Decline Dumbbell Bench Press: How To, Tips, Benefits

Dumbbells are one of the best training implements in the gym to build a bigger and stronger chest. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or machine. Decline dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, working multiple muscles groups, and joints all in one fluid motion, for bigger gains and better performance.

What Is The Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

The decline dumbbell bench press is a compound movement and activates multiple muscle groups such as the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and your triceps. In addition to improving muscular imbalances, mobility, increasing core strength, and stability. Since the bench is positioned at a 30-40% downward slope, it naturally relieves pressure on your rotator cuffs and shoulders.

Like most other exercises, several variations of the decline dumbbell bench press exist, that may isolate, focus, or incorporate different muscle groups, for specific training purpose and intent. Weight positioning will determine what muscle groups you active. For example, a narrower position and descent with your elbows closer to the bench, will activate your triceps, as opposed to a wider position and descent, which will focus more on your chest.

Some decline dumbbell bench press variations include 

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Benefits

The decline bench itself, provides more added benefits in regard to muscle targeting and specific stimulation. EMG studies have shown that the bench press and dumbbell bench press can improve total muscle hypertrophy of the pectoralis, however the decline does provide relieve pressure on your shoulders, making it a worthwhile chest day exercise variation.  

  • Increased Strength
  • Better Posture
  • Stronger Upper Back And Chest
  • Better Chest Definition
  • Increased Shoulder Strength
  • Better Core Stability
  • Increased Core Strength
  • Improved Muscular Balance

How To Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Tuck your feet firmly between the pads, with each dumbbell on your knees. Lie back on the bench and bring the dumbbells back to your chest and push up as you lay down.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells, squeezing them tight.
  4. As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Tips And Tricks

  1. Always focus on executing proper form. Your body works in a specific plane of motion. Ensuring your grip , and breathing will produce better results.
  2. Make sure you are descending the dumbbells down directly in a straight line.
  3. Maintain control, with a 4 second descent, slight pause and press back up.
  4. 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.
  5. Decline dumbbell bench 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 dumbbell and barbell variations within your training program.
  6. When you plan to max out, make sure you have a spotter, so you can obtain one rep, with full range of motion.
  7. Focus on your breathing. On your descent, breath in, brace your shoulders, and tighten your ups, then breath out on your ascent, pushing the weight back up.
  8. If you want to work your triceps, use a close grip, bringing your elbows down into a narrower descent, towards the bench.
  9. Your glutes and shoulder blades should maintain their contact throughout your entire lift.
  10. As you descend, maintain control and bring the dumbbells down in a straight line, just above your nipple line hovering over your chest before your press back up.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press: Takeaway

Decline dumbbell bench is not a very common chest exercise variation, however it is important to change things up every now and again, to help stimulate muscle protein synthesis and avoid plateau to keep increasing muscle and strength. Dumbbell decline bench press can add more variability to help you continue growing and gaining.

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