The following article was written by oldtime bodybuilder Jack Johnston in 1948. Here you will learn about the history of incline bench too! -Mr. Berg
“This month I give you details for building a simple incline bench which will be very useful in your training – in fact it is almost a “Must” piece of equipment if you want that fine deep chest with a high arch resulting from full development of the entire pectoral muscles as well as a lifting into an arch of the rib box. It also gives maximum development to the front portion of the deltoid muscles as well as being a superb means of developing the triceps.
You will find that you can work out a number of fine exercises on this incline bench and many will be presented from time to time in Iron Man.
Such exercises as the so called “flying exercise”, the “triceps curl” with barbells or dumbbells and above all the “supine press” or the “incline press” as it is sometimes known with either barbells or dumbbells but preferably with dumbbells.
This latter exercise is probably the most popular and most effective known exercise for developing the pectoral and front of deltoids. You will discover many uses for this bench in your gym and it is not at all difficult to build.
The incline bench was first brought to the publics attention by Ed Yarick and Jimmie Lippie. The one we are about to describe is just a little different in its construction than most you might have seen and I feel it is a little more convenient.
The bench is made mostly of white pine. You will need one 2×4 of 29 inches long to be used as a brace through the center, 2 angle irons to support the seat and some screws and nails. You will also need several 1 inch boards of 10 or 12 inches wide. If you like comfort you should have some padding and leatherette for padding the seat and incline board.
We will start with the top surface or bench itself on which you lay. You will need a board 1 inch thick by 10 or 12 inches wide and 48 inches long for this.
Then for the front leg or support you will need a similar board of 18 inches long and for the back leg another of 45 inches long. These boards should be 12 inches wide if possible to give a wider base. If you make the top board of 10 inch material then the legs should be tapered up to it as shown in illustrations. Nail the legs to the top board or bench.
This bench or top board will set at about a 40 or 50 degree angle. Now nail a 1 by 4 inch piece from the front leg to back leg and on each side. These are your spacer boards to keep the legs a certain distance apart. Now nail another 1 by 4 inch piece across the ends or near the ends of these spacer boards and snuggly against the legs.
They should also be nailed to the legs to give greater strength and rigidity. Now put in the angle brace through the middle. This can be the 2 by 4 piece or if you prefer you can use a 1 inch piece of greater width. This should run from the center of the top board or bench down to the junction of the back leg and cross brace and should be firmly nailed.
Now you should put cleats across the top board against the front leg and back leg to make them stronger at their junction. These are marked as braces on the photo.
Now you should cut the seat from a piece of 2 by 8 inch material (thinner wood can be used but it won’t be as strong or firm). This should be fastened with the angle braces of iron at the proper height (determined by leaning back on the bench and marking the spot where you feel most comfortable).
Fasten this on with screws. If you can’t obtain the angle irons you can cut triangular braces from wood tho they may not be permanently firm unless they are glued and screwed to the bench strongly.
If you wish to pad the bench now is the time to do it. You will want the seat very well padded to. You can obtain some nice round headed tacks and some nice trim for this to match the leatherette.
If you want more stability sideways in the bench we suggest that you nail a two and a half foot piece of 1 by 4 across the back leg. This will prevent the bench from tipping when beginners are using it.
This is not shown in the photo but should should be nailed down close to the floor and square with the bench so the bench will set level.
Now finish the bench off with sand paper and varnish or paint it and you are ready to go to work on that big chest.”
Iron Researcher and interested reading everything about web development, history of muscle and strength. Further buying old books and magazines for neckberg.com!