Two excellent exercises, but is there a better one?
Simplifying, we can say that the pectoralis major is made up of a clavicular head and a sternocostal head, better known as the upper and lower chest, respectively.
In the flat bench press, both areas are worked, as well as the anterior deltoids and triceps.
When tilting the bench, the pressure exerted on the upper chest area is greater, as well as on the anterior deltoid and the triceps continue to be used.
Now, the big question is, which of the two movements is the best for training the chest area?
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is a variation of the flat bench press, in which the bench is adjusted so that it has an incline of between 15 and 45 degrees.
The ideal inclination is quite possibly 30 degrees, in order to maximize the work of the pectorals, and minimize the work of the deltoids.
Normally, fixed incline benches have a 45-degree incline, which although it increases tension on the deltoids, also works the chest effectively.
Basically, the greater the incline, the greater the work done by the deltoids.
The great advantage of the incline bench press is the fact that it puts greater pressure on the upper area of the chest, which for many is not easy to develop, and thus helps to increase muscle mass in that area.
The tension placed on the upper chest varies depending on the angle of the bench and the position of the hands on the bar, whether it is wider or shorter.
The incline dumbbell chest press is also a great exercise and a good way to add extra work to the upper chest area.
Bench presses with an incline bench are a very good exercise, but they also have their drawbacks.
Recruits the same muscles used in other pressing movements, such as the shoulder press. This could be a problem.
By placing too much volume on the shoulders, injuries can easily result.
It is important to have a well-constructed and executed training plan, to not only avoid shoulder injuries but also muscle imbalances.
Basically, as with all exercises, especially free weight, it is essential to first learn the correct technique and only then think about progressing with the loads.
Flat Bench Press
Monday is international chest training day and the flat bench press has no rest.
In gym conversations, the question is common: “How much do you do on the bench press?”.
With so much popularity it can only be an excellent exercise, right?
We can now answer the previous question.
Yes, the flat bench press is an excellent exercise for developing your chest.
It is one of the main bodybuilding exercises, together with squats and deadlifts.
One advantage they have over the inclined version is the learning difficulty. It's smaller and you're progressing through the loads faster.
There is also the possibility of doing the exercise with dumbbells and achieving a more natural movement.
The flat bench press is an exercise that puts the shoulders in a position that can cause injury. Especially when you sacrifice technique for another 10kg on the bar.
Learning the correct way to perform the flat bench press and not letting your ego decide the loads is essential.
If your shoulders always hurt after doing flat bench presses, try switching to incline chest presses. The incline will help protect your shoulders.
Start with light loads and adjust according to how you feel.
For a while, don't do flat bench presses and use the incline press instead.
If the pain decreases and/or disappears, you can try including chest presses on a flat bench if you feel the need. Pay attention to the movement and if you feel the same pain as you did on the flat bench press, stop.
After all, which is best? The flat or incline bench press?
The plan works the chest more evenly, but the pressure on the shoulders is greater.
The incline works the upper part of the chest more and is safer for the shoulders, although it is more difficult to learn.
There is also the issue of barbells or dumbbells, which may seem secondary, but is also important.
The ideal would be to test both, or if you do flat and inclined, use a barbell on one of them and dumbbells on the other. Try to understand which one you react best to.
Both are effective, with the barbell being able to place more load, while with the dumbbells you recruit more stabilizing muscles.
Both the exercises and the material used have their advantages and disadvantages, and the ideal would be to test and do what seems to give you the most results and what you like most.