Are There Any Substitutes For Decline Bench Press? (10 Best)

Are there any substitutes for decline bench press? In this article, I will introduce 10 great ones!

are there any substitutes for decline bench press?
Barbell Decline Bench Press

The Decline Bench Press is an exercise that has been used in weightlifting and bodybuilding routines since the early 1900s.

The muscle group targeted by the decline bench press are the chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis major and minor.

Some people believe that the decline bench press is more effective than the standard flat bench press because it works the chest muscles through a greater range of motion.

Others argue that the decline bench press is unneeded because it puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder joints.

The decline bench press is a great exercise, but it’s not for everyone.

So, what’s the verdict? Is the decline bench press an essential exercise for building a strong chest, or are there other exercises that can provide similar results?

The answer is, yes!

Without further ado, here are 10 of the best substitutes for decline bench press that will help you build a strong and muscular chest!

1. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

The decline Dumbbell Bench Press is a great alternative to the standard Decline Bench Press. It can be performed with only dumbbells and a free-moving bench.

Standard benefits:

  • Provides muscle hypertrophy
  • A spotter can easily provide assistance

Emotional benefits:

  • Achieve the chest you’ve always wanted

Additionally, this exercise has a natural range of motion and puts less tension on the shoulders, making it ideal for people with joint issues. Furthermore, the Decline Dumbbell Press better targets the muscles of the chest, providing greater results.

How To Do It

1. Lie on your back on a weight bench, with your legs in a stable position and shoulder-width apart.

2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing forward.

3. Position the dumbbells at chest level, with your elbows bent to 90 degrees.

4. Push the dumbbells up, until your arms are straight.

5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips:

  • Position the bench so that your head is at the edge of the bench. This will ensure that you get a full range of motion.
  • Keep your palms facing forward throughout the entire movement. This will help to target the chest muscles.
  • Don’t lock your elbows at the top of the movement. This can put unnecessary strain on the joints.
  • Breathe deeply and steadily throughout the entire movement.
  • Use a spotter if you are using heavyweights.
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

2. Decline Dumbbell Flies | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

The decline dumbbell fly is a great chest exercise that can be done at the start or end of your workout. It provides a natural range of motion for working the chest and is one of the best ways to strengthen and stretch out your pectorals.

The only downside is that it requires you to have access to an adjustable bench, which not everyone has.

If you don’t have access to a bench, there are plenty of other great exercises that can take their place.

Standard benefits:

  • Isolate the chest muscles
  • Puts less tension on the shoulders
  • Great accessory exercise to increase performance in main compound exercises

Emotional benefits:

  • Feel the burn in your chest muscles like never before
  • Get that “pumped up” feeling before hitting the main exercises

How To Do It

Lie down on the bench with your head and shoulders toward the end of the bench and your feet held in a secure position. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.

Slowly lift the weights until they are directly over your chest. Pause and then slowly bring them back to the starting position.

Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.

3. Machine Chest Press | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Machine Chest Presses are a great way to get started on working out your chest muscles. They are relatively easy to use and help you to focus on the mind-muscle connection. Additionally, different angles of the machine can target specific chest muscles.

Standard benefits:

  • You can overload the weight on this machine.
  • It’s one of the best weight-loaded pressing movements to isolate the chest muscles.
  • There is a reduced risk of injury.

Emotional benefits:

  • Achieve your fitness goals and feel proud of your accomplishments.
  • Get stronger and more muscular than ever before.

How To Do It

Begin by sitting in the machine chest press and adjusting the weight to your desired level. Next, press the weight away from your chest and hold for a count of two.

Then, slowly bring the weight back to your chest and repeat.

Be sure to keep your back pressed firmly against the bench and your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

4. Incline Push-Ups | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Incline Push-Ups are a great exercise to target the lower chest muscles. They can be performed anywhere without any equipment, and modifications can be made for beginners.

Hand placement can also be altered to target different muscles. For instance, wider hands work more of the chest and closer hands work more triceps.

