Want to turn heads in a bikini? Bench press. Both the incline and decline bench press build the upper body muscles including the pectoral, front deltoid and triceps muscles to enhance your chest, tone your arms and give you shapely shoulders. As an added bonus, you will become stronger, allowing you to more easily execute typical daily tasks. Learn the differences between these exercises to help you refine your goals and get the look you want. (See Reference 5)
Incline Bench Press
Master a few simple steps and before you know it, you’ll be executing the incline bench press with ease. The key to this movement is to incline the bench to a 30-degree angle. Lie on the adjusted bench with your feet flat on the floor. With a shoulder-width, overhand grip on the barbell, dismount the weight from the overhead rack. Lower it slowly to the correct position on your chest -- above your breasts and below your collarbone. Push the weight up by extending your arms to within about two inches from the rack rests. Perform eight to 10 repetitions for one complete set. (See References 2 and 4)
Decline Bench Press
Decline your bench press to get maximum results. Adjust your bench press to a 30-degree decline from the horizontal position. Perform your decline bench press after you have already done your incline bench press sets. Once you have adjusted the bench press, you lay on it with your feet flat on the floor. Raise and lower the weight using the same movements as for the incline bench press, but this time the weight should touch your lower chest. (See References 1 and 3)
Variety is the spice of life for both the incline and decline bench press exercises, both of which can be performed with a barbell or a set of dumbbells. Try both to see which is more comfortable for you. As an alternative to using a weight bench, you can use a Smith Machine for both exercises, just make sure the machine is adjusted so the weight is lowered to the correct area of your chest for each exercise. Both exercises are usually performed after you have already completed your bench press. (See References 1 - 4)
For the sexiest result, perform both the incline bench press, which works your upper chest muscles, and the decline bench press, which forces your lower chest muscles and triceps to work. And because inclining the bench taxes your deltoid, you will find you can’t lift as much as a standard bench press when doing an incline bench press. Combined with the bench press, this set of exercises provides a complete upper body workout. (See References 1-4)
Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.