Flat Bench Press Muscles Worked
On flat bench, the mid and lower pec take most of the load with less help from the anterior deltoids and upper chest.
Again, arching your back shifts the load down. In this case from mid-chest to lower chest. A big back arch maximizes the amount of weight you can lift, but it’s not ideal for isolating the pectoral muscle.
Of course, any pressing exercise also works the tricep muscles. The triceps are mostly involved with the lockout at the top of the movement. But a narrow grip will also involve the triceps more.
Therefore, it’s important to think about your goals when setting up your flat bench form. For maximizing overall chest growth, I recommend a flatter back. And place your hands at a width where your elbows form a 90-degree angle when the bar touches your chest.
Incline Bench Press vs Flat: Which Is Better?
When it comes to overall strength and chest development, the traditional flat bench press reigns supreme. The horizontal position puts more of the load directly on the biggest part of the chest with less help from the shoulders.
However, too much flat bench can overdevelop your lower chest giving it a teardrop shape. This is often the case for beginner to intermediate lifters who gravitate to flat bench. So it’s important to include some incline variations.
The incline bench press is great for building the upper chest and increasing your strength on other pressing movements. It’s also useful for creating a balanced and proportioned chest from top to bottom.
For this reason, I recommend including both incline bench and flat bench in your chest day routine.