This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Build a well-rounded and proportional chest—the incline variation of the classic barbell chest press targets the upper area of the pectoral muscles.
Set an incline bench at a 45-degree angle and sit with your back to the raised end of the bench. Take a barbell in both hands, with hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing toward your feet. Keeping your shoulder blades together and your chest lifted (so that you feel as though our shoulders are behind your chest), press the barbell straight up toward the ceiling, until your arms are almost fully extended. Make sure you have flexion in your chest before you begin to move the bar (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, keep the flexion in your chest as you begin bending your elbows and pulling the barbell down toward your chest. The bar should not touch your chest at the bottom of your lift—instead, judge how far to go by your elbows, which should go only as far as level with your back, and no farther (see Photos 2 and 3).
- Keep your shoulder blades together and your shoulders back as you press straight up, back to the starting position. It is very important that you not pop your shoulders toward the ceiling as your arms come up—keep your shoulders back and down (see Photos 4 and 5).