The decline bench press will be an efficient train to enhance the event of your decrease pecs.
Nevertheless, there are a number of explanation why you may want an alternative choice to the decline bench press, together with your fitness center doesn’t have a decline bench, you discover the decline bench awkward to arrange, you wish to isolate the decrease pecs even extra, otherwise you don’t have a spotter.
The 9 Finest decline bench press options are:
- Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Decline Dumbbell Collectively Press
- Decline Dumbbell Flies
- Single Dumbbell Serratus Pullover
- Dumbbell Bridge Press
- Excessive to Low Cable Fly
- Straight Bar Serratus Pulldown
- Decline Machine Press
- Vertical Dip With Ahead Torso Lean
- Incline Push-Up With Underhand Grip
On this article, I’ll break up every of those workout routines into the totally different gear you’ll have accessible on the fitness center, from dumbbells, cables/machines, and body weight workout routines. Let’s get began!
This text is an extension to my Prime 9 Flat Bench Press Alternate options. There are some nice chest variations detailed on this article as effectively!
What Makes An Efficient Decline Bench Press Different?
An efficient decline bench press various will goal related muscle teams to the decline bench press.
When wanting on the pec muscle tissue, they are often break up into higher and decrease muscle fibers.
A examine by Stephen & Armstrong (1997) confirmed that when evaluating a 30-degree incline bench press with a 15-degree decline bench press, the decrease pec fibers are “considerably extra activated” within the decline bench press.
Nevertheless, the researchers famous there was no vital distinction between higher pec activation, which signifies that the higher pecs had been recruited equally in each variations. The distinction was merely within the degree of decrease pec activation.
Subsequently, for the reason that decline bench press targets the decrease pec fibers to a better extent, it would be best to discover train substitutes that activate the decrease chest versus higher chest muscle tissue.
The best way to perform that is to govern the angle of your physique, the course and vary of movement of the load, and your hand/grip placement.
The workout routines beneath are the most effective decline bench press options to focus on the decrease chest. You don’t have to do all of those workout routines directly. Choose 2-3 workout routines and carry out them over two coaching days all through the week with reps between 6-15 to construct muscle mass.
If our purpose is extra on the power facet, we are able to all the time select the identical chest workout routines however carry out them with heavier weights and decrease reps.
Different articles you might be inquisitive about are: 10 Bench Press Equipment To Enhance Power & Method and 16 Tricep Workouts To Enhance Bench Press Power.
Dumbbell Decline Bench Press Alternate options
Any various to the decline bench press ought to embrace some kind of dumbbell variation.
It is because the free-weight nature of dumbbells lets you elevate a big quantity of weight, which supplies the optimum coaching atmosphere for constructing each power and mass via progressive overload.
Dumbbells also can permit for a better vary of movement for the chest muscle tissue when in comparison with the usual barbell variations. With a barbell, we are able to solely transfer so far as the barbell will permit.
With a dumbbell in every hand, motion patterns have extra selection. In contrast to a barbell, a pair of dumbbells can contact on the high and go additional down previous the chest on the backside.
For many of those decline bench press various workout routines, you’ll need a decline bench, which most business gyms ought to have accessible.
1. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
The decline dumbbell bench press is the closest variation that you are able to do to the barbell decline bench press.
For my part, the decline dumbbell bench press is much less awkward to arrange in contrast with the barbell model, and I like how one can transfer the dumbbells in a freer vary of movement, permitting you to focus on the decrease chest muscle tissue barely higher.
The one draw back of this motion is that at a sure level if you’re utilizing the heavier dumbbells, you might want a coaching companion to put the dumbbells in your fingers to start out the motion.
How To Do It
- Lie down on a decline bench press and begin with the dumbbells on both facet of your chest
- Drive your arms straight up, making certain you’re urgent over your sternum (not face)
- Return the dumbbells to the beginning place utilizing a 2-sec eccentric tempo
Numerous bodybuilders prefer to twist the dumbbells on the prime quality of movement to isolate the decrease and interior chest muscle tissue much more. This might seem like rotating the dumbbells in order that your pinkies contact collectively on the high.
