Incline vs flat bench ratio

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Ratio of flat bench press to incline bench press

Posted by Wayne

I am wondering if anyone knows what the strength ratio is between the incline bench press and the flat bench. This issue nags at my subconscious everytime I head over to the incline bench. If I had an idea of what to expect, I could work harder towards obtaining the right balance between the two.

If I can bench 275 lbs flat, what should I expect to bench on the incline? Did the old time bodybuilders ever come up with a percentage to go by?

By the way, lots of great advice on this board!

Re: Ratio of flat bench press to incline bench press

Posted by cpods

I'm not sure if a ratio exists (e.g. incline bench is always 60% of flat bench), but if it does it is probably unique to each individual. In my experience I've always found people can use more weight on the decline bench than flat bench, and less on incline than flat bench. Personally, I would rather do dips than decline bench. I think most people use decline because the increased weight makes them feel better. I think dips are far more productive. I've read about early bodybuilders such as Clancy Ross who could use upwards of 120lbs. in the incline dumbell press. His chest development was amazing.

Re: Ratio of flat bench press to incline bench press

Posted by lifter

Good debate. My best estimate would be that for the incline bench press you should be able to lift 70 to 75% of what you are able to do on the flat bench. At the same time, if you were to specialize on the incline bench and use the flat benchpress as your secondary exercise, it's possible to gain considerable strength over a year.

There's no doubt that the incline is harder and allowances have to be made for that when setting your goals. It may be interesting for you to switch the two around for several months and see how you progress. Then you will know first hand what you are capable of doing.

P.S. Interesting comment about Clancy Ross. Incline dumbell press is one of my favourites.


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