Incline Dumbbell The Bench Press – An Entire Guide With Form Tips


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How to Perform the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press. Approach a free-standing adjustable bench, ensure you’ve got plenty of room on all sides of it (move it if necessary), and adjust the seat and back angle. Adjust the back pad so that it creates a 45 degree angle with the ground. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press Tips. Use a low incline of 15-30°.

This is high enough to emphasize the clavicular (upper) head of the pecs, but not so high that you’re using mostly shoulder strength to complete the lift. Stick your chest out and bring your scapulae together. This stabilizes your torso and allows you to activate the chest more. The Men’s Health fitness team breaks down the proper form for the dumbbell incline bench press exercise to grow your upper chest muscles. How to perform the incline dumbbell press with proper form.

Any serious bodybuilder should know that form trumps all when it comes to working out. Regardless of whether it’s an incline dumbbell bench press, mace 360, Indian club slasher or seated biceps curl. Own your form and your body will react accordingly. Set an adjustable bench to an incline of 30-45 degrees.

Lie on your back on the bench and hold a pair of dumbbells directly above your shoulders with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades together, and slightly stick out your chest. Lower both dumbbells to the sides of your chest.

The incline dumbbell bench press is a variation of the incline bench press and an exercise used to build the muscles of the chest. The shoulders and triceps will be indirectly involved as well. Utilizing an incline will allow you to better target the upper portion of the chest, a lagging part for a lot of lifters. Full workout: Chest – Barbell bench press 5×5 at 70% – Incline dumbbell bench 3×8 – Flat dumbbell flies 3×10 – Lower cable raises 3×12 Biceps -Dumbbell alternate curls 3×8 – Ez bar. HOW TO DO THE INCLINE BARBELL BENCH PRESS WITH PROPER TECHNIQUE.

Approach an incline bench press rack that has a barbell set at a comfortable rack height ; The Incline should be set at 30-45 degrees ; Retract and squeeze your scapulae together when laying on the bench. Maintain this retracted position throughout the entire lift. Mature Man Doing Dumbbell Incline Bench Press Workout. approximate reading time: Less than a minute. Check Out Lee On Instagram. Here’s your complete guide.

Continue Reading. What’s new online Get a Form Check With Lee Boyce. Lie on an incline bench, gripping a barbell with an overhand grip. Plant your feet on the floor. Lower the bar towards your chest, then press it back up to the start.

Dumbbell bench press.

List of related literature:

Briefly, the spotter should stand behind the bench press and use an alternated grip (i.e., one hand using a supinated grip and the other hand using a pronated grip) when lifting the bar out of the racked position on the bench and when helping rerack the barbell.

“Laboratory Manual for Exercise Physiology” by Greg Haff, Charles Dumke
from Laboratory Manual for Exercise Physiology
by Greg Haff, Charles Dumke
Human Kinetics, 2012

For a balanced lift-off, the spotter’s hands should be evenly spaced on the bar with one hand over the bar and one hand under the bar.

“Complete Conditioning for Basketball” by Bill Foran, Robin Pound, National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association
from Complete Conditioning for Basketball
by Bill Foran, Robin Pound, National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association
Human Kinetics, 2007

(2) Lower the weight down to the upper chest, stop for a moment, then press it back up to the starting position.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

It seems so simple: You lie down on the bench, take the bar out of the rack, guide it down to your chest, and then extend your elbows.

“Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
from Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2015

For the free weight bench press, the subject should lie supine on the bench with both feet flat on the floor with the buttocks and shoulders in contact with the bench.

“Applied Exercise and Sport Physiology, With Labs” by Terry J. Housh, Dona J. Housh, Herbert A. deVries
from Applied Exercise and Sport Physiology, With Labs
by Terry J. Housh, Dona J. Housh, Herbert A. deVries
Taylor & Francis, 2017

To properly perform the incline press, position yourself on an incline bench set at a 35to 45-degree angle.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

You may want to have a spotter on each side of the bar to help lift the bar up to the starting position and to take the weight back to the floor when you are finished.

“52-week Basketball Training” by Chip Sigmon
from 52-week Basketball Training
by Chip Sigmon
Human Kinetics, 2003

Have the spotter help you lift the bar off the rack.

