Incline dumbbell bench press exercise

Incline dumbbell bench press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Dynamic stabilizer: Biceps Brachii, Short Head (not highlighted)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a bench inclined at 45 degrees and rest one dumbbell on each knee.
  2. As you lie back on the bench, kick the dumbbells up, one at a time, into place.
  3. Position the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, with your elbows bent and tucked in to your torso a little.
  4. Straighten your wrists.
  5. Spread your legs and place your feet flat on the floor.


  1. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward and inward until your arms are almost fully extended and the dumbbells nearly touch.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your chest.
  3. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, or until you feel a mild stretch in your chest.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Use a bench inclination of 45 degrees because, when compared with other angles (0, 28, and 56), the clavicular head of the pectoralis major was found to be most active at 44 degrees, and 45 degrees is the closest setting.
  • Raise the seat of the bench a little to prevent yourself from sliding down.
  • Planting your feet, tucking in your elbows a little, and straightening your wrists allow you to drive from your legs, through your body, and up through your arms, thus getting your entire body behind the press.
  • Tucking your elbows in a little also reduces the pressure on your shoulders.
  • Try not to drop the dumbbells on the floor, by your sides, after you have finished. Instead, raise your knees and carefully bring the dumbbells down onto them. The weight of the dumbbells will then push your legs down and help you to sit up.
  • You can perform the incline dumbbell bench press unilaterally (one arm at a time), which will force the recruitment of more core stabilizer muscles and help you to develop unilateral strength. In order to enjoy the benefits of both unilateral and bilateral training, alternate between the two variations.
  • See also the dumbbell bench press and the incline reverse-grip dumbbell bench press.

Incline dumbbell bench press video


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