells with an overhand thumbs-wrapped grip, lie back and hoist both weights to an extended-arm position.
- Keeping your elbows stacked directly under your wrists and your forearms perpendicular to the floor, begin a controlled descend. Touch your outer chest with the inside edge of the dumbbells at the bottom.
- From there, push the weights upward.
A weak upper chest is far more common than a underdeveloped mid-chest and lower-chest, so you should hit the weakest area while you are still fresh and have the most strength to devote. A long-term commitment to such a prioritization will eventually bring the upper-chest to par with the mid-chest giving you a great, well rounded and proportional look.
Decline Bench Press
For most bodybuilders the decline press is nothing more that an ego boost for those that can not bench press much weight. You will be able handle more weight on the decline bench press, because the motion is much easier and because of the angle, the bar has much less distance to travel.
If you spend too much time concentrating on the decline press, your lower chest will grow disproportional to your upper-chest because the lower proportion tends to be less stubborn. This will result in a sloping breast like development, which is a far cry from what most male bodybuilders want.