Associated Article: Bench Press With Legs Up: How-To, Muscle groups Labored, Advantages
2. Decline Dumbbell Collectively Press
Observe: the video is carried out on an incline bench, however you’d carry out it on a decline bench
The decline dumbbell collectively press is a small variation to the decline dumbbell bench press talked about above.
You don’t want as a lot load for this train as a result of fairly than making use of power to the dumbbell to elevate the load upward, you’re (on the similar time) making an attempt to isometrically squeeze the dumbbells collectively as exhausting as doable as you undergo the vary of movement.
The isometric portion is a sort of muscle motion that doesn’t require any motion. These will be carried out at any a part of a rep, however we often see it on the high or backside. This isometric muscle motion can permit us to focus on the chest muscle tissue much more in our decline bench variations.
The additional advantage of doing the decline dumbbell collectively press is that you just additionally work the interior chest considerably, along with the decrease chest muscle tissue.
How To Do It
- Lie down on a decline bench press and begin together with your fingers in a impartial grip (going through one another)
- Place the dumbbells collectively and squeeze your chest
- Drive your arms straight up, whereas on the similar time, persevering with to use strain with the dumbbells
- Return the dumbbells to the beginning place all the time squeezing the dumbbells collectively
As an alternative of utilizing dumbbells, you’ll be able to seize two 10lb or 25lb plates and squeeze them collectively together with your palms as you carry out the identical vary of movement. When you’re not utilizing dumbbells, the load will probably be lighter, so it would be best to take into consideration maximally contracting your pecs by squeezing your fingers collectively.
If you would like extra particulars on this train, I wrote a extra in-depth information masking it known as the Plate Pinch Press.
3. Decline Dumbbell Flies
The decline fly is one other dumbbell variation that targets the decrease chest.
This train stretches the muscle fibers greater than any of the opposite dumbbell variations, which might result in better “muscular injury”. The idea of “muscular injury” is among the fundamental drivers of hypertrophy (muscle development).
This injury happens when stress is positioned upon the meant muscle fibers. On this case, the muscle fibers of the pecs.
The important thing to participating your decrease pec is to “fly” the dumbbells decrease, extra in step with your sternum, and switch your palms, in order that they face the ceiling.
How To Do It
- Lie down on a decline bench and begin with a pair of dumbbells in every hand together with your palms going through collectively
- As you fly your arms open, barely flip your fingers in order that they level towards the ceiling
- Guarantee your arms are flying in a straight line down out of your sternum, and keep away from bringing the dumbbells again towards your shoulders
- As soon as you’re feeling a deep stretch, pull your arms collectively and squeeze your interior chest
Concentrate on mild weight, excessive reps, and creating a powerful mind-muscular connection. Keep away from dropping your arms an excessive amount of (past parallel to the physique) as this may occasionally enhance the probability of shoulder impingement.
Associated article: Ought to Powerlifters Do Incline Bench Press?
4. Single Dumbbell Serratus Pullover
The dumbbell serratus pullover targets each the serratus anterior muscle tissue (the muscle tissue that wrap round your rib cage) and decrease pecs.
It’s not a pure isolation train for the decrease pecs, however it is going to contribute to a extra outlined and full-looking higher physique. As such, it’s best to embrace this train into your routine to have a well-rounded exercise.
I don’t prefer to go too heavy on this train as a result of I discover it fairly exhausting on the shoulders if completed incorrectly. So simply go mild, deal with increased reps, and take into consideration contracting your decrease pecs as you carry out this motion.
