The Decline Bench Press

Brief Overview

The Decline bench press is a compound upper body exercise that targets the lower part of the chest, the front of the shoulders, and the triceps. The decline bench press is a variation of the traditional bench press used to develop the lower chest and stress the muscles in a different way. This exercise is less conventional and less used than many other compound movements, however it is extensively used by experienced bodybuilders and power lifters alike to develop well-rounded chests and improve overall upper body strength. 

Decline Bench Press

Getting Set Up


The positioning for this exercise is nearly identical to that of the bench press or the incline bench press, except the use of the decline bench rather than a flat bench or incline bench. Lie back on the decline bench with your legs firmly against the leg pads to hold you from sliding down during the exercise. When lying back the racked barbell should be directly over your face. 

The Lift

The decline bench press can be difficult to get the hang of as you may get the sensation of blood rushing to your head which can be very uncomfortable. Perform the exercise using only the bar to get the hang of it before you add weight to the bar. When you feel comfortable with the movement, load up the bar with the appropriate amount of weight and prepare to do the exercise. 

Keep in mind that this is an exercise that requires a spotter, do not attempt to perform the movement on your own as it can be very dangerous. 

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Have your spotter help you lift the bar off of the rack and align the bar in a position where it is directly above your lower ribs. When you are ready, slowly lower the bar to your chest, or about 2 ich from your ribs. Once you reach the bottom of the repetition, forcefully contract your chest and extend your elbows, pushing the bar upwards back to the starting position. This cycle is known as one repetition.

Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps, which will depend on your own specific workout routine. 


If you do not have access to a barbell and plates, or you do not have a spotter with you, a common variation of this exercise is the decline dumbbell press, which can be done using simply a decline bench and a set of dumbbells.