Bench Press For Upper Chest – (2 BIG MISTAKES!)

In this bench press tutorial video, Jeff from ATHLEAN-X shows us 2 big mistakes to avoid when performing the incline bench press.

The incline bench press is one of the go-to exercises for building your upper chest. That said, it is one of the most commonly misperformed chest exercises around. In this video, I show you the two most common bench press mistakes made on this exercise that are holding you back from seeing the gains in your upper chest that you would like to see.

To start, you have to understand the anatomy of the upper chest region. The front deltoid and clavicular portion of the pec major are very close together and can tend to interfere with the action of one another if you allow it. It goes without saying that the front deltoid gets a great deal of work from not just shoulder workouts and exercises but as an assistant on many chest and pushing exercises.

This causes the front delt to become almost too active, especially during exercises that we are trying to stress the upper chest. The incline bench press is a perfect example of this. In order to get the front shoulder to do less of the work and allow the pecs to do more, you have to first get the angle of the incline bench press correct when you do the exercise. This is one of the most common errors I see every time I go to the gym.

The correct angle of the incline bench should be 30 degrees from flat. This may seem like a very small angle but it is the optimal angle for placing the strain on your upper pecs and minimizing the effect on the front delts. Many people will stay much too upright when performing this chest exercise and effectively wind up hitting their shoulders much too much. If you realize that a completely vertical position (90 degrees elevated) would hit your shoulders primarily, and that a completely flat position would hit your mid chest…you understand how much room you have to lower the bench before it hits the upper pecs.

The next thing that this position does is actually place your shoulders back in a position where they can be less dominant in the press and put your pecs at the center of the action. Gravity helps to position the shoulders down and back but you do need to actively contract your shoulder blades as well to ensure that this happens. You will see in the video how much easier it is for the chest to be in a position of power and therefore increase their contribution to the incline bench press. This, over time, will lead to greater chest muscle growth particularly in the upper chest.


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