Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press is a great exercise to develop the upper pectorals as well as the front delts. These muscles are important and are important for aesthetics. My favorite part of this exercise though, is the ability to squeeze the dumbbells together at the top and get a little something extra out of the lift.

Incline Dumbbell Press

Primary Muscles Used

Muscles Used in Incline dumbbell chest press

Incline Dumbbell Press Instructions

  • When starting out using dumbbells you always want to begin light for the first set or two, this ensures that you are able to get the form correct.  Dumbbells are the most free moving and require the most stabilization. If you're unsure of the right weight, start light and work your way up until you feel challenged but can still do an entire set using proper form.
  1. Sit on the bench and lean back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with hands positioned at your shoulders, elbows bent and angled down below your ribs. Relax your neck against the bench. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Brace your core and press both dumbbells straight up over your chest as you exhale. Keep your wrists straight. At the top of the movement, the dumbbells should almost touch each other and your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. You do not want to lock your elbows.
  3. Reverse the movement and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the top of your chest as you inhale. As you lower the dumbbells, your elbows should come down at roughly a 45-degree angle to your torso. They shouldn't splay out to the sides, pointing toward the side of the room. Instead, keep your elbows pointing to the floor.
  4. When you finish your set, safely exit the exercise by sitting up and placing the dumbbells on your knees before you stand up. Avoid dropping the dumbbells while you're lying on the incline bench.
  5. Repeat.
Incline Dumbbell Press

Benefits of the Incline Dumbbell Press

  • The dumbbell incline press targets the upper portion of the chest—specifically, the clavicular head of the pectoralis major—an area of the chest that's almost completely unengaged during other common chest exercises, like the traditional bench press, pushups, and chest fly. The incline press also hits the anterior head of the deltoid muscle of the shoulders, or the front part of your shoulder.
  • When the dumbbell incline press is performed regularly, you'll develop a more well-balanced chest and shoulder, helping to keep the shoulder joint stable and strong.
  • The dumbbell version of the incline press is especially beneficial for correcting strength imbalances between each side of your body. It's common for one arm to be stronger than the other. By using dumbbells to perform this exercise, each arm works independently, which prevents the dominant arm from overdeveloping to perform the lift, improving strength and stability on both sides of the body.
  • When using dumbbells you don't need to rely on a spotter.  If you can't get the weight, you can just drop them instead of getting stuck under a bar.
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