What is a Decline Bench Press?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2020
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In most chest exercise routines, the bench press is used for expanding and growing the chest area of the body builder. These bench press exercises are split into three types: The incline, the decline, and the flat bench press. The decline bench press is a normal bench press performed in a decline position, with the head lower then the feet.

There are many weight lifting exercises designed to support the expansion and growth of the chest area. The decline bench press is a bench press performed in a decline position where the weight bench is lowered near the upper body at a 20 to 30 degree angle. This exercise routine is designed to put more emphasis on the lower chest muscles, deltoids, and triceps.

The execution of the decline bench press is relatively simple. The weightlifter should begin by lying face up with his back flat on the decline weight bench, securely placing the feet in the foot brace area for leverage and support. The hands should grab the bench press bar with arms at about shoulder- width apart. The weight is lowered to the upper middle chest and then raised back to a near lock out position.


This exercise places the weightlifter in an extremely precarious position as his head is lower than his feet and the feet are secured by braces. Weightlifters should be sure they don't have too much weight on the bar and should always have a spotter before performing this exercise. It is also important to not excessively linger in this inverted position before the exercise as the blood is facing a downward position towards the head, which may increase the pressure on the head during the exercise.

The chest muscle, typically referred to as the pectoralis muscle, is a large fan shaped muscle that spans the entire upper chest area across the rib cage. This pectoralis muscle is made up of two heads, first is the clavicular upper pectoralis major and the second is the sternocostal lower pectoralis major muscle group. The decline bench press is considered a shaping exercise designed to enhance the lower pectoralis major muscle group.

The flat bench press is an exercise more typically used for generating power and max set evaluations. With the decline bench press the weightlifter focuses on pushing the weight up from an inverted position. This helps define the lower chest area.


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Post 3

You really should be extra careful when working out on the decline bench presses, and, as recommended in this article, be sure to have someone helping you. I read an article about weight room injuries, and I was surprised at the number of injuries caused when lifters improperly used the bench press. You want to make sure that the bench is firmly locked in place when you start to execute an incline or decline bench press.

Post 2

@Feryll - Most fitness instructors will tell you that you have to keep switching up your work-out routines in order to keep your muscles alert. Once you settle into a routine, your muscles will do the same. They will settle into a comfort zone. Once they become comfortable there is no reason for them to split and grow because they are not being challenged to do so.

Also, as the article says, the decline bench press will work your chest from a different angle. This alone should be enough for you to notice a difference in the shape and composition of your chest. Your motto in the weight room should be "keep it fresh." You should always be thinking of ways to tweak your workout.

Post 1

I primarily use a flat bench position when I am doing bench pressing exercises. I have done reps on the incline bench a few times, but never on the decline. However, I have noticed that my muscles seem to be accustomed to the workout with the flat bench press.

I wonder whether switching to the decline bench press as my primary bench workout would help jump start my muscles again, and get them to grow a bit more. At the present, I seem to have reached a ceiling and leveled off.

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