Decline bench press for older guys?

  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Jun 24, 2013 10:16 PM GMT
    I read somewhere that as you get older, you should stop doing decline bench presses. That in time you won't like the results. True? Should I limit myself to incline and flat and pec deck and dips? Should I do decline at a lower weight for tone?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 2:59 AM GMT
    I'm not following the logic here. What did that article state as the reason why you should stop doing them? And what specifically are the bad results?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 3:45 AM GMT
    I know what they're implying by saying that but it's nonsense. They're trying to say that declines will give you bitch tits. Lifting weights build muscle, not fat. I suppose if you put on fat in your lower chest, declines might push the fat out even more to accentuate it, but it sounds pretty silly to me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 7:18 AM GMT
    I'm not sure what age has to do with it. My trainer taught me that the decline press is pretty worthless as chest builder. I focus on incline mostly and some flat bench.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 7:46 AM GMT
    I've got to agree with JimiB about decline presses' effectiveness. I stick to dips and cable crossovers to work the lower chest though my primary focus is incline & flat benches.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 2:05 PM GMT
    JimiB saidI'm not sure what age has to do with it. My trainer taught me that the decline press is pretty worthless as chest builder. I focus on incline mostly and some flat bench.


    I wouldn't say they're "worthless", but they have to be the least effective chest exercise I know. I've done countless repetitions of declines and I've never been able to see much result from them.
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Jun 25, 2013 7:30 PM GMT
    I will be the devil's advocate here. I recommend declines, as well as decline cables? What? you ask, Why? Because, that's why icon_biggrin.gif. Seriously, gentlemen, your pecs have an upper and lower band. By doing decline and incline work, you hit the whole chest and you can develop a full and balanced look. Moreover, declines are much better on your shoulder joints than flat bench. Flat bench is an awkward movement, and in most cases, people do them wrong, so the weight ends up being lifted to a great extent by the front delts (which makes those pop, of course - then again, that's how you know people are doing flat bench wrong LOL), and often screws up the shoulder joints. I say this from experience and I know that with declines, I experience little or no pain compared with flats. And if you are concerned with size, then up the weights and drop the reps. You will see results, though results vary depending on genetics and what else you do in training the chest.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 7:31 PM GMT
    Hunkymonkey saidI will be the devil's advocate here. I recommend declines, as well as decline cables? What?, you ask? Why? Because, that's why icon_biggrin.gif. Seriously, boys, your pec has an upper and lower band. By doing decline and incline work, you hit the whole chest and you can develop a full and balanced look. Moreover, declines are much better on your shoulder joints than flat bench. Flat bench is an awkward movement, and in most cases, people do them wrong, so the weight ends up being lifted to a great extent by the front delts (which makes those pop, of course), and often screws up the shoulder joints. I say this from experience and I know that with declines, I experience little or no pain compared with flats. And if you are concerned with size, then up the weights and drop the reps. You will see results, though results vary depending on genetics and what else you do in training the chest.


    +1. Declines are the only bench press I do becuase they minimize shoulder involvement.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 7:33 PM GMT
    I had an older gentleman at the gym tell me that decline and incline were the best exercises, and that basically flat presses were just for show, whatever that means. He's in very good shape, better than most guys at the gym
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 7:47 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    JimiB saidI'm not sure what age has to do with it. My trainer taught me that the decline press is pretty worthless as chest builder. I focus on incline mostly and some flat bench.


    I wouldn't say they're "worthless", but they have to be the least effective chest exercise I know. I've done countless repetitions of declines and I've never been able to see much result from them.


    Dorian Yates, who won Mr. Olympia 6 times, would beg to differ. He refers to decline bench as his primary chest builder and likes it because it puts less stress on your shoulders. Start the video below at around 1:38:

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 25, 2013 8:39 PM GMT
    Maybe I was just doing them wrong then. I noticed in the video they're doing a very slight decline. Maybe that was my problem.
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Jun 25, 2013 8:52 PM GMT
    Great video SF79. I'll give them a try again. Interesting that he has them done first. I'd always held them to last because they're easier unless the weight is massively heavier. I'll experiment and change them up. Ya, the fear was as I get older the muscle would sag even if in tone.

    Thanks to everyone for the input. One of the great things about RJ is the workout ideas. Change-up is always good. Hit the muscle a bit differently and surprise it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 26, 2013 12:28 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidThey're trying to say that declines will give you bitch tits.


    There might be some logic to what they're saying. Way back when I was in the Navy I was stationed in San Diego and our base didn't have a very good gym so I went to the gym on a USMC base, which was very nice and well equipped.

    There was a guy who'd come in every so often. He had to be in his 60s; his hair was completely gray. He'd take off his shirt when he worked out. He'd had a great body when he was younger. He still had nice muscles and definition. But there's no avoiding nature and old age and his skin sagged. Not a lot, but it was not attractive.

    So I could imagine that if you get older and your muscles shrink, the sagging skin won't be attractive. And I suspect or have heard/read that as we get older our muscles do naturally shrink.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 26, 2013 12:37 AM GMT
    I would stick to dips and cable rows as they are physiologically better at developing your chest. Not to mention, decline bench is a VERY effective shoulder workout but isn't the best at building your chest. To get square, action movie star, titties I'd stick to flat and go hard on incline.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 26, 2013 1:07 AM GMT
    I do decline dumbbell press all the time.

    If it does not hurt you and you feel you are seeing progress then keep doing it. Everyone is different and no expert can tell you that anything you do in the gym is wrong
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Jun 26, 2013 6:17 PM GMT
    Lumpynose said
    So I could imagine that if you get older and your muscles shrink, the sagging skin won't be attractive. And I suspect or have heard/read that as we get older our muscles do naturally shrink.

