March 22, 2023

The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Will Unlock Your Muscle-Constructing Potential

The incline dumbbell bench press is prescribed in lots of coaching applications and not using a full appreciation of its versatility or worth. Usually glossed over as simply an higher pec train, the incline dumbbell bench press is much from a one-trick pony; it will possibly enhance stability, pec and deltoid growth, and useful symmetry (to call just a few advantages).

Even should you’ve carried out many incline barbell bench presses, this dumbbell model will aid you faucet right into a newfound power and an array of expertise. It takes much more stability to maneuver implements unilaterally than to maneuver a barbell. So though you’ll be lifting much less weight, you’ll arguably be constructing much more higher physique stability and muscular potential.

A person performs an incline dumbbell bench press.
Credit score: Vladimir Sukhachev / Shutterstock

This text will train you easy methods to carry out the incline dumbbell bench press step-by-step. It’ll additionally talk about the advantages of this carry and easy methods to program the incline dumbbell bench press. You’ll study variations and options to this train and get a few of your most hotly-anticipated questions answered.

The right way to Carry out the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Step by Step

The incline dumbbell bench press is an easy modification of the usual dumbbell bench press. Inclining an adjustable bench is the one notable distinction in setup. With that, right here is the step-by-step.

Step 1 — Set Your Incline

A person sets up to perform an incline dumbbell bench press.
Credit score: Svitlana Hulko / Shutterstock

Step one is to resolve the suitable incline on the bench you’re going to make use of. A superb rule of thumb is to set it at about 45 levels (midway between a flat bench and totally upright). Forty-five levels is a strong incline for most people, although you’ll be able to set it a notch greater or decrease. Alter the bench any decrease or greater than that, nevertheless, and also you threat the motion turning into too flat or participating an excessive amount of of your shoulders. 

Teaching Tip: Typically, the upper the incline, the better the bias in direction of your delts. A flatter incline place retains extra rigidity directed in direction of your pecs.

Step 2 — Sit and Stabilize the Weights

A person sits on an adjustable bench and prepares to lift heavy dumbbells.
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Sit with the bench pad barely inclined. This may assist hold your pelvis pressed towards the backrest. Safely deliver the dumbbells to roughly shoulder top by individually driving them up with help out of your legs. (Even higher: use a spotter.) Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively and down as exhausting as attainable to ascertain higher again tightness. Use your legs to maintain your again driving towards the backrest — that is the beginning place.

Teaching Tip: Identical to throughout the usual bench press, driving your toes into the ground will create extra full-body rigidity for stronger presses and extra stability.

Step 3 Drive the Dumbbells Up

A person locks out their incline dumbbell bench press.
Credit score: EDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Squeeze the dumbbells as exhausting as attainable in every hand. Keep a good again. Your legs ought to wedge your physique towards the bench itself. Press the dumbbells evenly up and away out of your physique.

Teaching Tip: Whilst you do wish to press the bells all the way in which up, keep away from locking your elbows out too aggressively, as it’s possible you’ll threat hurting and overextending the joint. 

Step 4 — Decrease the Dumbbells With Management

A person completes an incline dumbbell bench press rep.
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Management the descent between every repetition. Retain a good grip on every dumbbell together with your shoulders depressed. Hold driving your physique towards the backrest. Repeat for repetitions.

Teaching Tip: Keep away from dropping your arms decrease than the unique beginning place. A deeper-than-necessary vary of movement might irritate your shoulders or produce an pointless arch.

Advantages of the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The incline dumbbell bench press is a strong device for creating a balanced physique. It additionally helps your shoulders turn out to be extra steady. They’ll additionally aid you handle unilateral imbalances that will sneakily develop throughout machine or barbell workout routines.

Extra Particular Muscle Development

Any model of the dumbbell bench press will aid you achieve muscle so long as you’re lifting heavy sufficient weight for the suitable variety of reps. However the incline dumbbell bench press may help you have interaction particular areas of the chest for extra focused progress.

The pectoralis main is a fan-shaped muscle that has attachments that make it attainable to focus on the higher, center, and decrease pecs. By selecting sure ranges of incline, you’ll be able to place better emphasis the place extra progress is required.

One lifter spots another during an incline dumbbell bench press.
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Particularly, the incline press could make it simpler to coach both the center and higher pecs — and even the anterior deltoids — relying on the dergree incline you select. These choices make the incline dumbbell bench press extraordinarily versatile for physique growth.

Improved Stability

You possibly can develop shoulder stability by coaching with the arm in various levels of incline and even totally overhead. Gravity will repeatedly draw every thing straight down. Because the incline strikes from a flat bench press to an incline, your arms turn out to be extra perpendicular to the road of gravity. This shift in angle will increase the problem to your rotator cuffs. Approaching this kind of train after totally warming up — and performing it with glorious type — can enhance your shoulder stability in an enormous means.

Unilateral Stability

With all train, you typically develop power or stability variations between dominant and non-dominant sides. These variations are simply masked by the stabilizing results of a machine or barbell. Your imbalances bounce out at you when you begin lifting unilaterally with dumbbells or kettlebells. Utilizing dumbbells drive your limbs to behave individually. This may assist handle any distinction in limb power or coordination and concurrently construct them again up evenly.

Who Ought to Do the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The incline dumbbell bench press presents a various vary of advantages. Though it has particular advantages for power athletes and bodybuilders, the train may also be extraordinarily efficient as an introductory urgent variation for newer lifters as properly.


