How To Do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press With Perfect Technique

If you want to build greater thickness and strength in your lower pecs, then you should add decline dumbbell bench press to your training regime. Having a well-developed lower chest contributes to the fullness of the upper body and has functional benefits.

The decline dumbbell bench 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 decline dumbbell press correctly. You will also learn its benefits, how to avoid common mistakes, and what are the best variation of decline dumbbell press and how to do them. You will also learn some of the best alternatives of it.

Know About Chest Muscles

The chest muscle is commonly known as the pectoralis (pecs) muscle, which is divided into upper and lower sections. The lower region of the chest is the hardest area of the chest to build.

The pectoralis major has two functional subdivisions –the upper and lower regions.

  • The upper region is referred to as the sternoclavicular head because of its attachment to the clavicle.
  • The lower regions are sometimes referred to as the sternocostal head because of their attachment to the ribs.
upper, middle, and lower Chest head

What Is The Decline Dumbbell Press?

The decline dumbbell bench press aka dumbbell decline press is an upper body workout that engages the lower pec muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders. As the name suggests, you have to use a bench at a declined angle to perform the bench presses.

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

Decline Dumbbell Chest Press Angle

The decline bench press is one of the best lower chest exercises, but there’s one major problem: the front deltoid likes to dominate the movement, which prevents us from getting the maximum benefit out of it.

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. Even though 15-30 degrees may seem like a small angle, it is the proper decline for placing the strain on your lower pecs and minimizing the effect on the anterior deltoid muscles.

Dumbbell Decline Press Benefits

There are several reasons that motivate you to do decline dumbbell bench press, and I’ve mentioned some of them below.

  • Dumbbell decline press exercises require more balance than barbells or machines that can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
  • Decline DB Press with dumbbell allow unilateral training (training one limb at a time), increase core stability, and improve muscular imbalances.
  • Dumbbell decline chest press allows for greater joint safety and stabilization and allows the joints to move naturally within their range of motion.
  • Dumbbell decline press variations allow for a greater range of movement (ROM), which leads to an increased number of muscle fibers recruited.
  • It affords a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout.
  • It requires more muscular control than barbells, enhancing kinesthetic awareness.
  • Decline bench press helps in targeting your lower chest muscles; thereby giving you a toned and muscular upper body. 

Decline Dumbbell Press Muscles Worked

The decline dumbbell bench press primarily works the lower pectoralis major muscles. As this exercise is primarily used for the lower pectorals, it does place a great deal of stress in the middle and upper chest also.

Decline Dumbbell Press Muscles Worked

The decline DB press has the involvement of several synergist muscles, these muscles include,

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

Decline Dumbbell Press Exercise Guide

To train the lower chest (sternal head) requires you to change the angle of your press to emphasize the lower part of the chest. You do this by either performing exercises on a decline bench.

If you want to target your lower chest, using a dumbbell may be better than using a barbell because it allows for a greater range of motion.

Decline Dumbbell Press Exercise is an excellent exercise to build lower chest muscles. This dumbbell press is done on a decline bench with a pair of heavy dumbbells.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

How To Do

  1. First, adjust the decline bench press angle to 15-30 degrees. And then lie on your back with your face upward.
  2. With your form right, grab the dumbbell. The grip should be slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. 
  3. Hold the weights above you at shoulder height.
  4. Now extend the weights to the top overhead, feeling a good chest muscle contraction.
  5. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position and feel a good stretch in your lower pecs.
  6. Repeat the desired number of reps.

Training Volume (Sets And Reps) For decline DB 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.

Decline Dumbbell Chest Press Proper Form And Mistakes

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

  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
  • For the decline dumbbell press, it is best to set the bench at about 15-30 degrees declined
  • Keep the tension on your lower chest as you press the weight up.
  • When you push the dumbbell up, make sure it should follow a straight line. This will increase your efficiency, and you could lift more weight.
  • Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  • Make sure that the weights don’t collide with each other at the top of each rep. If they do, you may lose stability within the shoulder and injure yourself.
  • 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.
  • It is also important that you focus on your breathing pattern. Proper inhaling and exhaling improves blood circulation and muscle recovery. So, make sure you breathe out when you push the weights up and breathe in when you bring them down to your chest.

Best Variations and Modification Of Decline Dumbbell Chest Press

The decline dumbbell bench press can be done in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to performing a decline dumbbell press, you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier. One way to counter this problem is to adjust the angle 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 dumbbell decline hammer press. You can make it more difficult by using heavier weight. But focus on form while doing the same.