“Athletic Body in Balance” by Gray Cook
from Athletic Body in Balance
by Gray Cook
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2003

Incline bench press Equipment: Incline bench, squat rack, spotter Movement: Using an overhand grip, slowly raise and lower the bar to the chest (both feet flat on the floor).

“Physical Fitness and Wellness: Changing the Way You Look, Feel, and Perform” by Jerrold S. Greenberg, George B. Dintiman, Barbee Myers Oakes
from Physical Fitness and Wellness: Changing the Way You Look, Feel, and Perform
by Jerrold S. Greenberg, George B. Dintiman, Barbee Myers Oakes
Human Kinetics, 2004

To recap: place the feet and grip shoulder-width apart, grip the bar like the bench press, keep the back neutral, descend straight to the clavicles, tilt the head back while looking forward, raise the bar along the same path, shift the torso forward slightly, squeeze the glutes, and lock out.

“Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body” by Michael Matthews
from Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body
by Michael Matthews
Oculus Publishers, 2019

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • The way you make us understand is really outstanding. Another great video. This exercise really very effective for mass chest muscle gain. Thanks for sharing the method with us.

  • That shortness of breath might be from some anxiety. 10mg of propranolol would help tremendously-not with the anxiety per se, just the shortness of breath. Slows the heart a bit. Just a thought.

  • If only I knew I should be watching these guys 5 years ago and not the ifbb idiots…man I would look much better today. I used Mike’s volume recommendations for side delts and my shoulders grew quite a bit

  • Love this exercise. I used to work out regularly in my 50s. Now that I’m nearing the end of my 60s I’ve seriously let things slide. What would be a good weight to safely start out? I was always a little fuzzy on determining ideal starting weight. Thanks again Mike

  • Awesome, I’d been really struggling with bar path on this and I think this was due to hitting the same point on my chest as with the flat bench. Looking forward to trying this with the bar much closer to the chin. Great video.

  • Your videos are awesome! Question. Ideal rep range is 10-20. If my first set is 13 reps, 2nd 11, 3rd 9 and I finish with 4th set at 7 reps is that proper rep range assuming I’m 2 RIR for each set?

  • I was so worried about you suffocating cause you were trying to catch your breath like crazy hahah You guys are the best when it comes to gym science! Love your videos! Keep going and stay buff! 😉

  • i literally searched inclined from you guys yesterday because im doing your 12 week program third edition and everytime i finish with incline my shoulders hurt so bad i cant even do the normal bench press

  • im barrel chested my entire pec points basically upward, so to actually feel upperchest i have to use a steep (45deg or more) incline angle. for probably a similar reason ohp does a good job for me as well

  • This was helpful. I just started doing DB incline press, since the gym is closed and I have to workout in the garage. I need better form, not really feeling the burn, fatigue or DOMS.

  • Uh oh. Alpha destiny rules apparently say he can’t eh press for shit. Apparently a 4x Olympia champ has no idea what he’s doing..��

  • I tried these today after watching your video and I really liked it, I can totally see this becoming one of my favorite chest exercises too. I need to get a good bench cause I really wanna try the low incline exercise as well.

  • I am a terrible bencher. Long arms, tiny fore arms, small wrists…. large range of motion. Slightly incline feels te best for people with long arms I think (at least in my situation).
    What’s your expierence guys?

  • Excellent explanation Jay I HAVE to do these in order to really hit my chest maybe genetics or what have you but that’s for sharing!

  • Could you please do a tutorial for decline dumbbell bench press? Thanks, mate! Btw, I tried the kettle bell squat today and I could barely finish three sets of ten, haha. Awesome exercise when no other weights around

  • all is great for people with Long ass femur and short tibula /fibula, if you are not genetically gifted then raising knees will not work, clean it and throw yourself back

  • This is so INCREDIBLY HELPFUL especially with those lines you and Scotthermanfitness are perfect for learning proper lifting techniques without trying to sell me crap I dont want nor care for.

  • This is a very good workout. Incline dumbbell bench press is actually one of the best workouts that builds the chest muscles in my opinion. There is also a another way of working your chest similar to this routine which is opening your arms out wide, and pulling the dumbbell back, and forth laying down on the bench, which i think works wonders too.

