Incline Dumbbell Press
When body building, it is important to develop a full chest. It is the first thing people see as you walk towards them. There are many ways to work the chest. I will cover these in a series of blog posts.
Related: Flat Dumbbell Press
Let’s discuss the chest press. There are many types of chest press exercises. Some of the most effective forms of chest presses are dumbbell chest presses. These can be performed with a couple of very effective variations, a flat dumbbell chest press and an incline dumbbell chest press.
Dumbbell chest presses are some of the most effective way of building muscle mass in your chest, even more effective than a barbell press. There are a few reasons for this. First you can isolate the pectoral muscles with the dumbbell movement much better than you can with a barbell chest press. With a barbell you balance the weight between two shoulders, arms as well as your chest. Because of this it is easier to perform a barbell chest press. A dumbbell chest press requires more stabilization and concentration on keeping the movement in strict form and your shoulders safe.
With a barbell press you are more limited on the range of motion. The bar will touch the chest and limit how far you can lower the weight. In addition, you are limited in the upper range of the motion. With a dumbbell press you can squeeze your chest muscles together and reach better contraction. When performing a barbell press, your hands are set on the bar and they cannot come together at the top somewhat limiting the contraction you can achieve with a dumbbell press.
As I mentioned earlier, it is harder to keep strict form when performing dumbbell presses. However it is extremely important to perform keep that proper form to avoid any injury to your shoulders.
Let’s talk about form. In order to perform a proper chest press you first need to know your limitations. I would advise starting out very light. Proper form is key in any lift and it is very important to establish that proper form with light weight and proper repetitions to perform the movement correctly in order to avoid any injury. Practice this as long as you need to in order for the proper form to be ingrained into your muscle memory.
With a dumbbell chest press, in order to avoid injury to the shoulder and strain on the bicep and other arm muscles, it is important learn how to lift it over your chest safely. Again it is important to practice with light weight to learn the proper procedure prior to going to heavier weights.
In order to get the weight above over your chest in a safe manner you can work with a spotter and they can hand you the weight. If you don’t have a training partner you don't just muscle the weight up. Nor do you lift from the side from the floor. This will invariably cause you to struggle and possibly strain a muscle either in your arm or your shoulder.
There is a technique. You first place the dumbbells on your knees as you're seated on the bench. Then as you are ready to lay back on the bench flat you kick your knees up into the air with the weights on them. This will elevate the weight in one motion as you're laying back. The momentum will help you lay back with the weight directly over your chest. Again practice this movement with light weight first.
Now you are ready to chest press. Bring the weight down all the way until the dumbbells are in line with your chest. You want to achieve a full stretch of your chest muscles. It is very important to reach full extension to give you that full range of motion of all the muscles. It’s always best for large compound movements and muscle growth to perform a full range of motion.
From the fully extended position at the bottom of the rep range drive the weight up directly overhead, over the top of your chest, straight to the ceiling. At the top I like to squeeze the chest together so that you can contract your chest to full contraction. That full range of motion, from the top to the bottom and back to the top is a full repetition (rep for short). Repeat until you reach the number of repetitions that you would like to perform for that particular set.
Related: Full Range of Motion
I can’t stress enough that as a new movement it is important to practice with light weight first and develop your muscle memory with the correct form prior to adding weight. Performing chest presses with correct form will create soreness even with light weight if you concentrate on the movement. Soreness combined with rest and recovery are the keys to creating muscle growth.
Happy lifting and strive to arrive!