The bench press is perhaps the most popular exercise in any gym, and the incline bench press is one of its common variants. Bench pressing with an incline focuses on your pectoralis major’s clavicular head. However, your new gym may not have an incline bench, or maybe you can not perform the incline bench press for other reasons, and you need alternatives. This article will compile some of the best incline bench press alternative workouts that you can do for a comprehensive chest workout.
What are Incline Bench Presses?
Incline benches elevate at specific angles relative to the flat bench, helping you engage other muscles that the flat bench may not. Your pectoralis muscles are in twos. They are the clavicular and sternocostal head (upper and lower pectoralis muscles). An incline bench emphasizes your upper pecs when lifting. As a result, the primary benefit of incline benches is developing the pectoral muscles' upper portion. Flat benches typically engage the lower pectoral muscles, resulting in sectoral chest development.
Incline bench press alternative workouts
Most of the alternatives require that you use an adjustable bench. If your home gym does not have a bench with this feature, I recommend the Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Bench.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbell pressing is excellent for developing strength in your pecs, triceps, and deltoids while giving balance to your shoulder’s stabilizing muscles. Because of its placement, the incline dumbbell press can considerably develop your overhead strength, which is necessary as overhead strength correlates with your shoulder girdle’s health.
💡 Quick Tip: If the dumbbell press is your go-to for developing your upper back, I recommend the Hex Dumbbells to help you build those ultimate shoulders.
To begin the exercise, you should first set the bench at a 30, 45, or 60-degree incline. Afterward, take a pair of dumbbells you are comfortable with and sit back on the bench. Ensure your hands are directly above your elbows, making your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Remember to inhale before you move your hands up, exhaling as you lift the dumbbells. The dumbbells should be directly over your face as you reach the top of the motion’s range. Exhale as you lower your arms to your starting position and prepare for your next rep.
Push-ups are perfect bodyweight upper body developers, and decline push-ups are a popular variation. Pushups are popular because anyone can easily do them. Similarly, the decline push-up is easy to perform and can help you stimulate different parts of your biceps, triceps, pecs, and other muscles the exercise targets. You simply place your feet on a slightly elevated platform to angle your body relative to the ground.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: How to Build a Home Gym in a Basement
The dumbbell pullover is another incline bench press alternative that can build your back and chest muscles, helping you build your torso. It is also suitable to develop upper body mass, strength, and stability, including in your triceps and core. The dumbbell pullover is also great for developing body flexibility and posture, helping you reduce the chances of developing office back pains.
Place your shoulder on a flat or slightly adjusted bench to perform the dumbbell pullover. After that, firmly plant your feet on the floor, keeping your knees at a 90-degree bend. Locking a dumbbell between both hands, lift your arms over your chest, keeping them straight with a slight bend in your elbows. Move the weight back over your head until it extends back and aligns with your shoulder. Maintain the position a bit to keep tension on your arms and chest before bringing your arms back until you return to your starting position to complete the rep.
The Dumbbell Overhead Press
The dumbbell overhead press is like the military press, except that you use dumbells for the former and a barbell for the latter. As you may expect, they work the same muscles, including your traps, lats, arms, upper chest, and shoulders. It is also very similar to the incline dumbbell press, with the primary difference being that you use a steeper 90-degree angle for it. The dumbbell overhead press recruits your stabilizer muscles to keep your arms and the dumbbells aligned while you lift it above your head. Additionally, you can also perform variations of the overhead press with your dumbbells, including twisting and turning them for extra effect.
Dumbbell chest fly
The dumbbell chest fly is very similar to the dumbbell press and develops your chest, arms, lats, and upper back. The exercise also helps you to open up your chest, increasing your motion range. Another benefit is that it counteracts upper back pain and reduces tightness around the areas.
To perform the chest fly, you also need an adjustable bench. It can be inclined by 30, 45, or 60 degrees, depending on how you want it. After setting up your bench, pick a pair of dumbbells and lie down on the bench, planting your feet firmly on the ground to offer you support. To begin the rep, stretch both arms, locking your elbow and holding the dumbbells pointing towards the ceiling at full extension. After that, slowly bring down your arms with your elbows still locked until they extend to the side, each pointing away from you at either side. Maintain this position briefly, then return to the starting position to complete the rep.
💡 Quick Tip: Loadable dumbbells may be for you if you are beginning your weightlifting journey, as you can adjust them to various weight levels. I recommend the Rogue loadable dumbbells as it is the perfect combination of classy and functional
Rogue loadable dumbbells
Low to High Cable or Band Fly
The low to high cable or band fly is a cable or band exercise that offers a different take on building your upper pecs. The exercise offers various benefits, but a primary advantage is that it is easy to increase the range of motion while you perform the exercise. You can cross your hands past your body's midline, taking your chest muscles to where they usually can not go with regular bench presses.