Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Shoulders, Triceps
Target Muscle Group


Chest Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Overview

The decline dumbbell bench press is a variation of the decline bench press. By using dumbbells during a decline bench press, you allow yourself for a greater range of motion during the exercise. Using dumbbells also requires a great deal of shoulder stability, thus it recruits more muscle fibers to stabilize the body than its barbell counterpart.

The decline dumbbell bench press is a chest exercise that also indirectly targets the shoulders, triceps, and core. The decline angle used during a decline dumbbell bench press is useful for those attempting to build the lower part of their chest.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Instructions

  1. Pick up the dumbbells off the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the ends of the dumbbells in your hip crease, and sit down on the edge of an decline bench.
  2. To get into position, lay back and keep the weights close to your chest. Once you are in position, take a deep breath, and press the dumbbells to lockout at the top.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells under control as far as comfortably possible (the handles should be about level with your chest).
  4. Contract the chest and push the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

**Dropping the dumbbells to the side is discouraged unless you are experienced with the technique or using excessively heavy weights.

**Ideally you should twist the dumbbells back to neutral (palms facing each other), bring your knees up so the ends of the dumbbells are touching your thighs, then use the weight of the dumbbells to rock back to an upright, seated position.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press Tips

  1. Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.
  2. Keep the weights slightly tilted at a 45 degree angle in order to keep the elbows in a neutral position.
  3. Don’t allow the dumbbells to collide at the top of each rep - bouncing them together may cause you to lose stability within the shoulder and injure yourself.
  4. Squeeze the dumbbells as tight as possible to improve a phenomenon known as “irradiation” which promotes greater shoulder stability.
  5. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  6. Imagine you’re trying to push yourself away from the weights rather than pushing the weights away from yourself.
  7. If you’re feeling pain within the shoulder joint itself (specifically at the front), ensure your shoulder blades are slightly retracted and try to keep the shoulder girdle “packed”.
  8. Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessive arch.
  9. Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t allow the lower body to move during the set.
Posted on: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 20:03

One of the tips state to "keep your feet flat on the floor." Im wondering how this is done at a decline? Should I leave the seat at 0 degrees and lower the seat back, down below 0....which would cause your spine to bend backwards....instead of being aligned with the thigh? Is this a safe position to lift in? Currently Im leaving the bench straight and inclining the seat while declining the back..so that the seat and back remains straight. But this means my feet are off the floor. Please advise.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 07/22/2024 - 06:54

Hi Raymond. I appreciate you pointing this out. If the bench does not have a place for you to hook your feet, then I do not suggest trying to do any modifications to perform a decline press. I will make a suggestion to my editor to alter this so it reflects that.

Thank you for reading M&S!

Posted on: Thu, 03/26/2015 - 18:56

I am wondering if I can do an alternate exercise instead of the decline dumbell bench press

Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2013 - 08:53

Is it all right to do this exercise and the incline dumbbell bench press using a barbell? Or is there a specific reason for using dumbbells?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:39

You can sub the dumbbells for a bar if you would like. Dumbbells have the advantage of forcing you to use each side independent of the other, which can help if you think there are issues with strength balance (dominant side stronger/bigger). It also challenges you to keep the movement controlled, which in turn can strengthen the mind-body connection. Form is key!

Posted on: Thu, 01/31/2013 - 14:20

Ahh ok. Yeah, I do find a bit of the strength problem you underlined. Not so much on my chest but one of my biceps definitely looks bigger than the other, especially when working out; but I'm a little scared to do more reps on one than the other to make up for it, the way I see it, it could just make things worse. I've been working on the form recently, sacrificing reps for slower, more controlled movement. Thank you for your time and advice mate.

Ben Jordon
Posted on: Sat, 03/24/2012 - 15:23

What if you do not have an incline bench? Is there another way

khalood alshamsi
Posted on: Mon, 04/02/2012 - 09:23

make ur own incline bench :)