Standard benefits:

  • Can be performed anywhere without any equipment
  • Modifications can be made for beginners
  • Hand placement can be altered to target different muscles
  • Great for building bodyweight strength
  • A good way to add intensity at the end of a chest workout.

How To Do It

  1. Get into a plank position
  2. Place your hands in a secure elevated position, wider than shoulder-width apart with fingers pointing forward and thumbs facing each other
  3. Lower yourself down until your chest is an inch or two from the bottom position (or as low as you can go)
  4. Push up to return to starting position
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Modifications:

If Incline push-ups are too difficult, you can modify the exercise by:

  • Putting your knees on the ground and doing them in the flat position
  • Doing them against a wall
Push Up Position

5. Body weight Dips | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Body weight dips are a great fitness tool that can be done almost anywhere and don’t require much equipment. They’re also helpful in building strength, and endurance, and can help tone your muscles.

Although they may seem daunting at first, dips are relatively easy to do once you get the hang of them.

Standard benefits:

  • Build strength, endurance, and tone muscles
  • Can be done anywhere with minimal equipment needed
  • Easy to learn

Emphasized benefit:

  • You can use leg drive to help complete forced reps for even more stimulation

How To Do It

  1. Position your hands comfortably on the dip bars and extend your legs out in front of you.
  2. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  3. Once you reach the bottom of the dip, press your palms into the bars and extend your elbows to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  5. To make the exercise more challenging, you can add weight by wearing a weighted vest or holding a dumbbell between your feet.
  6. You can also do dips on a bench or chair if you don’t have access to dip bars.

Modifications:

If regular dips are too difficult, you can modify the exercise by:

  • Placing your feet on a raised surface
  • Doing them against a wall
  • Bending your knees
  • Using a resistance band for assistance
  • Using an assisted dip machine
Parallel Bar Dips

6. High To Low Cable Flies | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

High to low cable flies are a great way to target your chest muscles.

By using a cable pulley system, you can drop the weight after each set, making it easy to perform drop sets. This exercise also provides an insane chest pump.

Standard benefits:

  • Target your chest muscles more effectively.
  • Isolate the chest muscles better than other exercises.
  • Keeps constant tension on the pecs, for a better pump.

Emotional benefits:

  • Build the chest muscles you’ve always wanted.
  • Get an amazing pump in your chest muscles, that will make you feel great.
  • Increase your confidence with a bigger, more muscular chest.

How To Do It

  1. Position a cable pulley at the height you need, and attach D-handles to each side.
  2. Standing in front of the pulley, grasp the handles with your palms facing each other.
  3. Step forward a few feet and pull the handles towards your chest, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. From here, lower the handle in a controlled manner until your arms are extended out in front of you at waist level.
  5. From the bottom position, reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

7. Dumbbell Floor Press | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

The dumbbell floor press is a great exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and tricep muscles. It only requires dumbbells, so it’s perfect for people who don’t have access to a gym or weight machines.

However, it may be difficult to get into this position without a spotter to hand you the dumbbells.

Standard benefits:

  • Targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles
  • Only requires dumbbells
  • Perfect for people who don’t have access to weight machines or benches

Emotional benefits:

  • Get stronger and more muscular triceps

How To Do It

  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs.
  3. Extend your arms straight above you, then slowly lower them to the floor beside you.
  4. Pause and press the weights back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips:

  • Use a lighter weight than you would for a standard bench press to keep the focus on your triceps.
  • If you have trouble getting into the starting position, place your feet on a raised surface like a bench or stool.

8. Decline Smith Machine Bench Press | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Decline Smith Machine Bench Press is a great way to overload the chest muscles with more weight.

This is because there are supports attached in case you can’t get the weight up, which is similar to having an actual spotter.

It also allows for more focus on the main movement because it doesn’t require as much stabilization in comparison to the barbell bench press. This makes it a great choice for those looking to improve their chest development.

