01/07/2022

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by: Esther

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Categories: Exercises

9 Fab Decline Bench Press Alternatives (With Videos)

Anybody out there who is looking to build a barrel chest that even a pro bodybuilder in their prime would be envious of will know that bench presses are, without a doubt, some of the most important exercises for chest development you could ever wish for.

Building a thick and powerful chest is not easy, but if you incorporate bench presses into your routine, as well as some of the many other chest exercises out there, you’ll find that your chest responds very well.

Compound exercises for mass, and isolation exercises for definition, can really help you to take your chest development up a gear, yet hitting the lower pec is easier said than done.

Decline bench presses are fabulous for working the lower chest, yet they are still vastly underrated, and we don’t know why that is.

If you want to work the lower pecs, here’s a look at decline bench presses, as well as several decline bench press alternatives.

Firstly, What Are Decline Bench Presses?

You’ve no doubt heard of barbell bench presses, and you’ve likely performed them yourself, or have seen people doing them at the gym.

A flat bench barbell bench press is considered by many to be the ultimate chest exercise, and it’s safe to say that dumbbell bench presses are not far behind.

As far as bench presses for chest development go, flat and incline bench presses get much of the credit, yet decline presses are left in the dark.

Decline bench presses work the middle and lower pecs primarily, and they are very easy to perform as well.

Instead of performing them on a flat bench, or an incline bench, you simply go ahead and set the angle of a bench to a decline of around 15 – 30 degrees.

At first, it does feel a little strange as you are laying at a decline, rather than flat on a bench, but once you grab the bar or the dumbbells and start busting out some reps, you’ll feel absolutely fine and your chest will soon be pumped like never before.

What Are The Benefits Of A Decline Bench Press?

Decline Bench Press Alternatives

While it’s perfectly acceptable to incorporate flat and incline bench presses into your routine, if you really want maximal chest development, it’s important to perform plenty of decline bench presses too.

Decline presses offer many benefits over conventional chest exercises, including the following:

  • Lower pec development
  • Great mass builder
  • Something different and unique to perform
  • More forgiving on the rotator cuffs
  • Can be done with barbells or dumbbells
  • Great for definition
  • Wonderful chest finisher

Decline Bench Press Alternatives:

As great as decline bench presses are, they can only do so much, and sometimes it pays to have alternative exercises to perform to work the chest.

To help you in your quest for a big and powerful chest, here’s a look at several alternatives for you to try.

1. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press:

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press - Chest Exercise

This exercise is about as close to a decline barbell bench press as you could ever wish to get, with the added bonus of it being performed with dumbbells, so you can get a deeper stretch, and you can also help protect your joints.

The only real downside to this exercise is the fact that, as you are using dumbbells, if you are training heavy and you use heavy dumbbells, you may struggle to get them into place by yourself and so a training partner would be useful.

Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by getting an adjustable bench and set it to a decline.
  • Next, take a dumbbell in either hand and slowly lower yourself down into the bench, making sure to use the footpads to hold your feet firmly in place.
  • Now, with the dumbbells on either side of your chest, press them up into the air above your sternum, making sure to squeeze at the top of the exercise for a second or two.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for as many reps as necessary.

2. Decline Dumbbell Flyes:

How to Do a Decline Dumbbell Fly

People think that decline bench presses are the only exercises you can perform at a decline to work the lower pecs.

This is not true.

Decline dumbbell flyes are another example of great alternatives that target the inner and the lower chest muscles.

To stay in control for the duration of this exercise, you should perform it with lighter weights and aim to perform more reps instead.

Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by setting your bench to a decline.
  • Up next, take a dumbbell in each hand and then slowly lay backward with the dumbbells held in the air above your face with your arms fully extended.
  • Now, bring both arms outwards and to your sides so that your palms are now pointing to the sky.
  • Return the dumbbells back to the starting position, bringing both palms together, and squeeze at the top of the movement. Imagine there is a grape on your chest and that you’re trying to burst it with your chest.
  • Repeat for as many reps as required.

3. Decline Dumbbell Together Presses:

Svend Press- We DON'T Usually Recommend this Exercise EXCEPT for Chest Focus Sessions

Another great alternative that we’re going to be looking at today is the decline dumbbell together press.

This exercise is very similar to a decline bench press, except for the fact that you perform it with both dumbbells held together and touching each other – hence the name.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Set an adjustable bench to a decline and then slowly lay down in it, making sure to secure your feet into place.
  • Get the dumbbells in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other, and rest them on your chest.
  • Squeezing the pec muscles, drive the dumbbells into the air and above your head in a pressing movement, making sure to maintain a neutral grip and keep them touching one another.
  • At the top of the lift when your arms have nearly fully extended, squeeze for a second and then slowly lower the dumbbells back down to your chest to complete 1 rep.
  • Now, repeat for as many reps as needed.

4. Incline Push-ups:

How to do an Incline Pushup | Tiger Fitness

Up now, we have our first non-decline alternative to the decline bench press, and it couldn’t be easier to perform.

