Machine Incline Press Exercise
The machine incline press is an exercise that focuses upon the upper portion of the pectoral muscles. Because of better stability and safety than the standard incline barbell press, it’s preferred by most people new to the exercise. Many machines offer a choice of grips. A neutral grip (thumbs up, palms facing together) emphasizes the pectorals better than a pronated grip (palms forward). This move targets the pectorals, particularly the upper portion. Secondary emphasis is on the shoulders and triceps.
Machine Incline Press Technique – Proper Form
STARTING POSITION: Adjust the machine so your back rests comfortably against the pad and your feet are flat on the floor. The handles should be aligned right at or just below shoulder level when you sit.
MOVEMENT: Press the handles away from you until your arms are fully extended without locking out your elbows at the top. Pause for a moment and than slowly with a controlled movement bring the handles back toward your chest without letting the weights touch the stack.
Whether barbell, machine or dumbbell, incline presses target the often-lagging upper pec region.
- MAIN MUSCLES: upper pectoralis major (clavicular area), triceps, deltoids (anterior)
- SECONDARY MUSCLES: deltoids (medial), coracobrachialis, serratus anterior, subscapularis
- ANTAGONISTS: latissimus dorsi, biceps, deltoids (posterior)
Machine Incline Press Substitutes
There are many other pressing exercises to target your upper chest area. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each version to choose the one that suits you best.
Visit our upper chest exercises category to find more exercise.
Useful Tips & Tricks
- Keep your shoulders and lower back against the bench at all times during this exercise.
- Refrain from bouncing the handles back on the machine.
- For full development, contracting the working muscles on the ascent and controlling the descent is an
The machine incline press is a good upper chest exercise for beginners or those nervous of working with free weights. The movement is the same as with the machine bench press, but the incline, or the design of the machine, shifts work to the higher (clavicular) part of the pectoral muscles, and to the anterior part of the shoulders. Be sure to adjust the machine to match your height and limb length. Note that because the effort is more localized in the upper chest area rather than in the overall pectoral, you cannot handle as heavy a weight with the machine incline press as you can with a flat or decline press.