Decline Hammer-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

The decline hammer-grip dumbbell bench press is a compound exercise which primarily targets the lower Pectoralis Major (Chest). But the triceps and shoulders are secondary movers during the exercise, and they receive heavy stimulation as well.

Using a neutral grip is a safe alternative to the pronated grip decline dumbbell press as it protects the shoulder joints, and this is a great advantage. So, include the decline hammer-grip dumbbell bench press in your chest routine for great results.

Decline neutral grip dumbbell press

Muscles Worked

Primary: Lower pectoralis.

Secondary: Triceps, anterior deltoid, and Lats.

How To Do Decline Hammer-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand in each hand with a neutral grip and lie on a decline bench.
  2. Hold the weights above you at shoulder height.
  3. Now extend the weights to the top overhead, feeling a good chest muscle contraction.
  4. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position and feel a good stretch in your pecs.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Dumbbell One Arm Decline Chest Press

The one-arm decline dumbbell bench press is an upper-body exercise that primarily targets the pectoral muscles, particularly the lower chest.

This press unilateral decline press variation is usually performed with lighter weight for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more, since balance can be an issue.

Dumbbell One Arm Decline Chest Press

How To Do Dumbbell One Arm Decline Chest Press

  1. Adjust the bench at around 15-30 degrees of decline and grab a pair of light or moderately-heavy dumbbell in one arm.
  2. Carefully get on the bench and secure your legs.
  3. Lower yourself slowly and make sure that your legs are secured and that your shoulders and head are in contact with the bench. Maintain your upper back position as you lie down.
  4. Bring a dumbbell to your side, but avoid flaring your elbows out.
  5. Take another breath and push the dumbbell up as you engage your chest and triceps.
  6. Exhale and slowly bring the dumbbell back to your side.
  7. Repeat the desired number of reps.

Best Alternate Of Decline Dumbbell Chest Press

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

1. Activate the chest muscle groups, which are trained in the decline dumbbell press.

2. Isolate the muscle groups during execution.

3. Train the chest muscle through a longer range of motion

1. Decline Press

The decline press is a classic exercise and is the best alternate to the decline dumbbell bench press when focusing on the lower chest.

Although the flat version works the lower chest, the decline variation really focuses on the lower chest because the angle changes the pressing path.

Decline Press is an excellent exercise for building lower chest muscles.

Decline Press

2. Chest Dip

If you’re looking for a bodyweight alternative to the decline dumbbell press exercise that helps you build lower pecs, then the chest dip is a great staple exercise to get you started.

Chest dip is one of the most effective compound movements for the upper body, especially pushing muscles in the lower chest and triceps.

Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

3. High Cable Fly

If you have access to a cable setup, I recommend you try it as an alternative to decline dumbbell chest press. The standing low to high cable fly is a used to strengthen the pushing muscles of the body including the chest, biceps, and shoulders. 

The High To Low Cable Fly is a variation of the chest fly is a great exercise to target the lower portion of your chest.

High to low cable fly is a machine exercise that primarily targets the lower chest and to a lesser degree also targets the shoulders and triceps.

High Cable Fly (High to Low Cable Fly)

4. Decline Dumbbell Fly

The decline dumbbell chest fly is a variation of the dumbbell fly used to target the muscles of the chest. In particular, the decline dumbbell chest fly targets the lower chest due to the decline angle used.

Decline Dumbbell Fly


Dumbbell decline chest press exercises are highly recommended for anyone interested in building upper body strength and gaining muscle size.

It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details and fancy equipment. If you consistently do dumbbell decline chest press exercises with other variation of chest press, you will see results.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the best decline bench press angle? 

There is no one definitive angle you should use. The recommended angle range for the decline bench press is 15-30 degrees. It would be advisable to speak with your gym instructor to find out which one would be the best for you.

Why decline Dumbbell chest press is necessary?

The decline press with a pair of dumbbells is even more beneficial. You work through a slightly longer range of motion, which forces both sides of your body to work independently. The overload potential is impressive, and you are able to evenly emphasize both pectorals without the risk of developing side-to-side imbalances.

Is incline or decline better for chest?

For optimal chest development, all three varieties of the bench press should be used: flat, incline, and decline.

Know More About Chest Training

10 Best Lower Chest Exercises To Build Your Pecs | Workout For Lower Chest

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