Standard benefits:

  • Increased chest muscle development
  • Increased chest strength
  • Can be performed with a close grip to focus on the tricep muscles

Emotional benefits:

  • Feel more confident bench pressing heavier weight
  • Get that sculpted, powerful chest you’ve always wanted

How To Do It

  1. Position the Smith Machine bench at a decline angle.
  2. Load the weight onto the machine and secure it.
  3. Lie down on the bench and grasp the bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  4. Lift the bar off of the rack and lower it to your chest.
  5. Press the bar back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips:

  • Use a spotter or the support attachments when performing this exercise.
  • Don’t over-arch your back when pressing the bar up, as this can cause injury.
  • Use a slower, controlled tempo when lowering and pressing the bar to maximize muscle growth.

9. Incline Swiss Ball Push-Ups | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

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Many people have heard that push-ups are one of the best exercises for building muscle. But the truth is, there is no single exercise that will work every muscle in your body.

Push-ups can be difficult to do on a hard surface and require you to support your weight with just your hands.

So what should you do if you want to make them easier and work different muscles at the same time? The answer is incline Swiss ball push-ups!

Incline Swiss ball push-ups are a great exercise for people who want to work their chest, shoulders, and triceps without putting too much strain on their wrists.

They are also perfect for people who are looking for a new challenge, as they require you to stabilize your body on an unstable surface.

The only equipment you need for this exercise is a Swiss ball, which can be found at most sporting goods stores.

Standard Benefits:

  • A great way to build upper body stabilization.
  • Build chest and tricep muscles.
  • A great exercise to superset with a movement like smith machine bench press.

How To Do It

  1. Position the Swiss ball against a wall or sturdy object.
  2. Place your hands on the ball slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Extend your legs straight behind you and press your heels into the ground.
  4. Bend your elbows and slowly move your chest toward the ball.
  5. Press back up to the starting position and repeat.

Tips:

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your incline Swiss ball push-ups:

  • Make sure the Swiss ball is inflated to the proper pressure before you begin.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.
  • Use a slow and controlled motion when lowering and pressing back up.
  • If you find the exercise too difficult, place your feet on a raised surface such as a step or box.
  • If you want to make the exercise more challenging, place your hands closer together on the ball.

10. Incline Banded Push-Ups | Decline Bench Press Alternatives

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Incline Banded Push-Ups are a new way to work your chest and triceps. Unlike traditional pushups, the Incline Banded Push-Up requires only a resistance band.

The tension from the band will pull you to the ground, requiring greater force to push up. Hand placements can be altered to work specific muscles.

Standard benefits:

  • Target more muscle fibers than regular pushups.
  • A wider grip works chest muscles better, and a closer grip works triceps better.
  • Explosive strength builder.

Emotional benefits:

  • Feel the burn as you work your way to the top of the movement.
  • Watch your muscles grow stronger with each rep.

How To Do It

  1. Place a resistance band around your back and position your hands on a bench with your hands secure on each loop end of the band.
  2. With your feet hip-width apart, press against the band to raise yourself up until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Pause and then lower yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 8-12 reps.

Tips:

  • Use a band with enough resistance to make the exercise challenging, but not so much that you can’t complete the full range of motion.
  • If you find it difficult to press up against the band, try doing the exercise without a bench. Place your hands on the band and position yourself in a plank position. From there, press up against the band and lower back down to the starting position.
  • To target your triceps more, place your hands closer together on the band. For a chest-focused workout, place your hands wider apart.

Wrapping Up The Decline Substitutes

You’ve been working hard on your decline bench press routine, but you’re looking for a way to mix it up.

The traditional decline bench press can be tough on your wrists and shoulders. Not to mention, it’s a pretty limited exercise.

If you’re looking for an effective chest workout that doesn’t involve a decline barbell bench press, there are plenty of exercises to choose from. I’ve listed 10 great substitutes that will help you build muscle and increase your strength.

With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs and abilities. Give one or more of these exercises a try and see for yourself how they can help you reach your fitness goals.

Do You Really Need To Do Decline Bench Press?

No, you don’t really need to do decline bench press.

There are plenty of alternative exercises that can help you build muscle and increase your strength. However, if you enjoy decline bench press and it works well for you, then by all means continue doing it!

Eric Decremer
Eric Decremer

Eric is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and competes in the USPA Powerlifting Association. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!

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