Decline Dumbbell Press

Introduction to Decline Dumbbell Press

The Decline dumbbell press targets mainly the lower pectorals and is a great way to add definition to this area.

Decline dumbbell press will help to correct any imbalance of the pectoral muscles as each side is forced to work independently of the other. Dumbbells also allow for a greater range of movement than you would get with a barbell.

Because the role of the pectoral muscles is to move the arms forward and down, you should find that you are stronger when doing decline dumbbell Press than you would be when doing a normal dumbbell press.

The decline dumbbell press incorporates the triceps and deltoids more than other types of dumbbell press. The triceps and deltoids are the stabiliser muscles for the bench press, so decline dumbbell press is a great way to overcome any bench press plateaus.

Decline Dumbbell Press Instructions

  • Lie back onto a decline bench, and have someone pass the dumbbells up to you.
  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing towards your feet and your Triceps parallel to the floor. This is the starting position.
  • In a controlled movement, push the dumbbells upwards, keeping the forearms vertical. The dumbbells should travel through a slight arc and come together at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the dumbbells, back through the slight arc, to the start position.

Decline Dumbbell Press Muscles Worked

Decline Dumbbell Press - Muscles Worked

Decline Dumbbell Press - Muscles Worked


Pectoralis Major, Pectoralis Minor, Triceps Brachii.












  • You will definitely need a training partner to use decline dumbbell press. If only to pass the dumbbells to you once you’re in position. Attempting to do this alone can result in injury.
  • As little as a 10 degree decline is all that is required for decline dumbbell press. Using too much of a decline will transfer the majority of the work away from the chest and onto the shoulders.
  • Remember to use proper breathing techniques. Exhale as the dumbbells are raised. Inhale as they are lowered.
  • Squeeze the dumbbells together at the top of the movement, to fully contract the pectorals.

Common Decline Dumbbell Press Errors

  • Using too much weight. A common mistake made by many decline dumbbell press newcomers is using too much weight. This will undoubtedly result in poor form and thus injury. Concentrate on good form before increasing the amount of weight.
  • Rushing through sets. Performing the decline dumbbell press too quickly uses momentum to move the weight, rather than recruiting your muscle fibres to do the work. Keep your weights moving in a constant controlled manner.
  • Lack of weight control. Losing control of the dumbbells during a decline dumbbell press set can result in serious injury. It is possible to damage the rotator cuff and even detach ligaments.
  • Incorrect range of movement. Lowering the dumbbells too far when you are not warmed up sufficiently can result in serious joint, tendon and muscle injury. Also, decline dumbbell press results can be compromised by not using a full range of motion. Ensure you are properly warmed up prior to working on the decline dumbbell press and only take the dumbbells through a range of motion that feels comfortable.

Possible Injuries from Decline Dumbbell Press

Using incorrect technique/form when doing the decline dumbbell press can often lead to multiple types of injuries including:

  • Back injuries resulting from extreme arching of the lower back. This can be avoided by contracting the abdominals to force the lower back down into the bench.
  • Torn ligaments and tendons in the shoulders.

Decline Dumbbell Press Safety

  • Anyone experiencing shoulder or elbow pain should exercise extreme caution when carrying out decline dumbbell press.
  • Carefully review the angle of decline that you use. Those experiencing shoulder pain should not exceed a decline of 30 degrees, although avoiding this exercise is probably wise.

Photo Credits: Everkinetic


  1. nowe mieszkania w lublinie

    Well understood. Thanks.

  2. roc bronco

    great for evening out the lower pecs and defining the lower pec line.

  3. Andy

    @roc bronco, I couldn’t agree more!

    Decline dumbbell press is very effective way to increase strength in the pectorals. Its a shame, but decline dumbbell press is often left out of many workouts. If you’re not already, try incorporating it into your chest workout. You’ll soon notice the difference!

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