Incline Dumbbell Press: Build a Strong Chest with Ease

It is a common the incline dumbbell press that is a common part of training courses but without a full understanding of its value or versatility. Sometimes, it is viewed as an upper pec workout, and the incline dumbbell press isn’t an unremarkable exercise. It could improve stability, pec and deltoid strength, and the development of functional symmetry (to mention several advantages).

If you’ve done a lot of incline the barbells dumbbell press and the dumbbell bench press, using this dumbbell version can help you discover new strengths and a range of abilities. It requires a lot more strength to move a piece of equipment in a single direction instead of a barbell unidirectionally. Therefore, even though you’ll lift less weight, you’ll likely be building more upper strength and strength.

This article will help you understand how to do the incline dumbbell press step-by-step. We’ll also go over the advantages of this exercise and the best way to set up the incline dumbbell press. You’ll be taught about the various alternatives and variations to this exercise and also get the most anticipated questions to be answered.

The Incline Dumbbell Press

Also called the incline dumbbell bench press, the incline dumbbell presses increase the size and strength of your chest, focusing on those with a larger chest. With an incline bench and a pair of dumbbells, this exercise can boost your entire workout routine for the upper body.

The incline dumbbell press is a vital exercise for all fitness levels.

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Working Muscles

The Incline Dumbbell Press Working Muscles

Primary Muscle Group

The incline dumbbell presses primarily concentrate on the main muscle of the pectoralis, which is the biggest muscle in our chest. The pec muscles in our chest are made of two heads: the clavicular head comprised of the chest’s upper part and the sternal head that makes up the lower and mid-chest.

When both heads are working on the exercise, The inclined bench puts more pressure on the clavicular part of the pectoralis major. This is why the incline dumbbell press is one of the most effective exercises for strengthening the upper chest.

Our deltoids also play a significant role in the incline dumbbell press. However, they are best used as an additional mover. The deltoids comprise three heads comprising The anterior (front) and left (side), and the posterior (rear) head.

The greatest tension is directed towards the anterior deltoids when you the incline dumbbell press.

Secondary Muscle Group

The incline dumbbell press stimulates your triceps and your upper back, triceps, and abs. When you push the weight upwards, your triceps expand to lift your arms up.

Furthermore, the abs and your upper back muscles are activated to stabilize your body during the movement of the exercise.

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Benefits

The Incline Dumbbell Press Benefits

#1 Strength And Size Gains

The incline dumbbell press is considered one of the most effective exercises to increase the strength and size of the pectoralis major muscle, your chest’s upper part. Regularly performing this exercise will constantly increase the strength of these muscles and help increase the hypertrophy of the shoulders and chest.

By strengthening your shoulders and chest and shoulders, you will be able to push more objects, perform better at sports, improve your posture, and increase your confidence overall. In addition, with a more powerful upper body, you’ll gain strength in other activities too!

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#2 Special Position On The Upper Chest.

When they are training their chests, most lifters choose exercises that are flat on the bench. Although these exercises are essential, you run the risk of training too much the lower sternal head of the pec while under training the upper clavicular head.

It is crucial to remain conscious when building muscles to keep stability in our bodies. Exercises like the incline dumbbell press aid in focusing the upper chest area and increase the size and strength equally in your pec muscles.

#3 Safety For Shoulders

The incline dumbbell press could be better than the incline barbell exercises because dumbbells require more stability. Utilizing dumbbells to strengthen your chest will help build more muscle fibers in your shoulders and help keep the dumbbell in place throughout the exercise.

This can strengthen your rotator cuffs and improve your connection between mind and muscle.

Additionally, dumbbells offer a greater movement range than barbells. If done properly, the incline dumbbell press will allow you to build your upper body without unnaturally straining your shoulder.

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Instructions


The incline dumbbell press will require two dumbbells and an inclined bench.


  • Lift the dumbbells off the ground, keeping your palms facing each one.
  • Assume a sitting on a bench at a 30-45-degree angle. Then, place these weights upon your legs.
  • Use your legs to push the dumbbells up, then lay back down on the slope. The dumbbells should be placed near your chest. Breathe deeply.


