Revolutionise Your Powerlifting Game: 7 Ways the Incline Bench Can Transform Your Performance

Looking to level up your powerlifting game? The incline bench press can be a game-changer.

This versatile exercise targets specific muscle groups that can have a tremendous impact on your overall powerlifting performance.

In this article, we will explore seven ways the incline bench press can transform your performance, and provide tips on proper technique and integration into your training routine.

The Benefits of Incline Bench Press

Enhanced Upper Chest Development

The incline bench press offers a unique advantage over the traditional flat bench press by specifically targeting the upper chest, particularly the clavicular portion of the pectoralis major muscle. Ways the Incline Bench Can Transform Your Performance

This focus on the upper chest leads to more balanced and symmetrical muscle development, ultimately contributing to a stronger and more powerful chest overall. 

For powerlifters seeking to improve their performance and enhance their chest's appearance and functionality, incorporating the incline bench press into their training routine is a highly effective strategy.

Improved Shoulder Strength and Stability

One of the unsung benefits of the incline bench press is its ability to put more emphasis on the front deltoids compared to the flat bench press. And you know what that means?

Increased shoulder strength and stability, which is absolutely crucial for your overall powerlifting performance. 

Not only does it give you that extra edge in your bench press, but it also translates to improved execution in other powerlifting movements like squats and deadlifts. 

Increased Triceps Activation

Another fantastic aspect of the incline bench press is how it activates the triceps more effectively than the flat bench press, thanks to the increased range of motion. 

What does this mean for you?

Well, greater triceps development can be a game-changer when it comes to locking out heavier weights in your bench press and other pressing movements. 

Stronger triceps not only enhance your overall upper body strength but also contribute to better powerlifting performance.

How to Perform the Incline Bench Press Properly

  • Setting the bench angle; a bench angle of 30 to 45 degrees is recommended for the incline bench press. Experiment with different angles to find the one that feels most comfortable and provides the best upper chest activation.
  • Hand placement; your hand placement should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. This allows for a proper balance between chest and triceps activation.
  • Proper body positioning; maintain a tight upper back, with your shoulder blades retracted and depressed. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, and maintain a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Executing the lift; lower the bar to your upper chest, slightly below your collarbone. Press the bar back up to the starting position, keeping your elbows tucked in at a 45-degree angle.

Integrating Incline Bench Press into Your Powerlifting Routine

Periodisation and Programming

When it comes to periodization and programming, incorporating the incline bench press into your training routine can be both exciting and beneficial.

One effective approach is to alternate it with the flat bench press or use it as an accessory movement to complement your primary lifts.

The key is to keep things fresh and engaging while ensuring you're making steady progress.

Don't be afraid to experiment with different rep ranges and intensity levels, as this can help you optimise your strength and hypertrophy gains. 

Remember, finding the right balance and adapting your training program to your individual needs is essential for unlocking your full powerlifting potential.

Assistance Exercises

In maximising the benefits of the incline bench press, it's essential to incorporate assistance exercises that target the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps - these additional exercises can help you build a well-rounded and comprehensive powerlifting program. 

For instance, consider adding incline dumbbell presses and incline flyes to further emphasise upper chest development.

Military presses are an excellent choice for enhancing shoulder strength, while close-grip bench presses can provide that extra boost to your triceps. 

By combining these assistance exercises with the incline bench press, you'll create a powerful synergy that can lead to significant improvements in your overall powerlifting performance.

Progression Strategies

Unlocking the full potential of the incline bench press requires employing a variety of progression strategies to keep your training fresh and challenging. 

Some effective methods include increasing the weight, adding more sets and reps, or adjusting the bench angle to target different muscle fibres.

Moreover, consider incorporating advanced techniques like pause reps, where you hold the bar momentarily at the bottom of the movement, or partial reps, which involve working through a limited range of motion. 

Regularly implementing these progression strategies allows you to continually challenge your muscles, resulting in greater strength gains and improved powerlifting performance.

The Impact of the Incline Bench Press on Your Powerlifting Total

The incline bench press can be a real game-changer when integrated into your powerlifting routine.

With its focus on the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps, it can contribute to a stronger bench press, ultimately boosting your powerlifting total. 

But that's not all – the increased shoulder stability and overall balance of strength developed through the incline bench press will also have a positive ripple effect on your other powerlifting movements, such as the squat and deadlift. 

Embracing the incline bench press and making it a staple in your training, you're setting yourself up for success and paving the way for remarkable improvements in your overall powerlifting performance.

Wrapping Up: 

The incline bench press is an invaluable exercise that can significantly elevate your powerlifting performance.

By targeting the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps, it contributes to a more balanced and powerful physique, which translates into improved results in the three major powerlifting movements – the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

To fully harness the potential of the incline bench press, focus on proper technique, integrate it into your training routine alongside assistance exercises, and employ a variety of progression strategies.

By doing so, you'll not only enhance your powerlifting game but also achieve a well-rounded and impressive physique.

Embrace the incline bench press and unlock your true powerlifting potential.


Is the incline bench press better than the flat bench press?

The incline bench press is not inherently better than the flat bench press; both exercises have their benefits. The incline bench press targets the upper chest and front deltoids more effectively, while the flat bench press focuses more on the middle chest. Incorporating both movements into your training routine will result in balanced and powerful chest development.

How often should I perform the incline bench press?

The frequency of incline bench press training will depend on your overall program and goals. Generally, incorporating the incline bench press once or twice a week as part of your chest or pressing workouts is a good starting point.

Can I replace the flat bench press with the incline bench press in my powerlifting routine?

While you can prioritise the incline bench press in your training, it is essential to continue practising the flat bench press, as it is a competition lift in powerlifting. Use the incline bench press as an accessory movement to complement your flat bench press training.

Can I use dumbbells instead of a barbell for the incline bench press?

Yes, you can perform the incline bench press with dumbbells. Dumbbell incline bench presses allow for a greater range of motion and can help address strength imbalances between the left and right sides of the body.

Is it okay to use a Smith machine for the incline bench press?

While a Smith machine can be used for the incline bench press, it is generally not recommended. The fixed bar path may limit your natural movement and potentially increase the risk of injury. Free weights are preferable, as they allow for a more natural range of motion and engage stabilising muscles.

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