Smith machine incline bench press exercise

Smith machine incline bench press

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Dynamic stabilizers: Biceps Brachii (Short Head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Place a bench that is inclined at 45 degrees under the bar of the Smith machine.
  2. Secure the safety pins of the Smith machine to prevent the bar from being able to drop too low and injure you.
  3. Sit in position and grasp the bar using a pronated (overhand) grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.
  4. Plant your feet flat on the floor.
  5. Unlatch the bar from the rail by rotating it.


  1. Keeping your elbows tucked in a little and your wrists straight, exhale as you press the bar upward until your arms are almost fully extended.
  2. Inhale as you lower the bar either back to the starting position or until you feel a mild stretch in your chest.
  3. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  4. Rotate the bar to latch it back onto the rail after you have finished.

Comments and tips

  • Use the Smith machine incline bench press with safety pins locked in place if you have to press a heavy weight and you do not have a spotter for safety. If you have a spotter, use the incline barbell bench press.
  • Don’t lock out your elbows at the top of the movement.
  • Do not use a thumbless grip.
  • Keeping your elbows tucked in a little reduces the pressure on your shoulders.
  • Keeping your feet planted and your wrists straight permit you to drive up through your legs, body, and arms, thus getting your whole body behind the press.
  • In one study in which the angles of inclination of 1, 28, 44 and 56 were compared to see which one is best at activating the clavicular (upper) pectoralis major, 44 degrees was found to be most effective. That’s why an inclination of 45 degrees is recommended for this exercise.
  • Raise the seat of the bench a little to prevent yourself from sliding off.
  • See also the incline cable bench press and the incline dumbbell bench press.

Smith machine incline bench press video


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