  1. Retract your shoulders to create an arch of your spine. Then breathe in while you push the dumbbells up. Make sure you keep an even bent elbow at the top.
  2. Then, slowly bring the dumbbells down to your chest.
  3. Maintain tightness in your chest, and repeat this motion.


Start by choosing a lightweight. Make sure you complete three to four sets with 10-12 reps with the weight you are using. Once you have mastered the correct form, experiment with lower rep ranges and heavier weights to further push your muscles.

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Mistakes

The Incline Dumbbell Press Mistakes

#1. Flaring Out The Elbows

After lying at the table, many people tend to extend their elbows out to the side. If your elbows are dangling away from your body, you put enormous tension on the tendons that line your shoulders and chest.

To ensure that you do not suffer a major injury at the gym, you should think that you’re keeping your elbows slightly turned into your chest while doing the incline dumbbell push. This helps keep your shoulders in the correct position to maintain your gains in the safest manner possible.

#2 Rounding The Shoulders

When you do the dumbbell incline press, it is important to avoid rounding your shoulders and keep your back straight on the bench. If you can round your shoulders, your deltoids will assume the lifting motion.

To fix this error, take your shoulder blades up and backward so that you can create an arch on your back. This will allow you to maximize the expansion that your pecs can do.

#3 Routing The Motion

I often watch weightlifters drop the dumbbells on their chests within a single second. They then push upwards to complete the incline dumbbell press. Lifting weights isn’t just moving weight from one spot to the next.

You’re looking to lift weight in the most challenging manner for your body.

Instead of racing the movement in the incline dumbbell press, slowly bring it towards your chest, and then press upwards with a steady and controlled speed. This is more secure, but it will get better results as well!

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Variations

#1 Incline Alternating Dumbbell Press

By putting both weights on your chest, push one dumbbell upwards and then the second. Then, lower every dumbbell downward one at a. With the alternating dumbbell press, you can focus on muscles in your body.

#2 Incline Barbell Press

This is a good exercise that focuses on the chest upper. Sitting on a 30- degree incline bench, you should tighten your abdominal muscles and pull the bar up in a controlled manner.

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Slowly lower it to your chest. Repeat!

#3 Upward Chest Press

Install a pulley system with low settings. Take the handles in an overhand grip and lower them up to your chest. Engage your abs by bracing them and pressing upwards in a controlled manner.

Return slowly to the beginning position, and repeat!

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Alternatives

If you liked the incline dumbbell press, look at these other exercises for the upper chest to boost your upper-body training!

#1 Incline Dumbbell Fly

When seated on a 30- angle bench, lift your arms above you using your palms facing each other and bend your elbows. Then take the weight, lower it slowly to either side and stop when the weights align with your shoulders.

Use your shoulders and chest to push the dumbbells back to their starting position with a consistent movement. Keep your chest tight, and then repeat!

#2 Standing Upward Fly

Take a stand and grasp a set of dumbbells while your palms are looking forward. Work your pecs until you can pull the dumbbells in a row until they reach chest-high.

Return slowly to the beginning position, and repeat!

#3 Reverse Grip Push-Up

Although the reverse grip push-up could take a while to master the variation, it puts more stress on the chest area. It’s a great way to tone your upper body while at home!

Who Should Perform The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press?

The incline dumbbell press has a wide range of advantages. While it is a great exercise for athletes with strength and bodybuilders, it can be very effective as an introduction to pressing for lifters who are new to the sport.


A bodybuilder’s primary aim is to make sure that there is every nook and space of muscle that is not developed. The incline dumbbell press appears to be a good choice since it’s a great instrument for targeting those stubborn areas of the upper and mid-portion of pecs or the delts.

Selecting exercises to strengthen your shoulders can be beneficial, and also. You could be compromising your development over the long run if you rely solely upon externally stabilized equipment. Engaging in these more demanding positions will assist you in avoiding shoulder pain and the underdevelopment of muscles that can result from it.

