The incline dumbbell press is underrated for building your chest.
It’s a shame because the weekly holiday known as International Chest Day could use an infusion of incline dumbbell pressing.
Meatheads across the world gather in commercial gyms on a Monday evening to “thrash” their chest into the dustbins of oblivion.
Mindless set after set, flat bench after flat bench, machine after machine, and a so-called pump after pump. What a great feeling. (sarcasm)
But after doing this for many Mondays, a reality colder than Alaska in January sets in.
Many trainees are completely deflated when they look in the mirror, and they are no closer to their end goal than they were months ago.
Why Most Lifters Still Have A Bird Chest
Although “destroying” your chest sounds great on paper, the execution of this plan by the average lifter is typically horrendous.
Bad form is always the main culprit.
Performing half-reps, training with low intensity, and living in Machineville will not allow you to develop a 5-star chest.
Your pecs will be rated 1-star like a low-class motel on Yelp.
These lifters have the enthusiasm, but many of them lack the fundamental skills and knowledge of the movements needed to maximize their workouts.
The basics never went out of style and one of the most effective movements for developing great strength and muscle for the chest is the classic incline dumbbell press.
The incline dumbbell press has always been a go-to movement for me.
When you properly execute the movement, you will see big-time improvements with your chest musculature. No longer will tank tops swallow you up, gentlemen.
Ladies, upper body training is important for you all well.
No one wants to walk around with an upper-body reminiscent of Olive Oil. The incline dumbbell press will enable you to add strength to your upper torso.
There are 4 cues that will allow you properly execute the incline dumbbell press. They are:
Cue 1) Set your bench at the correct height
Many lifters set their bench too high.
When your bench is set high, you shift the emphasis of the movement from your chest to your front deltoids.
The incline dumbbell press is an elite chest builder, and you can keep it that way by setting your bench at a low incline of 15 degrees.
Cue 2) Use your legs to get the dumbbells into the proper starting position
By using your legs to get the dumbbells up to the proper starting position, you will conserve the energy needed for the actual set.
Wasting energy by trying to muscle the dumbbells into the proper starting position will cost you reps during the set.
Utilize your legs to help you get set and then begin to press.
Cue 3) Use a half-tuck elbow position for strong, safe reps
By using a half-tuck you are ensuring that your reps will strong, safe, and still primarily targeting your chest.
The half-tuck gives you a balanced distribution of strength between your chest, shoulders, and triceps. This is needed as the dumbbells will eventually get heavier.
A full elbow tuck is not a bad movement, but the emphasis will now be shifted to the triceps.
A full elbow flare out will put the emphasis on your chest, but if you have shoulder issues, they may arise when you are pressing with your elbows flared out.
Both of those variations can work at times, but using a half-tuck will give you the most bang for your buck.
Cue 4) What constitutes proper form?
Proper form in the incline dumbbell press is when you follow all the above steps before you press and then begin the movement.
You will press up while keeping the dumbbells going straight up to keep tension on your chest. There is never a need for the dumbbells to connect at top of the movement.
As you descend into the bottom, you want to make sure you bring the dumbbells deep into the pocket before pressing back up. Full range reps build a full chest.
Half-reps, quarter-reps, pump presses, and using your whole body (butt off the bench) all do not count. The dumbbells have to reach the bottom before you press them back up.
Performing bad, ego reps will keep your chest looking unspectacular and flat. Fake hustle has never gotten anybody going anywhere worthwhile.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,