  • out of my big three compounds. my bb bench was weakest. and had not the best chest genetic compared to my other body parts…shittt compared to my legs etc. started doing heavy reps on flat db press…all of the sudden i developed bitch tits

  • another great tutorial on the dumbbell incline bench press, really like how this exercise works on your upper chest and shoulders, thank you for all the sets and reps.

  • 0:13 Intro
    0:42 Mistake #1 Looking for an “ideal” angle
    1:59 Mistake #2 Looking for an ideal” elbow position
    2:46 Mistake #3Improper Back arch and shoulder retraction
    3:56 Mistake #4 – Not enough range of motion
    5:12 Mistake #5 – Not having a standardized range of motion
    6:20 Mistake #6 – Not controlling the eccentric
    7:24 Mistake #7 – Allowing hips to rise
    8:53 Mistake #8 – Going too heavy or too light
    10:48 Concluding remarks

  • You taught 1.3 million people how to destroy their shoulders with incorrect dumbbell pressing form. 45 degrees to the chest, press, squeeze at the top and slowly lower the weight, repeat. I’ve been weightlifting and learning for 4 years now, and i figured out how to dumbbell press for maximum efficiency and least risk of injury in 45 minutes of research. Please don’t take this video as the fucking bible

  • I understand the constant tension concept here but this range of motion is insuffucient. To get the maximum of both ROM and TUT I’d suggest you stop like half an inch before locking your elbows at the top. What Jay is doing is more like a partial rep from the bottom of the motion which has its benefits but it would leave you with a huge gap between your pecs if it was your main chest building exercise.

  • This video about incline dumbbell bench press form was great! I learned a lot new things and definitely recommend checking it out.

  • Your guys saved me so many times while I’m at the gym and uncertain what my form should look like haha. Still a noob at lifting so I really appreciate all the content yo u put out.:)

  • Excellent advice. Ive never heard ANYONE say do the warm-up dumbell exercise WITHOUT weights, and Ive never thought of it. I think its Brilliant. Thanks for the great Demo.!!!

  • Today is push day, and guess what.. my PRIORITY is upper chest! Boom. Back to back amazing vids. More like back to back to back to back to back to back.. but you know.

  • Great info as always. I try and incorporate each new bit of info I learn here into my routine. Really appreciate the service you are providing and my family is happy to see me in the gym. Thanks, Doc.

  • Would love to see a video on isohold and iso-chest exercises. For time longest time I had issues with doing any sort of benching or push exercises and actually feeling a pump or any soreness. It wasn’t until I did a ton of iso holds and cable work, I made the mind muscle connection so I could then properly contract the pecks.

  • Why do half reps? You stop parallel to the floor? If this was bench press you wouldn’t even touch the bar to the chest doing so small range?

  • Love the fact you recognise the incline angle isn’t one size fits all. This applies to other exercises as well like rear delts. I’ve had to heavily play with the angles to find what works for me. I’ve dumped too many exercises because I just didnt connect with the muscle. I really have to isolate muscles because I’m too dominant in others.

  • tbh. don’t need the incline press.mostly an anterior delt dominant move. shoulders get too much work in general hence everyone in the gym has. shoulder issues.. flat or decline presses work the chest as it was designed to work..

  • I have a hard time keeping weights from touching, I do 95lbs for 3 sets of 10-12 but my arms are long so I feel like I’m not doing proper stretch when pressing. I’m going to practice this technique with lighter weight.

  • Glad I found you mike. Your the fucking most honest guy on this youtube shit. Keep making good videos man. No fancy science just straight up knowledge and experience. Great shit

  • Dude I think you have some kind of a respiratory problem, you are always out of breath just by talking, you should seriously check that out! Amazing content btw

  • I think the most important aspect for any exercise is to do it properly and your videos have been of real help. Thanks for this video on dumbbell incline bench press with the optimal reps and sets for bench.

  • It’s actually surprising to see a lot of people using poor form when doing this exercise. im gonna try and correct my form using this video

  • Within the past 2 days I decided to get off my ass and “work out” (inhouse quick calisthenics)… I do have dumbells though! I’m going to go ahead and do this NOW.:D Thanks doc

  • I almost dismounted like that today on incline db curls…then i pussed-out and just dropped em’ ��������…we have rubber mats and rubber coated weights �� otherwise i would have dismounted. I gave a spot to a guy doing 5 reps w/ 90s he weighted only about 160 Lbs!

