Build a Big Chest: 3 Easy Tips to Maximize Incline Bench Press

What do you do when an IFBB Pro gives you tips on how to build a bigger chest? At Muscle & Strength, we record it to relay the information to our readers.

Team Allmax athlete and IFFB Pro, Steve Kuclo, recently visited the Muscle & Strength headquarters in Columbia, SC.

After impressing everyone by setting new gym records during his shoulder workout, Steve gave us a few pointers on how to build a bigger chest using the incline bench press.

Over the years, Steve has picked up several tips on improving his chest. Although he wouldn’t necessarily call his chest a lagging body part, it is definitely one he has had to improve upon to ensure his physique is in peak aesthetic shape for competition.

Everyone, from the gym newbie to the seasoned veteran lifter, knows how to get on a bench and press a bar. Yet, so many still suffer from an underdeveloped chest.

Steve says it’s not about just getting under the bar and moving the weight. Anyone can do that. You’ve got to find little tweaks in the exercise to emphasize the chest and really make the lift work for you.

Tip #1: range of motion

Steve is real big on limiting the range of motion and states a lot of people will comment on his youtube videos asking why he sticks to a partial motion or restricted motion. However, in Steve’s case, it’s purposely done.

By reducing the range of the lift, he takes out the accessory body parts. He doesn’t go all the way down to his chest, because he wants to keep his shoulders out of it. In the bottom 2-4 inches of the rep, Steve feels the lift primarily in his shoulders.

Related: How to Build Muscle - 5 Step Guide to Lean Gains

Instead, Steve takes the bottom portion completely out of the equation and focuses on the upper 8-12 inches of the rep without completely locking out.

Tip #2: Utilizing Different Grips

By employing different grips, you can target different muscle groups during the press. Steve prefers going with a little bit of a wider grip. Again, he feels that this grip allows him to better target his chest by taking out some of the shoulder’s contribution to the lift. Steve also mentions if you were to go with a close grip incline bench press, you would target your triceps a little more.

Additionally, Steve likes to use what is called a suicide grip. This is performed by placing your thumbs underneath the bar as opposed to wrapping them around the bar. Utilizing a suicide grip allows you to really focus on pushing the bar.

Tip #3: Using the right Tempo

Tempo is paramount to the duration of tension on the muscle. Steve likes to focus on the eccentric portion of the press, lowering the bar slowly. Then, he raises the bar up with an explosive movement.

While some lifters like to focus on the squeeze or concentric portion of the movement, others swear by focusing on the negative portion. As Steve mentions at the beginning of the video, it’s all about finding tweaks to the lift that best work for you.

Try to work all three of these tips into your next sets of incline bench press on chest day. Range of motion, grip, and tempo have all helped Steve build a competition winning chest. Hopefully they can help build your's too!

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