The bench press is a classic lift in the gym and in PowerLifting. Although the bench press is a great lift there are numerous benefits of doing other bench press variations.
A great bench press variation is the Decline Bench Press. With decline Bench Press you want to have a slight decline. Don’t overdue the angle of the bench. If you notice in the videos below I have a few rubber mats under the bench to give it a 2″ lift. You don’t need a steep decline to get the benefits of doing decline bench press.
Here are 5 Benefits Of Doing Decline Bench Press
1. You Will Utilize The Bigger Muscles of the Chest aka the Pec Major
Using an incline while benching will somewhat target the upper chest more, by going with a slight decline you will hit the pec major more. The pec major is a bigger and more powerful muscle than the pec minor.
2. Using A Slight Decline Can Easier On The Shoulders
One of the drawbacks of bench pressing often is that it can be somewhat hard on the shoulders for some people. Add in if you are benching 3-4 times a week this can cause inflammation and problems in the shoulders for some people. By adding in a decline press version you give your shoulder joints a break while still hitting your chest and triceps.
3. Using A Decline On Bench Can Carry Over And Improve Your Arch Benching
If you “Arch” when you bench press it’s great to train with a decline. You are somewhat mimicking the bench press of a decline by doing an arch. With an arch bench press you are trying to almost put your body in a decline position. This will reduce the ROM (range of motion) of the bench press.
4. You Can Handle Heavier Weight
Because the range of motion is smaller and you are using the bigger muscles of the chest you can generally handle more weight. This will cause more stress/demand on the body. As well this is a great mental confidence boost which is always good.
5. It “May” Be Easier On The Lower Back Than Flat Bench
When you see women doing the crazy arch on bench press it can be hard on the lower back for some women. Arching is very much an individual thing. Some women have no problem with this at all. Even flat benching can be hard on the lower back for some women. By using a decline bench it can sometimes be easier on the lower back. This is very individual but using a decline should make the bench focus more towards the upper body (Pecs and Triceps) and less towards the lower body.
Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.