Decline Bench Press Alternative Exercises

Decline Bench Press alternative

Decline Bench Press: The Setup, Benefits, and Alternatives

The decline bench press is a great alternative for people with shoulder, elbow, or wrist injuries who can't use a standard bench press. 

There is no better mass builder for the chest than a bench press. It is a great way to achieve hypertrophy and increase your upper body strength. 

Let's explore this bench press variation, its benefits and alternatives.

What is a Decline Bench Press?

A decline bench is an alternative variation of a standard bench press. It is performed on a dedicated decline bench with a barbell. By declining the angle of the upper body rather than lying flat, you are placing more emphasis on the lower portion of the pectoral muscles. 

Once in a decline position underneath the barbell bar, it is a straightforward pressing motion as you would use with a normal bench press. 

By pushing upwards from a decline position, you are forcing the lower portion of your chest to take the majority of the strain. 

Decline presses are a great alternative to standard bench presses for people who have limited wrist mobility,  shoulder issues or who just don't feel comfortable doing standard bench presses.

How to Set Up for a Decline Bench Press

The setup for a decline bench press is simple: If you do not have a dedicated decline bench at your gym, you can improvise. 

Find a sturdy flat bench and elevate the seat end of it on a weight plate or step platform. It is crucial that the bench is sturdy, well-footed and can not be moved. 

You do not want the bench to slip if you are holding a heavy barbell over your head!

How do I perform a Decline Bench Press?

Decline bench press how to

  1. Add the required plates to your barbell bar on a decline bench set up. 
  2. Lay on the bench underneath the bar and grip it at slightly more than shoulder-width.
  3. Lift the bar from the support and slowly lower it to your chest as you breathe in.
  4. Upon exhale, push the bar up in an explosive motion.
  5. Keep your elbows from flaring out too far.
  6. Just before you lock out the arms, slowly lower the bar back to your chest and breathe in.
  7. Repeat for the required number of reps and sets. 

Benefits of Using the Decline Bench Press

This variation of the bench press offers greater resistance on the lower chest and more emphasis on the triceps muscle group, making it a great alternative for those looking to increase their overall bench press strength. 

Decline bench press

Here are some more of the benefits of using the decline bench press: 

-The decline bench press is a more challenging variation of the bench press that will increase your strength and endurance.

-The decline bench press targets the triceps muscle group more effectively than other variations of the bench press, which can lead to better muscle growth.

-The decline bench press is relatively easy to learn and can be done with minimal equipment.

-The decline bench press is a good alternative for those who are new to weightlifting or who want a more challenging workout.

Using the Decline Bench Press To Avoid Injury

When performed correctly, the decline bench press can help you to avoid injuries and build muscle effectively. However, many people make the mistake of using too much weight or lowering the bar too quickly. This can place undue stress on your joints and connective tissues, increasing your risk of injury. 

To avoid these problems, start with lighter weights and focus on control rather than speed. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase the amount of weight you use. With a little practice, you'll be able to perform the decline bench press safely and effectively.

Decline Bench Press Alternative

The best alternatives are:

  • Chest Dips
  • Bench Press
  • Incline press
  • Standing Cable Presses
  • Pec Dec Flys
  • Seated hammer press

With so many options, finding the right alternative for you is essential to ensure you're getting the most from your training.

1 - Chest Dips: These are often overlooked by bodybuilders and strength trainers but are probably the best exercise for developing the pectoral muscles. 

Chest dips have a reputation for being a lower pectoral movement like the decline press but studies have shown that they activate all areas of the pectorals to a very high degree. For this reason, it is the best  decline bench press alternative

Chest Dips

You can add resistance with a weighted belt if you find bodyweight dips too easy or use an assisted dip station if you struggle to perform them. 

Dips are not only good for building the chest. They are also great for tricep development, shoulder development and functional strength. 

2 - Flat Bench Press: The traditional flat bench press is a great alternative if you're looking for a basic movement that targets all of your chest muscles. 

Flat Bench Press

3 - Incline Bench Press: If you want to target the mid and upper portions of the muscles in your chest, incline presses are a great alternative to a flat bench press. To do this variation, set up on an incline bench and follow the steps for a decline or a flat press. 

Incline Bench Press

As with the decline bench press, some people find that the incline press takes some of the uncomfortable pressure away from the wrist joints that a flat bench press can cause.

4 - Standing Cable Press: The standing cable press is a good alternative for targetting the lower pecs. All you need is a twin cable machine and stirrup attachments. 

Set the cable pins to head height, stand between the pulleys and press the cable stirrups away from your chest and downwards at the same time.

Standing Cable Press

If you want to hit the mid-chest or upper chest, just set the pulleys lower and push out straight in front instead of downwards. 

The downwards motion and stress on the lower pecs make this a great decline bench press alternative. 

5 - Pec Dec Flys: Pec dec flys are great for developing the whole chest and will really allow you to connect with the inner portion that you can not really do with pressing movements. 

If you want to place emphasis on the lower pecs, you can put the seat into a high position, sit on the edge of the pec dec seat pad and lean back. 

Pec Dec Flys

Use a moderate weight and focus on good form with slow movement. A five-second negative will increase time under tension and really fatigue the muscle. 

When performed correctly, this is a great decline bench press alternative.

6 - Seated Hammer Press: If you have a seated press machine or a hammer press machine in your gym, you can use it to target the lower pecs in the same way that a decline bench press would making it a great alternative 

Raise the seat to a high position, sit on the edge of it and lean back as far as you can. Make sure that the pressing movement is downwards from your chest as well as outwards. 

Seated Hammer Press

Some chest press machines are great for this but others can make the movement feel awkward and hard on the shoulders. Use a light weight at first to make sure yours is suitable before using this as an alternative.


We hope that you have found this article useful. As you can see, there are many benefits to performing the decline bench press and many great alternatives to the exercise if you do not have access to a decline bench. 

Take a minute to check out our FREE bodybuilding training split, HyperGrowth. This is a scientifically-backed, proven method for using an optimal alternative training frequency on each muscle. Click the banner below for more information.


If your goals are more strength-focused, check out our free super-accumulation strength training strategy. This is a short-term program that will see your strength gains rocket in just four weeks. Click the banner below for further information.



Gymenix offers a selection of free training programs to suit all abilities and goals. Click on the links below for FREE access. 

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form