Deline Bench Press Benefits & Limitations
As we’ve covered so far, the main benefit of the decline bench is that it allows you to focus your workouts on growing your lower chest. So it’s great for bodybuilders or anyone trying to create an aesthetic physique.
Also, the downward angle feels foreign at first because it uses different stabilizer muscles. But this helps you develop more balance and coordination with practice.
However, this exercise is not better than a flat bench press or incline bench press in any other way except targeting the lower chest. So it should not be used as a replacement or alternative to regular bench press movements.
In fact, the decline bench press has some shortcomings. For one, your feet are off the floor which decreases your ability to generate power. Although this does force you to use a more strict form and isolates the chest.
In addition, the angle of your body actually decreases the range of motion. Therefore, the decline press is not the best bench variation for overall chest development. And it should only be used in conjunction with flat and incline press.
- Builds lower chest more than flat or incline bench press
- Keeps your butt on the bench
- Works different stabilizers
- Less stable without feet planted on the floor
- Decreases range of motion
How To Do Decline Bench Press
Before you begin the exercise, it’s important to set up your bench and weights properly.
With specialized decline bench presses, this simply involves adjusting the height of the bar and the footpads. You want to be able to reach the bar to unrack and rerack it with ease.
If you have a stand-alone bench, it’s important to position it inside a power rack so that it is perpendicular to the bar. Test it out with no weight on the bar to make sure it’s in a comfortable position.
Once you’re all set up, secure your feet in the footpads and lay back on the decline bench. Next, squeeze your shoulder blades together to create a solid base and grab the bar about 1.5 times shoulder width.
From this starting position, lift the bar off the rack and keep it at arm’s length until your muscles get used to the angle. Now lower the bar to your sternum just below your chest. And press it back up until your arms are extended.
To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:
- Adjust the decline bench so you can reach the bar
- Lay back and grab the bar (watch your head so you don’t bump the bar)
- Lift the bar off the rack at arm’s length
- Lower the bar so it touches your sternum just below your chest
- Press the weight back up until your arms are near full extension
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and rerack the bar