Strength Athletes

Fitness athletes are always looking for ways to add more weight to their weights. If you spend too much time with a barbell may cause the formation of a level. Utilizing dumbbells with an incline can provide new stimulation, which can be transferred to the strength of your exercise bench. This can help improve your pressing mechanics. The lighter weights will permit you to increase your training volume while recuperating between long bench workouts.

New Lifters

This type of lift requires lifters at all levels to emphasize the form over the load. Exercise on an inclined slope, particularly using dumbbells, will require you to limit the amount you lift. In this way, you’ll be able to work out longer and more efficiently.

At first, new lifters can make huge gains with unidirectional stability and coordination. After that, the barbell or flat bench can open up a whole new world of strength and body growth.

The Incline Dumbbell Press: Sets & Reps

The Incline Dumbbell Press Sets & Reps

In the majority of cases, the incline dumbbell press is an exercise that is a hypertrophy exercise. Some subtle suggestions could be used for intermediate, new and advanced students.

Recommendations For Trainees Who Are Newer

To make the most of your little knowledge as a trainee, You’ll need to the incline dumbbell press using low weights. You must maintain the weights in check by using a good technique. Pick a comfortable and neutral angle, beginning with a 45-degree angle. Work out using moderate to greater repetitions -three sets of between 10 and 15 reps per set. At least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each exercise for a chance to push the strength of your stabilizers before increasing the load.

Recommendations To Intermediate Trainees

Intermediate athletes can benefit from the incline dumbbell press as a primary or a second exercise during a press day. As you gain experience, so does the capacity for loading — therefore, here’s the time to try to achieve hypertrophy. Training at least up to three sets of between six and 12 repetitions with weights that could result in (safe) near muscular failure.

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Recommendations For Advanced Trainees

If you’ve got several years of regular training on your resume, You can take it up as gear. You can adjust the incline to focus on the upper or middle pec, as you prefer. Your weights could be heavier as well. A 6-to-12 reps range is effective and is a good idea. Just ensure that you utilize spotters or a manageable weight.

What’s The Best Angle For The Incline Dumbbell Press?

What's The Best Angle For The Incline Dumbbell Press

Studies show that an angle of 30 and 45 degrees are ideal for activating your chest’s upper muscles. Suppose you exercise at 90 degrees that are basically in a straight position. In that case, you’ll see that the attention is focused on your shoulders.

If you perform an exercise for your chest using an open bench with a flat surface and 0 degrees, your chest’s middle is doing all weight lifting. The 45-degree incline will engage your chest muscles in the upper part. However, your deltoids will play an essential role as well.

A 30-degree slope is the best way to effectively engage your chest muscles in the upper part while minimizing the importance of your posterior deltoid muscle and shoulders.

Also, between a 30- and 45-degree angle. A 30-degree angle is the best for exercising your chest muscles in the upper part of your body.

After we’ve got the angle of incline out of our way, we can look at the shape and the common errors to avoid.

The Incline Barbell Press Vs The Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press and the incline bench press are very similar in terms of the exercise of the lower chest muscles. While both exercises are very identical, they have two main differences that you need are important to remember.

As we mentioned earlier, the two main differences are compensation and stabilization. The two main differences. If you’re experiencing an overly sloping chest, dumbbells could help bring symmetry to your chest.

If we are talking about stabilization, dumbbells require more balance than barbells. The whole movement requires concentration and attention on the form, which can help create muscle connections in mind.

Finally, compensation. Your weaker side must be equally strong in the case of the incline dumbbell press. This is vital when you’re struggling with strength. This isn’t only for your chest muscles in the upper part but also for other muscles involved, like your anterior deltoids and the triceps.

Last Words

If you’ve got an unbalanced chest and/or strength issue, adding the incline dumbbell press to your chest workouts can assist.

The exercise is easy to master and definitely assists in stabilizing your muscles since it doesn’t provide the stability of barbells. Additionally, using an ideal angle of 30 degrees will effectively activate your chest muscles in the upper part of your body.

Overall, it’s a versatile exercise that adds the appropriate intensity to your chest workouts to help build a Herculean chest.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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