SCIENCE SAYS Dorian Was Right – DECLINE Bench is the BEST Chest Stimulant

decline benches by dorian yates

Dorian Yates once said that the Decline Bench press is the best mass builder for your vest of pectoral greatness. What he emphasized was that the range of motion and the natural angle of movement of your pectoral muscles is indeed pulling your arms towards your body DOWNWARDS.

Dorian Loved Decline Benches:

decline benches by dorian yates

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You can test this on your own by holding and feeling your pectorals as you adduct your arms in the angle used for decline benches, another on the angle used for flat bench, and one more for the angle you use for incline bench.

You will notice that you will actually feel that more of the pecs are activated when the angle of your arms is that of the decline bench. We can refer the image of the pectoral attachments. You will indeed notice that your pecs are designed to be activated with your arms in the “decline” position.

pectoralis major and minor

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But what does science have to say? Are there any studies out there that have successfully shed a light onto this topic once and for all?

Apparently there was!

Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between motor unit recruitment within two areas of the pectoralis major and two forms of bench press exercise. Fifteen young men experienced in weight lifting completed 6 repetitions of the bench press at incline and decline angles of +30 and -15[degrees] from horizontal, respectively. Electrodes were placed over the pectoralis major at the 2nd and 5th intercostal spaces, midclavicular line. Surface electromyography was recorded and integrated during the concentric (Con) and eccentric (Ecc) phases of each repetition. Reliability of IEMG across repetitions was r = 0.87. Dependent means t-tests were used to examine motor unit activation for the lower (incline vs. decline) and upper pectoral muscles. Results showed significantly greater lower pectoral Con activation during decline bench press. The same result was seen during the Ecc phase. No significant differences were seen in upper pectoral activation between incline and decline bench press. It is concluded there are variations in the activation of the lower pectoralis major with regard to the angle of bench press, while the upper pectoral portion is unchanged.
(C) 1997 National Strength and Conditioning Association

Bro scientists in the gym will always tell you to do some inclines “to put some meat on your UPPER PECS” – but that was false all along. Electromyograhical findings saw that decline bench stimulates the “upper” chest muscles as much as the incline bench presses.

No significant differences were seen in upper pectoral activation between incline and decline bench press.

There are some few advantages as well with the decline bench presses:

1) It activates the LEAST front deltoid muscles among the 3 chest presses – This means that you will stimulate your chests fully without over working your small front shoulder muscles which are prone to injury.

2) It allows you to lift the “most” amount of weight – not that your basis of progress rely solely on the poundage, but off course every lifter needs an ego booster and this is a good one. Actually you should not focus on the weight itself but just see to it that you “feel” the pecs with each and every move and squeeze the muscles at top of the move.

3) Decline benches pose less risk to shoulder injury – mentioned the reason in the first item; that is if you don’t stupidly slip downwards while hoisting a heavy bar without a spotter!

But that is not to say that you don’t need the other angles. It is still best to include a variety of lifts into your routine but if your priority is MUSCLE MASS instead of pure strength and raw power – then you are better off focusing more on decline bench presses.

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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