Incline Dumbbell Press – Guide, Instructions, Tips & Video

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Equipment Needed: Dumbbells and an incline bench

Level: Beginner/ Intermediate

Our Rating: 9.1 (Excellent)

Also Known As:  Incline dumbbell chest press, incline dumbbell press

It mainly targets and builds your chest, especially upper pectoral muscles. The other muscles involved are deltoids (located within the shoulders), and triceps (the back of the arms).

The use of dumbbells in incline press ensures that you work on each side independently and each side bears equal load.

You can include incline dumbbell bench press on your chest or upper body day after exercises such as flat bench press or pushups.  

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Benefits

The incline bench press hits the upper region of your chest – especially, the clavicular head of the pectoralis major – an area of the chest that almost remain unengaged during common chest workouts, such as the pushups, bench press and chest fly. The incline press also targets the front part of the shoulders – anterior head of the deltoids.

It’s very common that one arm is stronger than the other. But as the dumbbell version of incline press makes each arm work independently, so doing incline press using dumbbells is especially helpful in correcting strength imbalances between the two sides of your body. This exercise helps prevent one arm from taking over more load than the other, which means improving stability & strength on both sides of your body.

If incline dumbbell press is done properly & regularly, both the chest and shoulders develop in a balanced manner, and the shoulder joints also get stronger and more stable.

Functionally, the dumbbell incline press improves your abilities to perform all types of pushing & pressing movements, such as putting groceries away on elevated shelves or pushing open a heavy door.

Read here to learn how to do Incline Dumbbell Press perfectly with tips & VIDEO demonstrating correct technique, start position & proper movements.

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Bench Press? – Step-by-Step Instructions

You just need an adjustable bench or incline bench and a pair of dumbbells.  Make sure to set angle of the incline of the bench between 30 to 45 degrees. 

Remember the greater the angle, the more the exercise will recruit your shoulders. Generally speaking, 30-degrees is the perfect angle for targeting the upper area of your chest.

Another important thing that you should keep in mind is to choose lighter weights than what you’d use when performing a flat dumbbell bench press, and also lighter than what you’d use for a barbell incline press.

Start Position

Grab a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Sit down on the edge of an incline bench and rest the dumbbells vertically on your thighs. Lie back on the incline bench and position the dumbbells at shoulder width, with elbows bent and palms facing forward. Keep the chest high at all times. Press the back against the bench, while maintaining the natural arch (not excessive) with feet firmly flat on  the floor. This is your start position.


(i) Tighten your abs to brace your core. Press the dumbbells upward over your chest as you exhale. Maintain your wrists straight (don’t allow them to “cock” backward). At the top of the movement, the dumbbells should be about an inch apart or may lightly touch each other.

(ii) Hold for a second at the top, and then as you inhale slowly lower the dumbbells back to the sides of your chest until they are level with the top of your chest. Ideally, lowering should take twice the amount of time than raising of the dumbbells.

(iii) While lowering the dumbbells, you should bring down the elbows somewhat close to your torso (not flared out) — they shouldn’t spread out to the sides.

(iv) Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

When you are done, carefully place the dumbbells back on your thighs, lean forward, stand up and then put them back on the floor. Don’t drop or throw them while you’re lying on the incline bench.

Watch this video to learn how to do Dumbbell Incline Bench Press Perfectly:


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