Incline benching has greater athletic strength transfer & develops a more aesthetic upper body. Unless you compete in powerlifting, there’s no compelling reason to flat bench press Incline is more joint friendly, less likely to lead to pecs tears
The man that popularized the flat bench press, Bill Starr, he thought the INCLINE BENCH was the superior exercise. He said on record many times in interviews that he considered the incline to be the superior lift. But most HS gyms in the 1970s didn’t have good incline benches.
So Starr made a compromise. He made the flat bench the main pressing exercise in the beginner program that would go on to become so famous. While other programs would include the OH press & incline bench, the Bench press became cemented as THE premiere upper body lift.
The Incline Bench Press has a few distinct advantages over the bench press:
1. It is a “Pure” pressing pattern that you cannot cheat. The ROM cannot be shorted like the flat bench press with a back arch, the weight cannot be bounced The more you arch, the less functional it becomes
2. It is a superior muscle builder for the upper chest, shoulder, and triceps. Unlike the flat bench press, which can sometimes be a mediocre muscle builder unless a lifter has the inherent structure for it, the incline bench press works for any body type.
3. The Incline bench more closely mimics a natural pressing pattern in stand up contact sports, especially specific for tackling. Tackling takes SHOULDER and arm strength more than pec pressing.
4. Aesthetics. For building a thick, wide chest and powerful shoulders, the incline bench press cannot be beat. It was with good reason that it was a staple with classic and golden age bodybuilders (Steve Reeves used to incline bench exclusively for 3 month blocks)
5. The Incline can be customized. 45 degrees works shoulders, upper chest, triceps. 30 degrees is middle and upper pecs, plus shoulder. 15 degrees, low incline, works the entirety of the pecs (and it’s the strongest position biomechanically)
6. WAY less injuries. Pec tears happen to about 100% of people that flat bench seriously. The irony to flat bench technique is that all the arching and shortening the ROM is to make it into a DECLINE kind of press. You’d be better off doing DIPS if you want chest development
7. Incline Bench press is a MINDSET. Exceptional results require unconventional thinking. Why do you insist on performing exercises that are mediocre in their training effects? Why do you think according to dogma? Break out of the old paradigms.