Incline Dumbbell Press 101

How To Incline Dumbbell Press And Why It Should Be In Your Routine

There’s just something impressive about having an upper chest that has clearly been subjected to many intense workouts and it’s a clear sign of someone who incorporates the incline dumbbell press movement.

Of course, sculpting that muscular chest is easier said than done. What many people fail to realize is that not all chest workouts affect that entire region of the body.

Some may only target the lower portion while others may focus more on the middle region of the chest.

If you’re looking for an exercise that can effectively work on enhancing the size of your upper chest, then you should look into performing more incline dumbbell chest presses.

What Is An Incline Dumbbell Press?

The incline dumbbell press is a variation of the more conventional flat bench press that you will often see many people performing at the gym.

As their names already hint at, the main difference between the flat bench press and the incline dumbbell press is that the latter has you work on an angle.

That point of difference is crucial because it allows the incline dumbbell presses to more directly affect the muscles at the upper portion of your chest. Specifically, this form of exercise targets the clavicular head of the pectoralis major.

Other muscles that receive attention from incline dumbbell presses include the anterior deltoids and the triceps.

What Are the Benefits of Incline Dumbbell Bench Press?

All forms of exercise are beneficial to some degree, but there are specific things you can gain depending on which type of exercise you are performing. That obviously holds true for incline dumbbell presses as well.

Let’s talk more about how this exercise can specifically benefit you.

Incline Dumbbell Chest Presses Allow You to Engage Muscles That Don’t Receive Enough Attention

As noted previously, the incline dumbbell presses work on the triceps, the anterior deltoids, and the clavicular head of the pectoralis major. What’s really worth highlighting here is the fact that the incline dumbbell presses do work on those specific chest muscles.

The muscles in the clavicular head of the pectoralis major are not typically involved when you perform certain chest exercises. Bench presses, chest flys, and incline push-ups simply aren’t able to reach that far up in to the chest and activate those muscles.

By integrating a round of incline dumbbell presses into your routine, you can finally give those often neglected muscles the workout they need.

Incline Dumbbell Presses Target Upper Chest Muscles

upper chest exercise dumbbells
incline bench press dbs

So, what happens when you are finally able to activate the muscles in your chest that have remained dormant for so long? Well, that means you can promote better muscle balance throughout your body.

You can increase the size of your chest by performing a variety of exercises, but the incline dumbbell presses are uniquely suited for emphasizing the upper portion and that’s hugely important.

Aside from looking better as a result of the improved muscle balance, you can also tap into more of your power thanks to your more comprehensive workouts.

Also, if you’ve noticed previously that one side of your chest has become more defined than the other, the incline dumbbell presses can prove even more useful to you. You can isolate the side that needs more work and perform more of the presses with it.

Keep that up and you should achieve better muscle symmetry eventually.

Incline DB Presses Are Highly Accessible

Exercises that don’t require you to use a specific machine inside the gym are always great to have in your routine. With incline dumbbell presses, you don’t need to use any kind of special equipment.

Simply find an open bench, take a dumbbell in each hand, and get to work.

How Do You Perform Incline Chest Presses?

As you can see, incline dumbbell presses have a lot to offer in terms of benefits. If you’re interested in forming your chest better or simply creating better muscle balance across your body, you should start to perform incline dumbbell presses more regularly.

Get into the Proper Position

Begin by sitting down on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Position the dumbbells on top of your legs.

Raise up one leg to move the dumbbell back and do the same thing with your other leg. Lean back on to the bench after the second leg raise.

Place the dumbbells at each side of your chest. Hold them diagonally just a bit with your hands facing up. Your feet should be on the ground.

Prepare for Liftoff

Before lifting, you need to place different parts of your body in the right position to achieve maximum engagement.

Start with your shoulders. Pack them back and down so that you can more effectively drive through them. You should also tense up your abs and arch your back slightly.

Doing all those things should make it easier for you to get the most out of this workout.

Lift and Lower the Dumbbells Carefully

With the dumbbells at the opposite sides of your chest, start lifting by pushing up. There should be no bend in your elbows at this point.

Now, while the dumbbells are at their highest point, pack your shoulders back and down again and then start to lower the weights. Lower the dumbbells to the outside of your chest next. You can go lower than your initial position when you started lifting, but don’t overextend yourself.

Perform as many incline dumbbell presses as you need to while maintaining that technique.

Additional Reminders for Performing Incline Dumbbell Presses

You should always look to make any form of exercise you try safer and more effective.

When it comes to making incline dumbbell presses safer, you should pay attention to your speed. Moving the dumbbells too quickly can result in unnecessary injury. They will still be beneficial to you even if you take your time so don’t rush.

After finishing the incline dumbbell presses, avoid just letting go of the dumbbells while you’re still on the bench. That too can cause injury.

Instead, raise both of your legs and position the dumbbells on top of them. Swing up from there until you can get into a seated position. You can place the dumbbells on the ground after that.

The angle on the bench should be somewhere between 30 to 45 degrees. Aim for a lower angle in that range if you want the exercise to focus more on your chest.

Lastly, you need to prevent your elbows from flaring out while also not tucking them too far inside. Elbows that are flared out will place more stress on your shoulders. If they are inside too much, the workout will emphasize your triceps more instead of your upper chest.


Sometimes, the hardest part of achieving your dream physique is just identifying the specific exercises you need to perform. It’s easy to overlook some parts of your body until you’ve noticed that they’re lagging behind and by then, it may already be too late.

For those who want to properly develop their physiques and build a more balanced body, performing incline dumbbell presses is a must.

Let me know if this article was helpful to you, and please share if you enjoyed it.

Talk soon,
CC Matthews
Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover

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