How To Do It
- Seize a single dumbbell within the base of your two palms
- Deliver your arms straight in entrance of your chest holding the dumbbell
- With solely a slight bend in your arms, let the dumbbell fall behind your head in order that your arms are parallel to the ground
- Return your arms to over your physique by serious about ‘pulling’ the dumbbell upward
You want to keep away from bending your arms an excessive amount of as you convey your arms down towards the ground. When you begin bending your arms greater than the preliminary crack on the elbows, you’ll begin to have interaction your triceps to a better extent, defeating the aim of activating your decrease pecs.
Associated Article: 12 Finest Cable Crossover Alternate options (With Photos)
5. Dumbbell Bridge Press
An awesome various to the decline bench press that solely requires a pair of dumbbells.
This variation is just like the dumbbell flooring press, however fairly than mendacity flat on the bottom. You’ll elevate your hips like you’re doing a hip thrust (or a bridge pose from yoga). This place will mimic that of a decline bench press.
It is a good chest train because it doesn’t require any gear and will be completed at house or in a fitness center with no decline bench accessible.
An added bonus to this variation is that it will also be a improbable core and decrease physique train since you could preserve the bridge all through the period of your set.
This various shares among the similar restrictions as one other related dumbbell train.
Primarily, it may be a problem to get a dumbbell in every hand to start out the train. Because of this, I might suggest both having a spotter hand you the load or selecting an applicable weight which you could elevate by yourself.
How To Do It
- Begin by choosing an applicable set of dumbbells and positioning your self on the ground.
- Lie again and convey the dumbbells over your chest together with your elbows and higher arms resting on the bottom (you might want a spotter to securely get into this place).
- Drive your hips up, like a hip thrust, and preserve this decline place.
- Press the load up via your required vary of movement and return to the beginning place (be sure that to maintain your hips up).
You’ll be able to modify the train at any time if the load or the bridge place turns into too troublesome. In case you have not reached your required quantity of reps as a result of the place and/or weight has change into too exhausting, all you could do is drop your hips again to the bottom and proceed into a standard dumbbell flooring press.
This may increasingly now not be an alternative choice to the decline bench press, however it’s nonetheless an ideal chest train. Learn extra: Shut Grip Bench Press Alternate options (With Photos)
Machine or Cable Decline Bench Press Alternate options
This subsequent part will cowl decline bench press options that contain both machine or cable variations.
The good thing about doing machine or cable variations is which you could often isolate the muscle fibers of the decrease pec to a better extent than dumbbell variations.
It is because dumbbell variations will undoubtedly use different muscle tissue to facilitate actions, such because the triceps and shoulders. You’ll be able to explicitly deal with the muscle you wish to goal with machines or cables.
6. Excessive to Low Cable Fly
That is one in every of my favourite decline bench options as a result of you’ll be able to handle how a lot or how little you wish to goal the decrease pecs.
In case you have the cables set above your shoulders, you’ll goal the decrease chest to a better extent than you probably have the cables set both at or beneath shoulder top.
This train is finest completed on the finish of a exercise after you’ve already completed some kind of barbell and dumbbell variation for the chest.
How To Do It
- Deliver the cable handles to the very best setting
- Seize the handles in every hand and have a slight bend in your elbow
- Stagger your toes (one in entrance of the opposite) lean barely ahead to take care of your steadiness
- Pull your fingers collectively in order that the cables contact
- Pause for 1-sec and squeeze your chest earlier than slowly returning the cables again to their beginning place
Similar to the dumbbell fly, many bodybuilders prefer to twist their fingers in order that their pinkies contact collectively. As you consider bringing your fingers to the touch, barely rotate your palms up and contact your pinkies. This can recruit your decrease pecs to a better extent.
7. Straight Bar Serratus Pulldown
The straight bar serratus pulldown is an analogous variation to the dumbbell serratus pull-over. Nevertheless, I discover the cable model to be a greater isolation train for the decrease pecs, making it a extra appropriate various to the decline bench.
