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Decline Chest Press: Correct Form, Technique, Variations, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Decline chest press is an alternative to a basic bench press. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via pexels)
Decline chest press is an alternative to a basic bench press. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via pexels)
Ruby khanna

Decline chest press is a very effective alternative to a flat bench exercise that changes the tension as well as the angle placed on your chest. This exercise increases the stimulus in your working muscles, thereby enhancing your muscle growth in terms of strength and size.

Even though basic chest press is a beneficial workout, other variations, such as the decline chest press, is also very useful when it comes to targeting chest muscles from a different angle for better results.

When performing the decline chest press, the bench needs to be set at 15 to 30 degrees on a decline, as this angle places your torso on a downward slope, further activating your lower pecs as you push weights. You can incorporate this exercise into your upper body training schedule to build a toned and stronger chest.


How to perform decline chest press? Correct form and technique

Instructions:

For this exercise, you can use a decline bench/power rack or a decline bench station.

  • Keep the barbell at an appropriate level on the rack. Load the bar with weights that are comfortable for your fitness level.
  • Place your feet at the end of the bench, and slowly lie down on your back.
  • Grab the barbell using a tight grip with your thumbs properly wrapped around the barbell. Your hands should be a bit wider than shoulder-width distance.
  • Slowly unrack the barbell, and lower it to your chest.
  • Raise the barbell with a push till it is fully extended.
  • Once done with the desired reps, put the barbell back on the rack, and relax.
  • Breathe easily throughout the exercise.
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Benefits of decline chest press

The decline chest press particularly targets your lower pectoralis muscles. Compared to other variations of the bench press that are done on inclined angles, a decline chest press is less stressful and more effective.

That is because the change of angle during this exercise also changes the tension placed on your elbows, shoulders and wrists. It's an ideal alternative for people who find the basic or incline bench press too challenging and uncomfortable.

A decline chest press helps develop the muscles required for day-to-day movements. As the exercise largely targets your lower pecs, it also helps to treat imbalances from chest exercises that provide less pectoral activation.


Other variations and modifications

The decline chest press can also be performed in different ways to make the exercise more effective and interesting.


1) Flat bench chest press

A basic chest press is good if you are just starting with your weight training routine. The process of doing a flat bench chest press is the samel only the angle of the bench changes from a decline to a flat position.

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2) Dumbbell chest press

When doing a decline chest press instead of a barbell, you can also use dumbbells.

Using dumbbells will help you get a deeper range of motion and enhance the unilateral development of your lower chest muscles. Moreover, it will also increase stability, which leads to muscles performing harder.

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If you want to target your biceps, use a medium or wide grip. Doing this exercise with a narrow grip reduces the activation of your biceps.


Common mistakes

When performing a decline chest press, avoid these mistakes to make the exercise safe and effective.

  • When racking and unracking the barbell, make sure to lift the bar safely and slowly to avoid any risk of injury.
  • Do not bounce the barbell in an attempt to push the bar up with force. Doing so will increase the risk of pain and injury to your sternum and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • The press should always be performed slowly and in a controlled manner throughout the exercise. That will ensure correct form and target the desired chest muscles.
  • Always use a medium-weighted barbell for a decline chest press. Using too heavy weights can compromise your form and increase the risks of injuries. Adjust the weight according to your fitness level to safely do the exercise.
  • When doing a decline chest press, don't hold your breath when lifting the barbell. Remember to inhale as you lower the bar and exhale as you lift it upwards.

Summary

Always start slow with eight to ten reps in three sets, and work your way up as you gain confidence and strength. Once you become stronger, you may add more weight and enhance the resistance on the barbell.

If you have any type of injury to your shoulder, chest, back or neck, first consult your doctor before performing any weight lifting exercise to ensure that the workout is safe. If you feel pain or discomfort while performing the exercise, stop for a few minutes or discontinue immediately.


Edited by Bhargav

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