Decline Bench Press: How To, Tips, Benefits

The decline bench press is an effective bench press variation that will help build more strength and size in your lower chest. Set at a 15-30% slope, the decline bench press is an excellent isolated movement that can build more definition for a well-defined physique for a complete chest routine.

What Is Decline Bench Press 

Like other bench press variations, the decline bench press is also a compound movement. Compound movements incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints within one movement. Decline bench press integrates the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, as well as the triceps. What’s different about the decline bench press, is that it activates both the lower and the upper chest muscles, as well as the clavicle portion of the pectoral major. Studies have shown however, that all three bench press variations, flat bench, incline bench, and decline bench result in similar muscle activation in the chest and shoulders [R]. Decline bench does however reduce the stress placed on your back, shoulders, and rotator cuff. 

Some decline bench variations include 

Decline Bench Press Benefits

Decline bench press can provide additional benefits by isolating your lower chest, and developing that specific area of your chest, to support bigger heavier loads. Decline bench also provides more variety in your training program, helping to continue developing and building muscle mass and strength. 

  • Increased Strength
  • Better Posture
  • Stronger Back And Chest
  • Better Muscle Definition 
  • Lower Chest Activation
  • Increased Shoulder Strength

How To Decline Bench Press

  1. Lie flat on a decline bench and set your hands just outside of shoulder width on the bar, and feet tucked firmly under the pads.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench with your back flat on the bench.
  3. Make sure your palms are rotated straight with the bar
  4. Take a deep breath and unrack the barbell. Allow your spotter to help you with the lift off in order to maintain tension and positioning of your upper back. If you are not using a spotter, please note that the decline bench will be harder to unrack at heavy loads as compared to flat bench. We always advise on having a spotter with incline and decline bench.
  5. Inhale and descend the bar slowly in a straight line just touching your chest, bracing your abdominals and core.
  6. Drive the bar back up, let out your breath, and drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows.

    Decline Bench Tips And Tricks 

    1. Always focus on executing proper form. Your body works in a specific plane of motion. Ensuring your grip, feet placement, and breathing is in line with your lifts, will produce better results.
    2. Make sure you are descending the bar down directly in a straight line. If the bar becomes to distal towards your feet, you can potentially lose your grip and cause injury.
    3. Don’t pay attention to the weight. Everyone is different and we all have our own journey to follow. Ramp up your load and volume slowly overtime.
    4. Incline press should be used in your training program, but not used on every chest day training split. Exercise variability is important to increase muscle mass, strength, and core strength. Utilize different barbell variations within your training program, not just barbell bench.
    5. When you plan to max out, make sure you have a spotter, so you can obtain one rep, with full range of motion.
    6. Imagine that you are pushing your body away from the bar, instead of pushing the bar away from your body. This will encourage you to use good form.
    7. Before you begin your first set, place your hands on the bar and pull your chest up to the bar. This will loosen your muscles in preparation for more weight.
    8. If you want to work your triceps, use a close grip that is shoulder width apart.
    9. When deloading keep your elbows tucked and close to your sides as possible
    10. As you push the bar off your chest, squeeze and press the bar outward, as if you were trying to pull the bar apart. This forces more muscle fibers to be activated.
    11. Your glutes and shoulder blades should maintain their contact throughout your entire lift.
    12. Maintain control of the bar, touch your chest, and do not bounce the bar into your next rep.

    Decline Bench Press: Takeaway

    The decline bench is an effective exercise variation to add to your upper body or chest day training split. Decline bench can improve muscle mass and strength, specifically isolating your lower chest and supporting additional muscle growth and gains.


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