Decline hammer-grip dumbbell bench press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, sit on the end of a declined bench and rest the dumbbells on your thighs.
  2. Hook your feet securely under the foot pads.
  3. Lie supine (on your back) and position the dumbbells next to the sides of your chest using a hammer or neutral grip (palms facing inward). Your elbows should be bent and tucked in to your sides at a 45-degree angle.


  1. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward and inward until your arms are extended over your chest.
  2. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells to the starting position or until you feel a mild stretch in your chest or shoulders.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • When you have finished the decline hammer-grip dumbbell bench press, try not to drop the dumbbells by your sides. Instead, rest the dumbbells on your thighs and sit up.
  • Compared with the standard pronated (overhand) grip, the hammer grip places less stress on your shoulder joints, making it more suitable if you suffer from shoulder pain. However, the pronated grip is arguably slightly more effective at working your chest because it usually involves a little more internal shoulder rotation. Since one of the functions of your chest muscles is to internally rotate your shoulder joints, the extra internal shoulder rotation that comes with the pronated grip can allow for a slightly deeper contraction.
  • Whichever grip you use, keep your elbows tucked in to your body at 45-degree angles. This reduces the pressure on your shoulder joints.

Decline hammer-grip dumbbell bench press video


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