    Regarding this, you could try adding leucine to your nutrients. It has been shown that men over 40 need more l-leucine and that is stimulates anabolism (i.e., protein synthesis > muscle growth). I am simplifying, but that is the jist of it. You can take a BCAA formula that is 2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine. According to Charles Poliquin, BCAAs will help minimize fat gain and muscle loss from inactivity.

    "A study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that BCAA supplementation can contribute to an anabolic environment in the body. Leucine-enriched BCAAs (a BCAA mixture that is 40 percent leucine) was shown to elevate and prolong protein synthesis after resistance training. There was evidence of a dose-dependent response to BCAAs, meaning that more is better, which is why I suggest taking them before, during, and after training.

    BCAA supplementation results in maximal protein synthesis because it increases the intracellular availability of amino acids and activates something called the mTORC1 signaling pathway that is essential for muscle building. Take note that aging is associated with an impaired ability to activate mTORC1 signaling and protein synthesis. Are you getting this? In older individuals, this pathway is not activated to the same extent as in younger trainees after training unless leucine-enriched EAAs are ingested."

    source: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/791/The_Benefits_of_BCAAs.aspx

    I suggest reading the entire article. Lots of good info.

    Or, as I do, skip the other two and just take the leucine, as it is, IMO, the key BCAA. I drink a non-carb drink during my workout that has 4 gr of leucine. And I also put 4gr in every protein shake during the day and post workout. Just a suggestion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 26, 2013 6:19 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidMaybe I was just doing them wrong then. I noticed in the video they're doing a very slight decline. Maybe that was my problem.


    I've been doing my inclines at about 45, is that too much? What is a good angle for decline?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 26, 2013 6:25 PM GMT
    TomatoTomato saidI would stick to dips and cable rows as they are physiologically better at developing your chest. Not to mention, decline bench is a VERY effective shoulder workout but isn't the best at building your chest. To get square, action movie star, titties I'd stick to flat and go hard on incline.


    I'm sorry, but there is a lot of misinformation here. Cable rows are a back exercise. Dips do work the chest but the primary mover is the triceps. Decline bench activates the deltoids less than incline or flat bench.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Aug 19, 2013 3:52 AM GMT
    This doesn't make sense to me.
    It's been my experience that Dumbbell Presses, using a decline bench, are the best (most effective) chest exercise, as long as you're using good form, and you're not having a problem controlling the weights.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2013 6:27 AM GMT
    I love decline bench BB with a Smith Machine (guided bar) for triceps. Fantastic pump after holding at the base of the movement.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2013 11:48 AM GMT
    I don't get the reason why not to do declines.

    My only beef is that the decline bench is set up in such a way that it is nearly impossible for me to do sets by myself. I use the Smith Machine instead.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2013 12:06 PM GMT
    Hunkymonkey saidI will be the devil's advocate here. I recommend declines, as well as decline cables? What? you ask, Why? Because, that's why icon_biggrin.gif. Seriously, gentlemen, your pecs have an upper and lower band. By doing decline and incline work, you hit the whole chest and you can develop a full and balanced look. Moreover, declines are much better on your shoulder joints than flat bench. Flat bench is an awkward movement, and in most cases, people do them wrong, so the weight ends up being lifted to a great extent by the front delts (which makes those pop, of course - then again, that's how you know people are doing flat bench wrong LOL), and often screws up the shoulder joints. I say this from experience and I know that with declines, I experience little or no pain compared with flats. And if you are concerned with size, then up the weights and drop the reps. You will see results, though results vary depending on genetics and what else you do in training the chest.


    Second +1
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 24, 2013 12:10 PM GMT
    Hunkymonkey saidLumpynose said
    So I could imagine that if you get older and your muscles shrink, the sagging skin won't be attractive. And I suspect or have heard/read that as we get older our muscles do naturally shrink.

    Regarding this, you could try adding leucine to your nutrients. It has been shown that men over 40 need more l-leucine and that is stimulates anabolism (i.e., protein synthesis > muscle growth). I am simplifying, but that is the jist of it. You can take a BCAA formula that is 2 parts leucine, 1 part isoleucine and 1 part valine. According to Charles Poliquin, BCAAs will help minimize fat gain and muscle loss from inactivity.

    "A study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that BCAA supplementation can contribute to an anabolic environment in the body. Leucine-enriched BCAAs (a BCAA mixture that is 40 percent leucine) was shown to elevate and prolong protein synthesis after resistance training. There was evidence of a dose-dependent response to BCAAs, meaning that more is better, which is why I suggest taking them before, during, and after training.

    BCAA supplementation results in maximal protein synthesis because it increases the intracellular availability of amino acids and activates something called the mTORC1 signaling pathway that is essential for muscle building. Take note that aging is associated with an impaired ability to activate mTORC1 signaling and protein synthesis. Are you getting this? In older individuals, this pathway is not activated to the same extent as in younger trainees after training unless leucine-enriched EAAs are ingested."

    source: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/791/The_Benefits_of_BCAAs.aspx

    I suggest reading the entire article. Lots of good info.

    Or, as I do, skip the other two and just take the leucine, as it is, IMO, the key BCAA. I drink a non-carb drink during my workout that has 4 gr of leucine. And I also put 4gr in every protein shake during the day and post workout. Just a suggestion.


    Had to print this out.
  • jeepguySD

    Posts: 651

    Aug 24, 2013 12:14 PM GMT
    This is a really good discussion. Thank you to the OP and everyone else.