  • Dr. Anthony, thank you for sharing such an awesome workout, I’ve been looking for chest exercises for a while. I usually don’t let dumbbells touch, which is obviously a mistake!

  • This guy, the dude Chris from physics of greatness and Scooby Werkstatt contributed to me doing the dumbbell bench press with proper form, thank you, additionally this is a brilliantly magnificent demonstration.

  • Hi Dr Balduzi, as always incredibly informative, I have seen this exercise carried out on a Swiss ball, what are your thoughts on this? At the age of 58 I visit the gym just twice a week carrying out full body exercises, with yoga and body weight exercises in between at home. Is this a good strategy? Many thanks.

  • Thanks Dr Mike for another great video. Number 8 was especially helpful… Would you please do a video on Hack squats and pros and cons of wide stance and narrow stance, feet high on the platform and lower on the platform, and rep range. Thanks again for your videos, they are very helpful.

  • question should your elbows be more straight out from the shoulders or closer to your side or dose it make any difference?? really enjoy the channel thanks

  • I literally just searched for this video yesterday and then realised Buff Dudes hadn’t made one yet �� Then this pops up in my feed today!

  • I’m always slightly confused where to exactly set the bench, I seen some ppl setting it high and others low I try to find a happy medium

  • I got to get me an incline bench for my home gym. There are so many useful workouts I want to try with a bench especially this one. I need to get my chest muscles tight.

  • I know this channel it more about hypertrophy than strength, but I’ve previously done heavy (sets of 3-5) incline dumbbell press as a bench accessory, the theory being the independent weights even out any asymmetries and the incline obviously stimulates more of the pec than you easily tap into with bench. Is this sound or foolish? Seems a lot of people do them for bench accessory, but if your sole goal is a bigger bench, are they recommended?

  • I love that the comment section is still (mostly) about the exercises.
    In other channels it’s all memes and jokes. They look like kids that don’t even train and watch fitness videos for fun.

  • 2:24 “externally rotating in”? does that make sense haha! Informative video nonetheless!! Also a quick question, when I do bench presses (with dumbbells) I feel a “pop” in my anterior shoulder, it doesnt hurt or anything but it feels a bit..”awkward”, any tips?

  • Hey, been a big fan for 1 and half a year, was wondering if you had any stretching vids? like for the front of the shoulder.
    May the Buff be with you

  • I only have dumbbells. Should I train a few mesocycles incline press and then a few normal press or both in the same mesocycle? Will I lose upper pec size if I focus on normal bench for a few mesocycles?

  • Just started to watch your videos. Love the content, really doing a great job educating people (for free)! I would like to see some other excersises like: RDL, hip thrust, Bulgarian split squats, overhead presses. Lol I can go on and on..

  • You guys are so charismatic and pedagogical in the way you educate, it feels like bro-love right through the screen ^^. Such motivational people!

  • Wow this is great method of incline dumbbell bench pres form. So I like this very much. This is very useful method. Thanks for sharing this video tips.

  • Always had trouble with lowering the bar directly on the clavicle with this exercize, my front delts feel like they’re going to tear apart. There’s always like 5-10cm left. Gonna have to try the bar bending thing.

  • Hey buff dudes! I heard that doing bench press and incline press with dumbbells is more effective way to build muscles than with barbell. What is your opinion on that?

  • One small tip: Externally rotate your arms a bit like he does to take the pressure off of your front delts and activate the chest more.

  • How about drop sets? Where do drop sets fit in a program? Do they just pump blood and add to fatigue or are they worth throwing in?

  • I disagree with only using dbs for 10 plus rep range. I do not feel much of a stretch from barbell so have always generally used dbs. Yes I can’t lift as much but 6-10 reps on 50kg dbs keeping it controlled, more stretch and a good squeeze has always yielded better results for me.

  • is there such a thing as being able to train the “inner” chest? do some variations e.g. arm coming across the body emphasise this? or is this broscience

  • You gents always make some of the most informative, to the point and easy to understand videos ��������

    You’ve been keeping my posture and form correct and helping me stay injury free for many years!

    I truly thank you! ����
    Looking forward to many more years of great content ahead ��������

  • I started lifting earlier this year to gain weight and after 37 years of an Auschwitz type body I don’t have very good M-M connection, especially with chest.