Decline push-ups are very easy to do but don’t let this fool you, or the fact that they require no free weights or machines, because they’re one of the best exercises for chest development that you could ever wish for.

Here’s a look at what you need to do:

  • Set an adjustable bench to an incline position and get into a plank position on the bench with your wrists placed under your shoulders.
  • Now, brace your core and slowly bend your elbows into a push-up, bringing your chest down slowly towards the bench until it grazes it.
  • Breathe out, and then push against the bench and straighten your elbows to return to the starting position.
  • If you really want to work the lower chest, go ahead and perform an underhand grip with the palms facing upwards as you grip the underside of the bench.
  • Repeat for as many reps as required.

5. Vertical Dips:

How To: Dip- Learn The Differences Between Targeting Your Chest Or Triceps!

We couldn’t talk about chest exercises, or indeed, about alternatives, without talking about dips.

Horizontal dips target the middle chest, whereas vertical dips work much more of the lower chest.

As we’re looking at alternatives to decline bench presses, any exercise that hits the lower chest will prove to be a big hit.

You’ll obviously need a dipping station or a safe alternative, but once you have those, you’re all set.

Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by getting on to the dipping station and gripping each bar in each hand with an overhand grip.
  • Now, cross your feet together and lift them off of the floor to ensure that all of your weight is now being held in your hands.
  • Keep the head up but lean forwards ever so slightly, and then bend the elbows and slowly lower yourself towards the ground.
  • Once your arms have formed around a 90-degree angle, hold for a second and feel the squeeze in your pecs, and then slowly straighten the arms and return to the starting position.
  • If the exercise feels too easy, go ahead and simply lower yourself deeper for the next rep.
  • Repeat for as many reps as needed.

6. High To Low Cable Flyes:

How To: High Cable Chest Fly

For overall chest development with machines, cable machines are a real blessing.

By setting the cable height above your shoulders, you can target the lower pec muscles much more effectively than if you had the cables set lower.

This exercise is ideal for pre-fatiguing the pec muscles, or for finishing off the pec muscles at the end of a chest or push workout.

Here’s how to perform high to low cable flyes:

  • Start off by setting an adjustable cable machine to the highest setting.
  • With a small bend in each elbow, take a handle in each hand and set the weight to one which you’re in control of, but which still tests you.
  • Now, place one foot in front of the other, bending the rear knee slightly and keeping both feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Now, bring the cable handles together so that your palms are almost touching each other.
  • When both cables are nearly touching each other, hold and squeeze for a second until you can feel the pectoral muscles really being squeezed.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many reps as required.

7. Decline Machine Press:

How To: Chest Press (Cybex)

The closest exercise to a decline bench press, without actually being a decline bench press, is the decline machine press.

A decline machine press is designed to mimic the mechanics of a decline bench press, except for the fact that you’re sitting upright, rather than laying down as you’re sitting in a reclined position.

The only downside to this machine is the fact that getting your arms into position can be awkward, especially if you have limited mobility in your shoulders.

Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by loading the machine with a weight that you are in control of, but will become difficult once you hit 8 reps or so.
  • Next, set the seat to a suitable height for you to ensure your feet remain planted firmly on the floor.
  • Take a handle in each hand with an overhand grip and then, keeping your back pressed firmly against the backrest, press the weight so that your arms are nearly fully extended.
  • Squeeze the pecs once your arms are fully extended and hold for a second.
  • Now, slowly lower the handles back to the starting position and repeat for as many reps as needed.

8. Floor Presses:

DUMBBELL FLOOR PRESS

Floor presses are great for working the chest as well as the triceps and are great for overall pressing power too.

Best done with dumbbells, here’s what to do:

  • Take a set of dumbbells, and lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the floor.
  • Get the dumbbells into a position to press, and then press them so that your arms are nearly fully extended.
  • Once the elbows are nearly fully extended, hold at the top of the exercise and squeeze before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many reps as needed.

9. Push-ups:

The Perfect PUSH-UP Workout (3 LEVELS)

Last, but not least, we have push-ups.

Push-ups are a fantastic compound chest exercise as they work the upper, middle, and even the lower pec muscles, with the added bonus of also hitting the triceps and deltoids too.

Another perk of performing push-ups is simply the fact that they can be done virtually anywhere as they require no equipment at all.

Here’s what to do:

  • Begin by getting down into a plank position with your palms flat on the floor, a little wider than shoulder-width, and your legs extended behind you with your toes pointing towards the ground.
  • Next, inhale and slowly lower yourself down by bending the elbows, getting your chest as low down towards the ground as you can go.
  • Hold and squeeze for a second, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many reps as needed.

Final Thoughts:

As you can see, there are heaps of decline bench press alternatives out there for you to try, with each one proving beneficial in its own right.

If you can implement decline bench presses into your chest routine then more power to you, but if not, or if you need a change, any of the exercises above will work just as effectively.