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Barbell Incline Bench Press 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Modified Variation Strength


Barbell Incline Bench Press
Barbell Incline Bench Press

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level









The Barbell Incline Bench Press is a compound strength-training exercise designed to primarily target the chest muscles while also engaging the shoulders and triceps as secondary muscle groups. Utilizing a barbell as the required equipment, individuals perform this exercise on an inclined bench set at an angle. The inclined position places a greater emphasis on the upper chest, enhancing muscle development in this area. To execute the Barbell Incline Bench Press, individuals lie on the incline bench, grip the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip, and lower it to the upper chest before pressing it back up to the starting position. This exercise is renowned for its effectiveness in building upper chest strength and overall upper body muscle development, making it a staple in comprehensive chest workouts.

How to Perform

  1. Begin by lying on an incline bench, ensuring your body is well-positioned, and set your hands just beyond shoulder width on the barbell. This grip width optimizes engagement of the target muscle group, the chest, and the secondary muscles, shoulders, and triceps.

  2. Enhance stability and muscle engagement by setting your shoulder blades, pinching them together, and pressing them firmly into the bench. This foundational step provides a solid base for the exercise and helps activate the muscles in the upper back.

  3. Take a deep breath and coordinate with a spotter for a controlled lift-off. This collaborative effort ensures the maintenance of upper back tightness, a critical factor for stability and effective muscle targeting during the Barbell Incline Bench Press.

  4. Allow the weight to settle, ensuring your upper back remains tight even after the lift-off. This ongoing tension is crucial for maintaining proper form throughout the entire movement.

  5. Inhale as you slowly lower the barbell, unlocking the elbows in a controlled manner. Focus on a deliberate descent, directing the bar in a straight line towards the base of the sternum (breastbone), ensuring optimal engagement of the chest muscles.

  6. Achieve a full range of motion by gently touching the chest with the barbell, emphasizing the stretch in the chest muscles. This controlled descent and touch point contribute to comprehensive muscle activation and development.

  7. Initiate the ascent by exhaling and pushing the barbell back up in a straight line. Utilize the bench for stability, drive your feet into the floor to activate leg drive, and extend the elbows fully. This coordinated effort maximizes the involvement of the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

  8. Repeat the entire sequence for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining focus on proper form and controlled movements. Incorporating a spotter for heavier lifts is advisable to ensure safety and provide assistance if needed.


  1. Prioritize technique over weight to reduce the risk of injury during the Barbell Incline Bench Press, emphasizing the importance of proper form.

  2. Keep the bar aligned with wrists and elbows, positioning it low in the palm while maintaining a straight wrist to promote optimal stability.

  3. Consider stopping each repetition just short of lockout to maintain tension in the triceps and chest, focusing on controlled movements.

  4. Avoid excessive elbow tucking, opting for a slight tuck or the cue "Flare and push" for a safe and effective descent.

  5. If arching, ensure it comes from the mid to upper back, preventing strain on the lower back to minimize injury risks.

  6. Aim for the bar to touch the chest with every repetition for consistent engagement, exploring variations like board presses for specific ranges of motion.

  7. Descend the bar to the sternum or slightly below based on upper arm length to promote a linear bar path.

  8. Experiment with grip width to accommodate arm length, avoiding shoulder pressure by adjusting grip, improving scapular retraction, or modifying the range of motion.

  9. Squeeze the bar tightly to enhance shoulder stability and resist the urge to allow wrists to roll back into extension.

  10. Maintain retracted shoulder blades throughout the lift, ensuring stability and promoting proper muscle engagement.

  11. Descend under control without bouncing or excessive momentum, focusing on pushing yourself away from the bar.

  12. Prioritize tightness in the upper back throughout the lift, considering a spotter for a controlled lift-off.

  13. Keep feet quiet and utilize leg drive by pushing into the floor and squeezing glutes for pelvic stability.

  14. Activate intrinsic stabilizers in the shoulder by pulling the bar apart or attempting to "bend the bar."

  15. Ensure continuous contact between glutes and shoulder blades with the bench throughout the entire movement for stability.

How Not to Perform