Buff shirtless man performing incline dumbbell bench press in a gym.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press What It Is And What It Builds

Are you looking for balanced strength growth in building your chest? The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press is a fantastic exercise that you can perform using multiple angles to develop every part of the chest evenly.

Exercise Summary For Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

  • Primary Muscles Worked: Chest (Pectoralis Major)
  • Other Muscles (Secondary) Worked: Deltoids, Triceps
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, incline bench
  • Mechanics Type: Compound
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic

How To Perform Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Properly

The Setup

Setting up for an incline press can be challenging, especially when you are lifting heavy. There are many ways to get set up, but many of them can cause serious injury. Here is a way to minimize the chance of injury. Start out with a lightweight and practice the movement and setup before you start lifting heavy.

  • Set The dumbbells on the ground directly in front of where your feet will be when you sit down.
  • Sit on the incline bench.
  • Bend forward at your hips and while bracing with one hand on your thigh, pick up the dumbbell with your other hand and set it on your thigh.
  • While balancing the first dumbbell on your thigh bend forward at your hips and lift the other dumbbell to your other thigh.
  • You should now how both dumbbells resting on your thighs.
  • Before you sit back lower your chest to the dumbbells and lift the dumbbells to your chest.
  • Now lay back on the incline bench while bringing the dumbbells with you.
  • Now you should be ready to press.

The Execution

  • Ensure you have good contact with you feet planted, your butt back as far in the bench as you can and your upper back firmly on the bench.
  • Press both dumbbells straight up. You will have some natural movement in above your body, but don’t bang the dumbbells together at the top.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells while leaving your arm from your elbow to your wrist near vertical or slightly angled toward your body.
  • You should use as much of a full range of motion as you can comfortably.

Setting The Weights Down

Setting the dumbbells back down is the reverse process you used to lift them up. Although, you should never be concern that you can drop the dumbbells. You really shouldn’t drop the weights, but if you a starting to lose control, better the weight hit the ground than you. Here is a controlled manner to set the dumbbells down.

  • Bring the weights to your chest.
  • Sit up with then and set them one at a time on your thighs.
  • Place them on the ground one at a time in front of you.
Man performing incline dumbbell bench press with MuscleMagFitness logo background.

Good Video On Proper Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Setup and Execution by Adam Schafer

How To Incline Dumbbell Press - The Right Way! (GROW YOUR CHEST)

Utilized Muscles

Target (Agonist) Muscles

  • Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Clavicular

Synergist Muscles

  • Deltoids
  • Triceps

Stabilizers Muscles

  • Bicep Brachii

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • Teres Major
  • Rhomboid
  • Infraspinatus

Changing What Part of Your Chest Is Activated

The easiest way to change what part of your chest is being worked is to change the angle of the bench. The steeper the angle the more you will activate your upper chest and deltoids. The lower the angel the more towards the middle of your chest will be activated.

Tips For Getting Better Results

Here are some quick tips to ensure that you are building your chest effectively and avoiding injury.

  • Keep your elbows under the weight. If you let the dumbbells drift to far in or out you can strain a muscle or drop a dumbbell on your self.
  • Use your full range of motion. Some people believe in half movements and they can be effective when done occasionally. Although, the majority of the time you want to use the full range of motion.
  • Go slow on the negative. Lower the dumbbells on each set slowly at a 4-6 second pace. Ideally, using the slow negatives will increase muscle hypertrophy. As a result your muscle will grow more for less reps. You can also press the dumbbells slowly for muscle growth, or faster for speed strength.
  • Arc your back slightly. You want your lower back of the bench slightly with your butt as far back in the bench as you can. In contrast you don’t want to lift your butt of the chair and arch your back. If you do this you are lifting to much weight and you should be doing standard bench press instead.

Check Out This Video For Other Ways To Change Your Chest Activation

Dumbbell Bench Press (BETTER CHEST ACTIVATION!)

The Don’ts Of Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (Don’t Do These)

It is extreamly important to work on your form before your try to develop strength using weight lifting. Avoid these mistakes so that you reduce your chance of injury and maintain good mobility.

  • Don’t drop the weights to your side. You can seriously damage your shoulder if you allow the weights to drop to the side. Especially, if you try to slow the descent of the dumbbells.
  • Don’t press the dumbbells over your head. Now part of the dumbbells may be over your head, but the center of mass should be over your chest. Some people have a tendency to look at the dumbbells and draw them towards their eyes. Yet you can avoid this by focusing on a point beyond the dumbbells.
  • Don’t lift your butt off the bench. If your only points of contact become your feet and your upper back, you are lifting to much weight. Lower the weight and start working on your form again.

Go here if you are looking for a great guide on Standard Dumbbell Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Variations

Here are a few variations you can use to mix up your training for incline press.

Additional Exercises that Target the Same Muscle Groups

The following exercises can be performed instead of {exercise} or to complement it.

Incline Dumbell Flys. Dumbbell flys are an isolation exercise for your chest. To isolate your upper chest to work a similar part as in incline press do incline flys.
Bent Arm Dumbbell Pullovers. Bent arm pullovers will work your chest and you lats. This is a great exercise to working into your chest training.
Pec Deck Flys. If you want the truest chest isolation exercise, then you want the pec deck. Admittedly, the pec deck has the most constant resistance through the entire range of motion . To utilize the Pec Deck to work your upper put a rolled towel behind your upper back to give you the incline effect.

Complementary and Superset Options

The following exercises can be done with {exercise} to make a superset targeting the primary muscle and its antagonist muscle.

Dips. Dips will work the lower part of your chest well to complement your incline press.
One Arm Bent Over Rows. If you are looking for a good antagonist exercise to perform supersets with the incline press, the one arm row is excellent.

Looking For More Chest Exercises

Check out this article Chest Workout Routine For Mass That Works Every Chest Fiber.

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