Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: How To, Tips, Benefits

If you’re not including the incline dumbbell bench press in your chest day split, then you’re potentially missing out on some huge gains. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or chest machine. Incline dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, to build more muscle and strength in chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The incline dumbbell bench press is a compound movement and works multiple muscle groups such as the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and your triceps. Setting the bench at a 15-30% incline will activate your shoulders and place less stress on your rotator cuff, which is a common area for injury during flat bench press.

Like most exercises there are several variations of the incline dumbbell bench press. In comparison to the barbell bench press, grip translates to the positioning of your descent of the dumbbells.  For example, a wider and narrower grip positioning will target different parts of your chest to ensure a well-rounded aesthetic, more strength, and improved posture using a barbell incline bench. However wider descent and a narrow descent using dumbbells will target and isolate different parts of the chest, driving your elbows closer to the bench, or away from the bench.

Some incline dumbbell bench press variations include 

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Benefits

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

How To Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Lie flat on an incline bench and set your dumbbells on your knees. Kick up one dumbbell at a time, keeping them close to your body as you lay back. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, lay back and push up. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. 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. 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. drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows again not locking out.

Incline 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, feet placement, and breathing is in line with your lifts, 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. Incline 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 shoudlers, 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.
  11. Bring one knee up at a time, placing each dumbbell down, from the top of your lift when your set is finished.
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