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Incline Bench Vs. Military Press

author image Lisa Martin
As the owner of Wellness Evolution, Lisa Martin has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, writing a monthly newsletter, blog and articles for various local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in dietetics, personal training certification through AFAA and is CSCS-certified through NSCA.
Incline Bench Vs. Military Press
A man is on an incline bench. Photo Credit starush/iStock/Getty Images

Weight lifting constitutes many different exercises and ways to target specific muscle groups. Often weight lifters concentrate on smaller muscle groups such as the biceps and triceps and forget about developing all the muscle groups to create a balanced muscular appearance. In order to develop and tone the entire upper body, you must include both the incline press and military press.

Incline Press Form

With the incline press, a variation of the flat bench press, lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor on an incline bench set at approximately a 45-degree angle. Grab either two dumbbells or a barbell in each hand with arms straight. Lower the weight down to mid chest and, as you exhale, press up above eyes. Keep your wrists in a neutral or straight position to avoid stressing the muscles and ligaments surrounding this area. Go through the movement in a slow and controlled manner.

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Benefit of Incline Press

The incline press works the pectoral, especially the upper part, or chest muscles, front deltoid (shoulder) muscles and triceps. This exercise works many different muscles groups at once allowing for more muscle development. Typically you will lift less weight here then on a traditional flat bench press. An incline press is also crucial to ensure balance within the muscle groups around the shoulder joint to minimize risk of injury.

Military Press Form

Perform the military press standing or seated completely upright, preferably seated if using heavy weights. Grab dumbbells or barbell with a grip where your palms face away from the body. Bring weights to about chest height. Inhale and then exhale, contract abdominal and press weight above head straightening arms but not locking out your elbows. Your upper arms should line up with the ears.

Benefits of Military Press

The military press primarily works the deltoids, especially the middle deltoid, and triceps. In addition, the military press targets several synergist or assisting muscles including the middle and lower trapezius or simply your traps. Neglecting the shoulders in your workout will create a disproportionate appearance in the upper body. You will use less weight here than on any of the bench press exercises. The military press also contributes to a balanced shoulder joint.

Military and Incline Press Together

The military press and incline press differ in that the incline press uses the pectoral muscles. These two exercises go hand in hand to work similar muscle groups from different angles. They both utilize more than one muscle group and allow for balance development around the shoulder joint, minimizing the risk of injury. Omitting one or the other will result in an unbalanced frame and appearance.

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