The important thing with the straight bar serratus pulldown is to purposely restrict the train’s vary of movement. You wish to keep away from having your arms come all the way in which right down to your waist. The nearer your arms come to your waist, the extra you activate your serratus and lats fairly than your decrease pecs.
Moreover, I desire the cable pulldown versus the dumbbell pullover as a result of you’ll be able to take a wider grip on the cables. On this wider grip, you’ll be able to activate your decrease pecs extra.
How To Do It
- Deliver the cable machine to the very best setting
- Connect a straight bar to the cables
- Seize the straight bar in a wider grip (outdoors shoulder-width)
- Hinge barely ahead from the hips and have a slight bend in your elbow
- Deliver the straight bar from about eye top to stomach button top
- Work inside this vary of movement, controlling the load each up and down, and squeezing your decrease pecs
Some individuals desire to do that variation kneeling because it prevents any ‘dishonest’ by swinging your body-weight to maneuver the load. Attempt it each standing and kneeling, and decide whichever variation feels probably the most comfy.
Associated Article: Contact and Go Bench Press: Ought to You Pause On Your Chest?
8. Decline Machine Press
In contrast to among the different substitutes for decline bench press, the decline machine press is very simple to arrange. What I don’t like about utilizing a decline bench for both barbell or dumbbell variations is simply how awkward it’s to get out and in of the beginning place.
With the decline machine press, you’re sitting in a barely reclined chair, and to start out the motion, you merely have to press the handles in entrance of you.
The one draw back to the decline machine press is that not all gyms have this piece of kit. You could have a “seated chest press machine”, which is nice at concentrating on your complete chest. However, a decline machine press is a bit rarer to see.
How To Do It
- Sit within the chair of the machine and use the seat belt if there’s one
- Seize the handles outdoors of your chest and press your palms out in entrance of you
- Concentrate on squeezing your decrease pecs as you straighten your arms
- Return the handles to the beginning place with out ‘bouncing the load’ on the backside
If you wish to exhaust your decrease pec muscle tissue much more, you’ll be able to select to superset the decline machine press with one of many body weight decline bench press options within the subsequent part. Carry out 10 reps of the decline press and as many reps as doable with the body weight train instantly afterward.
An excellent set is an ideal addition to any chest exercise. A superset merely performs two back-to-back workout routines with little to no relaxation.
Low-Load or Body weight Decline Bench Press Alternate options
These low-load or body weight decline bench press options are nice in the event you solely have minimal gear or no gear.
Nevertheless, don’t underestimate how difficult these workout routines will be simply since you’re not utilizing barbells, dumbbells, or machines.
Actually, I like to make use of these low-load and body weight workout routines on the finish of a exercise to ‘burn out’ the decrease pecs, or as a superset with different workout routines to make them harder.
9. Vertical Dip With Ahead Torso Lean
The vertical dip is carried out on parallel bars, which is in distinction to the horizontal dip the place your toes are elevated on a bench.
The vertical dip will goal your decrease pecs to a better extent than the horizontal dip, which is extra for isolating the triceps. This is a wonderful various in the event you’re questioning the right way to do a decline bench press with out a bench.
The vertical dip will probably be extra just like a decline bench press in the event you lean ahead together with your torso fairly than protecting your again vertical.
Relying in your degree of power, you are able to do this train with simply your physique weight, or you’ll be able to add load utilizing a dip belt when you change into extra expert.
There are additionally nice options in the event you can’t carry out a dip but. You need to use a resistance band or the assisted dip machine for a little bit additional assist.
For a head-to-head train comparability, take a look at my article on Dips vs Decline Bench Press.
How To Do It
- Place your fingers on parallel dip bars
- Take your toes off the ground in order that your whole weight is felt in your fingers
- Lean your torso ahead barely
- Bend your arms to decrease your self to the ground
- The endpoint needs to be when your arms attain a 90-degree angle, however not pushing past what feels comfy in your shoulders
- Push your self again to the beginning place and preserve the identical ahead torso lean
Whereas I can do vertical dips with hundreds over 100lbs, I nonetheless love to do the body weight variation from time-to-time, however gradual the tempo to a 3-second down, and 3-second up the rely. When every rep takes 6 seconds to finish, it doesn’t require a lot load to start out feeling a big coaching impact.