    Just today, after months of working out and watching tons of YT vids on technique, after doing the chest press on a machine my shoulders (front delts?) were on fire at the end of the set, not my pecs.

    After watching this, I think my shoulders are coming forward, even though I know to bring them back and pinch shoulder blades. Also kinda hard to keep chest above shoulders when you have no chest. Fml ��

  • Dudes, quick question: i bought your bulking book and starting in a few weeks. Do i need to bulk the full week or do i get to have a “cheat day” once a week? Greets from the Netherlands.

  • The idea of adjusting the inclination of the bench after a few weeks is a good idea and the details for preventing injuries is very useful. Cheers.

  • Excellent vid. Used to do wuth barbell but tore my shoulders up. Been doing dumbbells and am making great gains in both development and strength. Am up to 60’s for 6 reps and working to gial of 100’s. I’m 65 and an ER doc and th your video series is outstanding!!

  • I really like the incline dumbbell press. It is definitely among my favorite exercises. Thank you for showing us how to do them properly!

  • I have a problem when I’m trying to perform chest workouts (dumbbells or barbells) I mostly feel it in my shoulders and arms, instead of my chest.

    Does this mean the weight is too heavy?
    I can stabilize the weights without effort and I am putting my traps back when on barbell but stays the same.

    Help/tips appreciated.

  • I’m finding that, if I’m putting all my effort into keeping my shoulders back, it’s hurting them anyway. So they’re getting tired doing that alone. Can’t feel a thing on my chest.

  • Good video but why are you showing people how to flair their shoulders out? You should be more at 90 degree angle and protecting the shoulders even more. That’s how you snap your shit up when the weight starts getting heavier

  • The only thing missing is the “ideal” way to get them into position. I also prefer 12-15 rep range for these with slower paused reps

  • I would be interested in a 45 degree back extension instruction. I find i only feel it in my lower back and am not sure if my technique needs fixing or if the exercise just isn’t for me.

  • Cmon though, every single strength training coach will tell you, you need to lock out. Rippetoe would cringe if he saw that press.

  • Can i do this on my bed? I have one of those reclining bed but I don’t think I’d have a good grip of the floor since my bed is wide…

  • Dumbbells could be used to correct imbalances but they cause them too unless your form is perfect, and if your form is perfect with Dumbbells, your possibly not going heavy enough for growth. In addition, a barbell allows a wider grip and more weight under control and the stretch feels stronger on the negative portion of the lift for me. The barbell touching the chest in that same sweet spot each time encourages good mind muscle connection.

  • I see what I did wrong like I touched the dumb bell and how do you squeeze the chest? like breath in or out? Also what is the best weight to use on ea dumbbells? I just start getting back to the gym and start lifting to lose chest fat

  • i have long arms, this movement and mostly all pushing movements are a pain haha, you got to figure out your hand position without fucking up the form.

  • Sadly we live in times where fuckboys dickride guys like Mike Rashid, CT Fletcher, Simeon Panda etc more than knowledgeable people like Jay. you can see their influence on young guys in the gym clearly, they are always angry, trying to be alpha, mugging everyone including women and older ladies and create a toxic environment in the gym, all of that stems from meathead attitude that is being preached by social media celebs, whereas true champs like Jay cutler are being ignored.

  • Another informative and well explained tutorial by fit father project. I will try to follow your guideline guys. Thanks for sharing.

  • WOW have you noticed how he was talking with an Ease to demonstrate the movement while doing the exercise? and this is not light weight

  • Hey doc, question time: so I usually don’t lock out on my incline or flat bench presses because I find it throws my scapula too far forward and I have to focus on pulling my scapula’s back on every rep. Does that mean I’m doing something wrong? Should I be pulling my scapula’s back every rep?

  • thats the worst form u could ever use if u wanna tear ure pack then go ahead idiots this shit head is gonna have to get a surgery or his fukhing pack well tear apart if he keeps doing it.

  • I have seen a couple people say not to touch the dumbbells together. Greg Plitt did a video about doing chest presses and flys a while back. He specifically says to touch the dumbbells together and that is what I have been doing the entire time. Can anybody explain to me why or why not? I feel like I get a nice pump in my chest raising the dumbbells, but as I touch them together it works my arms.