Dumbbell Squeeze Press: How To Do, Muscles Worked & Benefits

The dumbbell squeeze press is an upper body workout that engages the chest muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

The dumbbell chest squeeze press is also easy to learn and progressively overload, which is why it’s used to good effect in both novice and advanced training programs. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how to perform the dumbbell squeeze press correctly. You will also learn its benefits, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to do it best variations.

You will also be introduced to some of the best alternative versions of it.

What Is Dumbbell Squeeze Press

As the name suggests, you are performing both squeezing and pressing during the squeeze press exercise.  By applying pressure to the dumbbells, you’re working the inner part of your chest.

The Squeeze Press is an excellent choice for training your chest without hurting your shoulders.

This exercise is a better choice than dumbbell chest flies. The Squeeze Press is a shoulder-friendly press because it doesn’t require extra mobility in the shoulder joint.

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Dumbbell Chest Squeeze Press Muscles Worked

The dumbbell squeeze press primarily works the inner and upper pectoralis major muscles, in addition to its target to the main pectoral muscle.

It has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

A handful of other muscles worked or play the role of stabilizer muscles, including your

How to Do Dumbbell Squeeze Press

The dumbbell squeeze press is one of the most effective chest pressing exercises you can perform to induce functional hypertrophy of the pecs, particularly the inner pectorals.

During this exercise, the dumbbells should remain in contact with each other at all times, and you should actively squeeze them inward as hard as possible.

  1. Take the dumbbells in your hands and lay down on the bench.
  2. Place the dumbbells together side by side and lift them up over your chest.
  3. Bring them down together by touching each other, then push the dumbbells back up.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
dumbbell squeeze press.

Sets And Reps For DB Squeeze Press

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

  • 3-4 Sets
  • 8-12 Reps

Choose a weight that allows you to execute the exercises with proper form throughout the entire set and repetition range. The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective.

Squeeze Press Benefits

There are several reasons that motivate you to perform a squeeze dumbbell press, and I’ve mentioned some of them below.

  • It requires greater balance than barbells or machines, which can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
  • DB squeeze press allows for greater joint safety and stabilization and allows the joints to move naturally within their range of motion.
  • The dumbbell squeeze press works your muscles in different angles and will provide you with a stronger, more defined chest in no time.
  • It allows for a greater range of movement (ROM), which leads to an increased number of muscle fibers recruited.
  • It provides a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout.
  • Furthermore, it requires more muscular control than barbells, enhancing kinaesthetic awareness.
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Best Variations Of Dumbbell Squeeze Press

The dumbbell squeeze press can be performed in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to performing a DB squeeze press, you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier. One way to counter this problem is to adjust the incline of the bench so that it is completely flat. Another is to use a lighter weight.

If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the chest, then try incline dumbbell squeeze press, and decline dumbbell squeeze press. You can make it more challenging by increasing the weight. But focus on form while doing the same.

1. Incline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

The incline dumbbell squeeze press is an upper body workout that engages the upper chest pec muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

The Incline squeeze Press is a variation of the traditional incline dumbbell chest press. The key difference is that the dumbbells are pressed together throughout the movement.

The angle of the adjustable bench in this variation puts more tension on your upper and inner chest muscles than a flat bench press would.

Incline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

  1. Take the one dumbbell and grab it with both hands. Then, lay down on the incline bench.
  2. Place the dumbbell at center, and lift them up over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbell to touch your chest, and then push the dumbbell back up.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Use a slight incline, such as 30 degrees.
  • During the squeeze press, the dumbbells are kept in contact with each other at all times, and you’re actively squeezing them inward (against each other) as hard as possible.

2. Decline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

If you want to build greater thickness and strength in your lower pecs, then you should add decline dumbbell press to your training regime

When you do the decline DB bench press, it’s important to get the angle of the bench correct. What angles should I use during the decline dumbbell bench press to hit the lower chest the most?

Research indicates that the correct angle for the decline bench press should be 15–30 degrees declined from flat in order to target the lower chest. 

Decline dumbbell squeeze press

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back on a decline bench. Hook your feet into the foot pad or roller.
  2. Place the dumbbells together side by side and lift them up over your chest.
  3. Lower them down together by touching each other, then push the dumbbells back up.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled.
  • Use a slight decline, such as 30 degrees. Extremes are never the best option.

Dumbbell Squeeze Press Proper Form And Mistakes

Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program.

  • Exhale whilst pushing dumbbells upwards and do in a controlled manner.
  • Keep your movements controlled and avoid jerky motions.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
  • Keep the tension on your chest as you press the weight up.
  • Do not extend their elbows to the sides. When your elbows drift away from your body, you are no longer performing the squeeze press.
  • Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  • During the dumbbell squeeze press, you should avoid rounding your shoulders and keep your back flat against the bench.
  • Ultimately, your results will depend on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. It is recommended that you allow at least 36 to 48 hours of rest before training the same muscle groups again, in order to allow for sufficient recovery.
  • Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessive arch.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t allow the lower body to move during the set.

Best Alternate Of Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Before, we take a look at the best dumbbell squeeze press alternatives. We must keep in mind that a good alternative to the dumbbell chest squeeze will be able to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Activate the chest muscle groups, which are trained in the dumbbell squeeze press.
  • Isolate the muscle groups during execution.
  • Train the chest muscle through a longer range of motion.

1. Dumbbell Fly

The dumbbell fly exercise uses a chest fly movement pattern to isolate the muscles of the chest and help them grow stronger.

It is often thought of as a classic bodybuilding movement, as the goal of the exercise is to isolate the chest for aesthetic purposes. The dumbbell fly targets all areas of the pecs, but most significantly the inner chest.

2. Narrow Grip Push-Ups

If you’re looking for a bodyweight alternative to the dumbbell squeeze press exercise that helps you build upper and inner pecs, then the narrow grip push-up is a great staple exercise to get you started.

Narrow Grip Push-Ups is the best exercise to build inner pec. Take a narrower push-ups stance than you normally do, which is similar to a close-grip push-up that helps in building the inner chest.

3. Cable Crossover

If you have access to a cable setup, I recommend you try it as an alternative to dumbbell squeeze press. Cable Crossovers are the best exercises for really focusing tension on the inner and upper chest. It provides constant tension to build massive pecs.

The cable provides constant resistance, helps to develop the inner chest muscles, and provides the much-needed stress on the inner pec.

4. Standing Upward Chest Fly

If you are searching for an alternative to incline dumbbell squeeze chest press, standing dumbbell chest fly is a good exercise to target your upper chest. With just a pair of dumbbells, you can strengthen your chest and make it appear broader and more developed.

This exercise is like a front raise that you would do for your shoulders, but with a simple twist of the wrists that makes it an effective chest exercise. For this one, you will require a dumbbell in each hand.

Frequently Asked Question

What does dumbbell squeeze press work?

The dumbbell squeeze press is an upper body exercise that primarily targets the pectoralis major and shoulder muscles. Depending on the rep range you choose, it is perfect for building strength, hypertrophy, and muscular endurance.

Does squeeze press work inner chest?

Yes, the squeeze press is one of the best exercises to target the inner chest. During the squeeze press, you are performing both squeezing and pressing. By keeping pressure between the dumbbells, you are engaging the central (inner) part of your pecs.

How much should a squeeze press weigh?

Start with lighter weights and aim to complete 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Once you have perfected the form, you could try experimenting with heavier weights to further challenge your muscles.


To start, pick a relatively light weight. Aim to complete 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps at a lighter weight. Once you have mastered the form, you could try experimenting with lower rep ranges and heavier weight to further challenge your muscles.

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