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Just like regular bench press, incline bench press builds strength in your chest, shoulders and triceps. However, because of the different body position during the incline bench, you place more emphasis on the upper portion of your chest muscle. Lifters will often incorporate it into their chest and shoulders workout. Using proper technique is important to ensure that the exercise is effective and that you don't place too much stress on your shoulder joints. Lifters will most commonly use a weighted barbell, but you can also use a pair of dumbbells.
Before you begin, adjust the weight bench so that it's at an incline of about 45 to 60 degrees. Set the barbell on the rack behind the bench and load it with weight plates. Sit on the bench and lean back. Reach overhead to grip the barbell with your hands set slightly wider than your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Avoid gripping the bar with your hands more than a few inches outside your shoulders, as this places stress on your wrists.
Dismount the barbell from the rack and hold it up over your chest with your arms fully extended. Lower the bar toward your chest by bending your elbows and dropping them straight toward the floor so that they stay in line with the bar. The bar should move more toward the center of your chest rather than your upper chest to reduce stress on the shoulder capsule. Stop the bar just before it makes contact with your chest and then push it back up to starting position until your arms are once again straight.
By using dumbbells during the incline bench, each of your upper body limbs has to work independently. This prevents your dominant arm from taking on a greater percentage of the load. Pick up the dumbbells before you sit on the bench. Recline back with the weights in your lap and then use your thighs to kick the dumbbells to your shoulders with your palms facing forwards. Push the weights overhead until your arms are straight and then lower them back to the sides of your chest.
When performing incline bench press, you're going to be holding a heavy barbell or a pair of dumbbells over your head. Because of the risk of losing control of the weight, which can lead to serious injury, it's recommended to recruit someone to act as a spotter. The spotter will stand behind you and be ready to assist if you start to struggle or lose control. A spotter can also help with motivation, encouraging you to continue to push and complete more repetitions even after you've become fatigued.