When it comes to using an incline bench to lift, the angle of the bench itself is important. It can determine how safely and successfully you perform a lift. Because of this, it is important to know which incline bench angle works best for you.
This article covers what you need to know to help you decide if a 30 or 45-degree incline bench is better for you.
30 or 45 Degree Angle: Which Is Better for Bench Press?
Your exercise goals, including what muscles you want to strengthen, will determine how you set up your incline bench. In general, an incline bench press from any angle will work the upper-body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, arms, and back.
However, you can angle your incline bench in a specific way so that certain upper-body muscles are targeted more than others. Different angles will create different fitness results.
For example, an incline bench set at 45 degrees or more will work the anterior deltoids, or the outer shoulder muscles, more than a bench set at 30 degrees will. It can also target the clavicular head of the pectoral muscle more precisely than any other angle.
However, an incline bench set at 30 degrees or less can more effectively target the sternocostal head of the pectoral muscle.
So, what angle you choose is entirely up to your preference and goals.
💡 Quick Tip: For those looking to incorporate incline bench press into their workout routine, the FLYBIRD Incline Weight Bench is a top pick. With adjustable incline angles and a durable build, it offers stability and versatility for a range of exercises. Highly recommended for both beginner and experienced weightlifters.
FLYBIRD Adjustable Weight Bench
What Is the Best Angle for an Incline Bench Press?
Incline benches are most commonly set at 45 degrees. However, many benches available for purchase are adjustable and can be altered to meet your needs. The best angle for doing incline bench press depends on your fitness goals. That being said, if you want to fully activate your chest muscles, a 30 to 45-degree bench is the most ideal.
You can use barbells or dumbbells with your bench press. For recommendations on the best barbells for your at-home gym, you can read our picks for the best barbells for any budget.
What Are The Benefits Of Using An Incline Bench?
The incline bench is designed to work a portion of your pectoral muscles called the upper pecs. Also known as the clavicular head, your upper pecs are the muscles that connect the chest to the bones of your shoulders and upper arms.
Unfortunately, a flat bench can work the entire chest but fails to target the upper pecs specifically. Moreover, a decline bench can target the lower portion of the chest but not the upper half.
This is where an incline bench press comes in handy. It is able to activate the clavicular head, which is the part of the pectoral muscles that neither a flat nor decline bench can target.
Here are tips for setting up an incline bench to best suit your exercise goals:
- A flat bench can activate the center of the pectoral muscles and work the overall chest.
- A decline bench can activate the lower portion of the pectoral muscles.
- An incline bench can activate the upper portion of the pectoral muscles, or clavicular head.
Since the incline bench is designed to target the upper pecs, you should choose an incline bench that is set at an angle optimal for pectoral muscle activation.
💡 Quick Tip: If you're looking for an adjustable bench that can handle incline bench press and be easily stored, the FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench is a great option. Its compact design and foldable feature make it a convenient choice for those with limited space, while its adjustability and sturdy construction provide stability and versatility during workouts.
FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench
Can Using An Incline Bench Build My Shoulders?
Doing exercises on an incline bench can definitely strengthen the outer shoulder muscles, or anterior deltoids, when set at the current angle. The anterior deltoids are worked the most when the incline bench is set at a 45-degree angle. When set at a 30-degree angle, the shoulders are not targeted as much. So to optimally activate the anterior deltoids, set the incline bench at 45 degrees.
Regardless of what angle you choose, using an incline bench is an effective way to work both the chest and shoulders. In fact, an incline bench functions as an effective cross-training tool for both the shoulders and upper chest.
If you are looking for other multipurpose equipment to add to your fitness routine, buying a half rack for your at-home gym is a great option.
An incline bench press is an effective exercise for building overall upper-body strength. It targets the chest, shoulders, arms, and back. You can also adjust an incline bench to target specific muscles in the chest or shoulders.
Whether a 30 or 45-degree incline bench is best for you depends on your fitness goals. If you want to work the lower chest muscles, a 45-degree angle is the way to go. If you want to work on your upper chest muscles and shoulders, then a 30-degree bench is the better option. If you want to mix up your routine, look into buying an adjustable bench or a deadlift platform.
There are a ton of benches with adjustable options, like this adjustable weight bench by Rep or this adjustable incline bench by Titan Fitness. This bench from Fringe Sport can be set as an incline, flat, or decline bench.
Regardless of what option you choose, an incline bench press is an effective exercise that you can do from anywhere. Knowing what angle works best for you can enhance your workout and increase your results.