When you can’t do dips, then take a look at my article on the Finest Dip Alternate options.
10. Incline Push-Up With Underhand Grip
The incline push-up is carried out together with your fingers on a raised floor, which can activate your decrease pecs greater than a flat or decline push up. This is a wonderful various to the decline bench press at house, as you’ll be able to carry out it on a sofa, chair, or stool.
Nevertheless, to activate your decrease pecs much more, which can make it extra just like a decline bench press, rotate your fingers in order that your fingers are pointed towards your toes. That is additionally known as an ‘underhand grip’.
Whereas you are able to do the incline push-up as a part of the primary exercise, I like to make use of it as a warm-up for different bench press variations.
How To Do It
- Arrange a small riser in entrance of you or use a flat bench press
- Place your palms on the riser together with your fingers pointing towards your toes
- The beginning place ought to have your physique positioned at an angle
- Decrease your self so your chest touches the riser or bench and maintain your elbows tight to your facet
- Press your self again up and squeeze your decrease pecs within the course of
For additional resistance, you’ll be able to wrap a band round your physique. Someplace between a 1-inch and 2-inch band ought to present an ample quantity of resistance for most individuals.
The concept is to not load the train considerably however carry out a excessive variety of reps that will get you nearer to your fatigue restrict. Additionally, don’t be stunned in case your lats get sore after doing this push-up variation.
I clarify extra in my article on Why Do Your Lats Get Sore After Push-Ups.
Different Push-Up Guides: Why Do I Really feel Push Ups In My Shoulders? (4 Causes)
Regularly Requested Questions
Listed below are a number of incessantly requested questions that I get across the matter of decline bench press options:
Do You Actually Want To Do Decline Bench Press?
In case your purpose is to develop your decrease pecs, you don’t have to do a decline bench press. Whereas the decline bench press will be an efficient train, different options can goal your decrease pecs equally or to a better extent. In case your purpose is powerlifting, and also you wish to enhance power in your bench press, the decline bench press has little or no carryover.
How Do You Decline Dumbbell Press With out Bench?
When you don’t have a bench, I’ll substitute the decline dumbbell press with both a high-to-low cable chest fly or a vertical dip with a slight ahead torso lean. You may also carry out the dumbbell bridge variation of the decline dumbbell press.
What Muscle groups Does Decline Bench Work?
The decline bench works your complete pec or chest muscle, specializing in the decrease pecs. A examine by Stephen & Armstrong (1997) confirmed that when evaluating a 30-degree incline bench press with a 15-degree decline bench press, the decrease pec fibers are “considerably extra activated” within the decline bench press.
Is Decline Bench Simpler Than Flat?
You’ll be able to often elevate extra weight within the decline bench press vs the flat bench press. Within the decline bench press, a mean individual ought to elevate between 1.2-1.3 occasions their physique weight. Within the flat bench press, a mean individual ought to elevate between 1.1-1.2 occasions their physique weight. A flat bench press variation is often simpler to get out and in of.
An excellent decline bench press various both mimics an analogous motion sample because the decline bench press or engages related muscle teams, such because the decrease pecs. Lots of the decline bench press options mentioned on this article are workout routines which you could additionally carry out along side a stable chest program, irrespective of your coaching purpose.
Rodriguez-Ridao, D., Antequera-Vique, J., Martin-Fuentes, I., & Muyor, J. (2020). Impact of 5 bench inclinations on the electromyographic exercise of the pectoralis main, anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii through the bench press train. Worldwide Journal of Environmental Analysis and Public Well being, 17(19), 7339.