Discover how to massively grow your chest muscles with the dumbbell incline press.
We previously covered the flat dumbbell bench press and this time we are moving the bench a little bit higher to check out the benefits and how to correctly do the dumbbell incline press.
The exercise you are about to see is explained by Adam Schafer, one of the hosts of Mind Pump Podcast. The Mind Pump Podcast is an online radio show that talks all fitness related and, usually, is provocative. Its hosts are Sal Di Stefano, Adam Schafer, Justin Andrews, and Doug Egge. They also have a YouTube channel with more than 700k subscribers.
Below, Schafer explains the cues you need to keep in mind when performing this exercise in order to get the most out of this outstanding chest exercise.
How to Massively Grow Your Chest Muscles with the Dumbbell Incline Press
Let’s commence by addressing the angle of the bench press. He clarifies that there are both fixed and adjustable incline benches. He emphasizes that the choice of incline affects muscle recruitment. Higher inclines engage the shoulders more, while lower inclines involve the chest more.
Schafer introduces the use of dumbbells and advises starting with a manageable weight to maintain control. The critical points of contact on the bench are outlined, including feet, knees, buttocks, upper back, and head. These points ensure proper stability and alignment during the exercise.
The importance of retracting the shoulders is highlighted to prevent undue stress on them. A comfortable arch in the lower back is advocated to facilitate proper chest engagement while avoiding excessive strain.
The method for positioning oneself for the dumbbell press is discussed. Schafer stresses the significance of using leg movement to bring the dumbbells close to the body before lying back. This prevents the dumbbells from veering away and safeguards the shoulders.
Elbow positioning is emphasized, with a recommendation for a moderate 45-degree bend during the exercise. He demonstrates the correct angle for the dumbbells at the bottom of the press, aiming for a 90-degree bend at the elbows.
Adam also underscores the significance of maintaining proper form, including not fully locking out the elbows. He advises looking straight up during the press to ensure a neutral spinal alignment. A controlled tempo is encouraged, with a suggested 4-second descent, a brief pause, and a 1-second ascent.
Breathing technique is explained, with inhalation during the descent and exhalation during the press. In the video, you can see him transitioning from the exercise by bringing the knees up and rocking up to a seated position.
Finally, Schafer recommends considering individual mobility when determining how far down to lower the dumbbells. While individuals with good mobility can go deeper, the focus is on finding a depth that engages the chest without straining other areas. A range of motion of at least 90 degrees in the elbow and shoulder is suggested, with a caution against going too deep if discomfort or strain is felt elsewhere.
For a full detailed explanation, watch the video below from Adam Schafer to discover precisely how to massively grow your chest muscles with the dumbbell incline press.
The incline dumbbell press offers several benefits for individuals looking to enhance their upper body strength, muscle development, and overall fitness. Some of these benefits include:
- Targeted Muscle Engagement: The incline dumbbell press primarily targets the upper chest muscles (pectoralis major, clavicular portion). This helps create a well-rounded chest development by emphasizing the upper region, which can be challenging to target with other chest exercises.
- Shoulder Stabilization: Performing the incline dumbbell press requires significant shoulder stabilization as the shoulders help control the movement of the dumbbells. This contributes to improved shoulder strength and stability.
- Variation in Muscle Activation: Changing the angle of the bench alters the muscle activation pattern. Compared to flat bench presses, incline presses engage the upper chest and shoulders more, providing a comprehensive upper body workout.
- Functional Strength: The exercise mimics pushing movements encountered in daily activities and sports, enhancing functional strength and improving performance in tasks that involve pushing or lifting.
- Muscle Symmetry: Inclusion of the incline dumbbell press in a well-rounded workout routine helps ensure balanced chest muscle development, promoting aesthetic symmetry and reducing muscle imbalances.
- Increased Range of Motion: The incline angle allows for a greater range of motion compared to flat bench presses. This can help improve flexibility and joint mobility in the shoulders and chest.
- Core Activation: Maintaining stability on the incline bench engages the core muscles to a certain extent, contributing to core strength and overall stability.
- Less Stress on the Shoulders: The inclined position can be gentler on the shoulder joints compared to flat bench presses, making it a suitable alternative for individuals with shoulder issues.
- Dumbbell Versatility: Dumbbells allow for a more natural range of motion and independent movement of each arm, which can help correct muscle imbalances and improve coordination.
- Progressive Overload: Like other weightlifting exercises, the incline dumbbell press enables progressive overload by increasing the weight lifted over time. This contributes to muscle growth and strength gains.
- Enhanced Muscle Activation: Research suggests that the incline bench press activates the upper chest muscles more effectively than the flat bench press, making it a valuable addition to a chest-focused workout routine.
- Variation in Routine: Incorporating the incline dumbbell press adds variety to your training regimen, preventing workout plateaus and keeping the routine fresh and engaging.
It’s important to note that the incline dumbbell press should be performed with proper form and technique to maximize its benefits while minimizing the risk of injury. Beginners may benefit from guidance and supervision from a qualified fitness professional when learning this exercise.
How Heavy Should you Lift When Training for Muscle Growth?
When training for muscle growth (hypertrophy), the weight you lift, often referred to as the training load or intensity, is an important factor to consider. Here are some guidelines to help determine how heavy you should lift:
Use a weight that challenges you: To promote muscle growth, it’s important to use a weight that challenges your muscles. This means selecting a weight that allows you to complete the desired number of repetitions within the hypertrophy rep range (generally 8 to 12 reps) with proper form, while also feeling challenging towards the end of each set.
Choose a weight that elicits fatigue: The weight you select should cause fatigue in the target muscles by the end of each set. You should feel a sense of muscular burn or fatigue during the final few reps, indicating that the weight is appropriately challenging.
Progressive overload: To continue building muscle, it’s crucial to gradually increase the demands on your muscles over time. This can be achieved through progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing the weight you lift as your muscles adapt and grow stronger. Aim to progressively increase the weight as you become more comfortable with a certain weight range to continue stimulating muscle growth.
Form and technique: While it’s important to challenge yourself with heavier weights, it’s equally important to prioritize proper form and technique. Lifting weights that are too heavy and compromise your form can increase the risk of injury and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Focus on maintaining good form throughout each repetition, even when using challenging weights.
Individual capabilities: The appropriate weight will vary depending on your individual capabilities, strength level, and experience. What may be heavy for one person might be light for another. It’s important to listen to your body and select weights that are appropriate for your current fitness level.
Variation in training: Incorporating a variety of rep ranges and training modalities can be beneficial for overall muscle development. While the hypertrophy rep range (8-12 reps) is commonly associated with muscle growth, including both higher rep ranges (12-15+) and lower rep ranges (6-8) in your training can provide different stimuli and promote well-rounded muscle development.
Remember, finding the right weight is a process of trial and error. Start with a weight that challenges you within the recommended rep range, and adjust as needed based on your individual capabilities and progression. Consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer can also provide guidance and help you determine the appropriate weight selection for your specific goals and needs.