An incline bench press is a great exercise to add to your workouts to target and strengthen different muscles.
However, it can be intimidating for beginners who aren’t comfortable with free weights.
To ensure you’re using proper form, the Smith Machine provides a safer way to do the incline bench press if it’s your first time attempting the exercise.
Not only are you able to use this machine when starting out, but even advanced lifters should include the incline Smith machine press in their routines from time to time as it offers some fantastic benefits and variations in workouts.
In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide with a short video that teaches you how to do the incline Smith machine press correctly so you can get the most out of your workouts!
What Is The Incline Smith Machine Press?
An incline Smith machine press is a great way to vary your routine while receiving the benefits of both free weight and machines.
As with a standard barbell incline bench press, users can find an adjustable angle that best targets their chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles.
However, due to the guide rails alongside the main bar, this version of the popular exercise requires less balance and coordination to complete, making it safer and easier on the joints while still working for the same muscle groups.
Best of all, using a Smith machine is more like traditional free weights than other machines, so you will still get the natural feel of lifting without sacrificing safety or technique.
How To Do A Incline Smith Machine Press
When using a Smith machine, one of the most important aspects of the lift is ensuring that the incline bench is properly aligned.
If the bench is crooked and not properly adjusted, over time an imbalance in the shoulder joint can occur, leading to potential muscular strain or even pain.
Taking the time to carefully adjust the bench beforehand allows for a much smoother session, and is essential for avoiding any undesirable consequences.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you perform this exercise correctly:
Step 1: Begin by setting the incline of the Smith machine to between a 30 and 45-degree angle. Make sure that the bar is loaded with the appropriate weight before starting.
Step 2: Step up to the machine and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, your hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be straight and your elbows unlocked.
Step 3: Keeping your back flat against the bench, push your feet firmly into the floor to stabilize your body as you begin to lower the bar towards your sternum or upper chest area.
Step 4: Take a deep breath in during this phase, and then exhale as you slowly press the weight up until your arms are fully extended, ensuring that at all times throughout the lift you keep tension through your arms and chest muscles.
Step 5: Hold for one second at the top of this movement and then slowly lower back down in a controlled manner until you reach the beginning position once again, without locking out at any point during this exercise.
Step 6: Once you have completed 8-12 repetitions, take approximately 60 seconds rest before repeating an additional 3 sets at a similar weight load if desired or move onto another exercise for variation within your session.
Muscles Worked using Incline Smith Machine Press
The incline Smith machine press is a popular chest exercise that focuses on the upper chest while also engaging key secondary muscles like the triceps and anterior deltoids.
This pressing movement has a significant impact on building muscle mass in the targeted area, while also providing a great tool for effectively hitting accessory muscles during your workout routine.
Incline Smith Machine Press vs Free Weights
When building strength and muscle mass, the incline Smith machine press is an ideal solution.
It offers some advantages over free weights because it keeps the bar path controlled, which reduces the use of stabilizer muscles while allowing more load to be put directly on the pectorals.
This combination of features makes it perfect for targeting those muscles and helping them to grow in size and strength.
Smith machine incline press benefits
Pecs in proportion
Achieving well-developed pectoral muscles is critical for a balanced physique, and no exercise works the upper chest quite like the Smith-machine incline press.
While other exercises might simply provide general engagement of the chest muscles, the Smith-machine incline press enables more concentrated contraction of the sternal head; the principal muscle used in bench pressing.
This makes it an ideal exercise for those looking to develop that coveted “upper chest shelf” coveted by bodybuilders.
With proper form and technique employed throughout this movement, you can quickly take your aesthetic game to new heights, leaving behind forever any trace of “neglecting your physique”.
Bodybuilders have become renowned for their physiques, and it’s no surprise that they turn to the bench press to build their shoulders.
The front delts make up the bulk of the shoulder, and studies show that bodybuilders attained five times the size of this muscle compared to the average population, largely because of bench pressing.
The Smith machine incline bench press was found to be especially effective in stimulating front delt growth, doing so with great efficiency when incorporated into a routine.
Its effectiveness is so remarkable that excluding all overhead pressing would not negatively affect growth results at all.
Stronger flat bench press
Training every muscle group is an important component of achieving a full-body strength. It’s often underestimated how much one weak part of the body can affect your strength in other areas.
In a sense, ignoring a specific muscle group is equivalent to missing out on a critical training session.
This means that working on developing all the muscles in our body is necessary to maintain balanced and overall strength.
Smith machine incline press alternatives
Smith machine bench press
The flat Smith machine bench press is an excellent exercise selection for those who train alone or would prefer a machine.
While free-weight bench presses can be dangerous, injuring many shoulders each year, the Smith machine version allows for significantly improved safety and still provides good chest development.
This allows users to challenge their chest muscles without risking injury and with less assistance from a spotter than when using a barbell.
Smith machine guillotine press
The Smith machine guillotine press is indeed aptly named, considering its inherent dangers.
While it is theoretically one of the best chest exercises that can be done in a gym environment, it must be admitted that it can be quite dangerous if proper caution is not exercised.
Specifically, if one does not take the time to ensure that he or she is properly strapped in and fully aware of proper technique, it is possible to guillotine oneself with this exercise.
Smith machine decline press
The Smith machine decline bench press is often considered one of the best exercises for building chest mass.
The setup can be a challenge, so many people prefer to use the regular barbell version instead; however, if you don’t have a spotter handy, the Smith machine has one huge advantage it’s much safer for those solitary training sessions.
No doubt adding this exercise to your strength program will take your gains and overall strength up a notch but make sure to always emphasize form over heavy weight!
Reverse grip Smith machine press
The Smith machine reverse grip bench press is a lesser-known exercise, and often overlooked, but you should certainly give it your time and attention.
While you may not be able to lift heavy weights on this exercise, what it lacks in weight, it more than makes up for in resistance.
The reverse grip bench press targets your upper pecs like no other move can and the results will be undeniable each muscle fiber will feel the burn after completing a few sets!