A bodybuilder’s primary objective is to go away no nook or cranny of muscle undeveloped. The incline dumbbell bench press looks as if an apparent selection right here because it’s a strong device in focusing on cussed areas of the mid-to-upper pecs or delts.

Selecting shoulder stability workout routines is useful, as properly. You possibly can threat undercutting your long-term growth by relying solely on externally stabilized machines. Spending time with these more difficult positions may help you keep away from shoulder dysfunction and the muscular underdevelopment that may include it.

Energy Athletes

Energy athletes are continuously attempting to determine a approach to put extra kilos on their lifts. Spending an excessive amount of time strictly utilizing a barbell can rapidly result in a plateau. Utilizing dumbbells on an incline supplies a brand new stimulus that may carry over to strengthening your barbell bench press. This carry may help you clear up urgent mechanics. The lightened masses may also permit you to add coaching quantity whereas recovering between heavy bench periods. 

New Lifters

This carry forces lifters of all ranges to prioritize type over load. Coaching on an incline, particularly with dumbbells, requires you to cut back the load you’ll be able to carry. This manner, you’ll be able to prepare longer and extra successfully.

From the start, new lifters could make super progress with unilateral stability and coordination. From there, utilizing a flat bench or barbell will open up a model new world of power or physique growth.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Units and Reps

In most contexts, the incline dumbbell bench press is a hypertrophy train. That stated, there are some delicate suggestions that may be made for newer, intermediate, and superior trainees.

Suggestions for Newer Trainees

To make the most of your restricted expertise as a brand new trainee, you’ll wish to use the incline dumbbell bench press with average weights. Be sure to can hold the weights underneath management with glorious type. Select an incline angle that’s good and impartial, beginning at roughly 45 levels. Prepare with average to greater repetitions — three units of between 10 and 15 reps per set — to actually problem the endurance of your stabilizers earlier than growing your load.

Suggestions for Intermediate Trainees

Intermediate trainees can use the incline dumbbell bench press as a primary or secondary train on a urgent day. With elevated expertise comes elevated loading potential — so right here’s when you’ll be able to goal for hypertrophy. Prepare for three to 4 units of six to 12 repetitions utilizing weight that may trigger (secure) close to muscular failure.

Suggestions for Superior Trainees

When you have just a few years of steady coaching underneath your belt, you’ll be able to kick it up a notch. Alter the incline to focus on the mid or higher pec as desired. Your weights might be heavier, too. The six to 12 rep vary nonetheless works — simply you’ll want to both use a spotter or a load that you would be able to hold underneath management.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Variations

The incline dumbbell bench press is a strong train selection for nearly everyone. There are additionally intently associated variations you’ll be able to plug into many applications. These variations can add some further coaching choices while you wish to add selection to your program or to develop extra power.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The incline barbell bench press supplies a ton of coordination and stability challenges. This variation doesn’t have a unilateral part, however working with a barbell means that you can transfer extra weight. Which means you can also make even greater power good points.

Incline Cable Chest Press

The incline cable chest press would require a twin cable stack to arrange. Line an adjustable bench up with a twin cable stack machine to get began. You possibly can make the most of the varied beginning heights to problem totally different muscle teams as desired.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Options

Generally an adjustable bench simply isn’t within the playing cards. However with a barbell and a little bit of creativity, there are some methods to pursue related coaching advantages because the incline dumbbell bench press.

Single-arm Landmine Press

A single-arm landmine press challenges shoulder stability and may help goal your pecs and anterior delts. The landmine supplies a barely mounted vary of movement. Nonetheless, it’s unstable sufficient to adequately problem your rotator cuffs. This train might be carried out standing or in a half-kneeling place to switch the problem.

Bilateral Landmine Press

The bilateral landmine press has related advantages because the single-arm variation. However this model has the added stability offered by utilizing each arms. In consequence, you’ll be able to carry extra weight. This place could make it tough to totally lock out a pectoral or deltoid contraction. Nonetheless, the elevated load ought to present greater than sufficient stimulation.


Even should you’re desperate to get began with the incline dumbbell bench press, you could have some lingering questions. Learn on to deal with the stuff you’re most burning to know.

Is the incline dumbbell bench press secure to carry out?

So long as you’re doing it proper and are cleared for this sort of motion, then sure. Like all train, the incline dumbbell bench press does have some inherent threat. However in itself, it isn’t essentially riskier than different dumbbell strikes. Dumbbells are sometimes fairly secure to coach very near muscular failure on condition that they are often simply noticed or dropped.

How typically ought to I prepare the incline dumbbell bench press?

That is completely as much as your private coaching priorities. The incline dumbbell bench press can hit the pecs, delts, and even triceps fairly exhausting. Given this, it may be positioned on any higher physique or urgent day. Particularly should you go along with a difficult however considerably lighter load, it may be helpful so as to add quantity to your urgent program.

How ought to I progress the incline dumbbell bench press?

You possibly can progress the incline dumbbell bench press by growing reps, units, or weights. You too can lower your relaxation intervals or carry out drop units. Whichever technique of progressive overload you select, be sure to’re solely step by step altering one variable at a time.


The incline dumbbell bench press can serve many lifters properly. You possibly can customise this train to noticeably enhance your muscle progress, stability, power, and unilateral coordination. Whether or not it’s the primary carry of the day or an adjunct train, the incline dumbbell bench press is certainly price including to your repertoire.

Try these different motion guides from BarBend:

Featured Picture: Vladimir Sukhachev/Shutterstock