Is a 60-degree Incline Bench Useful?

The 60-degree incline bench is a staple of many standard and home gyms because of its unique benefits and body exercises. Many weightlifters generally shy away from the bench because it is almost vertical and may work other muscles than intended. Nevertheless, the 60-degree bench is useful for hitting several muscles.

What are Incline Bench Presses?

incline bench press
incline bench press

Incline benches are benches that elevate at specific angles against the flat bench to reach other muscles that the flat bench may not allow during presses. Most benches are used to work the chest muscles, the pectoralis group of muscles. However, studies have shown that using a flat bench for your presses may not lead to holistic chest development. 

The pectoralis muscles are divided into two; the clavicular and a sternocostal head (upper and lower pectoralis muscles). Using an incline bench for your chest presses helps you emphasize your upper pecs when lifting. As a result, the main benefit of using incline benches for your chest presses is to develop the upper portion of the pectoral muscles.

Flat benches commonly only work the lower pectoral muscles, leading to sectoral chest development. The best approach to holistic chest development is usually a mixture of both the incline and flat bench presses.

The Usefulness of the 60-Degree Bench 

The 60-degree bench is generally not popular among weightlifters who want to develop their chests. This is because the angle is a bit on the high side and emphasizes the shoulders more than the chest. As a result, weightlifters who want to target their pectoralis use either a flat or a 30-45 degree bench. 

Nevertheless, the 60-degree bench has plenty of uses for people who intend to work their shoulders. While the shoulder press provides the most overhead work because of its direct 90-degree angle, the 60-degree bench is also a suitable alternative. For example, it could be a necessary alternative if your gym is missing a shoulder press or in use. 

Likewise, the 60-degree bench is also helpful for persons who want to target their chest and shoulder muscles simultaneously. This could be because of limited time or other reasons. Nevertheless, the bench is ideally suited to reach the deltoids on the shoulders and the pectoralis muscles, especially the upper pectoralis muscles. While it is not a direct alternative to either the overhead press or the 30 and 45-degree benches, it can offer you value for your time. 

The 60-degree bench is also helpful for weightlifting beginners, especially persons with little to no experience in benching. This is because it has a considerable transfer-to-overhead strength while not being so challenging that a beginner cannot perform it. 

Examples of Programs With the 60-Degree Bench 

Here are some programs that you can use the 60-degree bench for:

60 Degree Incline Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell pressing is a good way to develop strength in your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, while also offering more balance to the shoulder’s stabilizing muscles. Because of its placement, the 60-degree dumbbell press can significantly improve your overhead strength, which is essential because overhead strength correlates with the health of your shoulder girdle.

To begin the exercise, you should first set the bench to 60 degrees. You can tell when you are 60 degrees if the imaginary vertical and horizontal lines around the long part of the bench look like a vertically arranged rectangle. The next step is to grasp a set of dumbbells that you are comfortable with and sit back on the bench. Ensure your hands are directly above your elbows, making your forearms perpendicular to the floor.

Remember to inhale before you begin the upward movement, exhaling as you lift the dumbbells. The dumbbells should be directly over your face as you get to the top of motion’s range. Exhale as you lower your arms back to your starting position and prepare for your next rep. 

60 Degree Incline Wide or Close Grip Bench Press

Bench pressing generally improves your shoulder’s structural balance as it challenges the central nervous system to align your motor units to move the single bar upwards. Like the dumbbell press, the close grip can develop your overhead strength. The close incline bench press at 60 degrees also targets your triceps and upper pectoralis muscles.

In any kind of bench press, a close grip puts the hands just inside the shoulders' width. To determine where to hold the bar in the close grip, try laying on the bench and extending your arms upward, directly lined with your shoulders. Where your arms meet the bar should be a suitable place to grasp the barbell.

Inhaling and exhaling as you drop and raise the barbell is also essential with this program. You should lower the barbells as far as your shoulder blades and raise them until your arms reach full extension. At full extension, the barbell should be above your face.

Unlike the dumbbell press, it is advisable to perform the bench press with a spotter if you are a beginner or trying a new weight. This is because it is easier to drop the dumbbells when you can not continue. Alternatively, you may also employ a squat rack to place the weights when you are done.

Tips for Using the Incline Bench 

The incline bench is useful for many purposes as you can use it for different exercises, including back rows, leg press, bench press, and dumbbell press. 

While using the incline bench press, ensure that you select an angle that you find most comfortable. This ensures that you have a seamless program and reduces the risk of harming your body. You can always test the angles before you begin weightlifting. 

Likewise, research the angles and know the muscles you want to target before you begin to ensure you are exercising your intended muscles. Different incline angles typically target different body parts, as we covered above. As such, ensure you know the appropriate angle for developing your upper pectoralis muscles before you begin. 

Another tip is to ensure that the bench is dry and stable. If the bench is either of these, it can lead to improper form at best and injuries at worst. If you’re using a rack as support, ensure it is also stable to prevent slips.