The incline dumbbell chest press is an amazing way to train your chest, triceps and front delts, although it primarily targets the upper chest (pectoralis major). Using dumbbells provides a larger range of motion to using a barbell and also requires more stability, therefore activating more muscles. There is less need for a spotter during this exercise and therefore there is less cause for concern when you want to stop as it is easier to get the dumbbells out of the way if you fail a heavy set.

How to:

  1. First of all, choose a suitable weight of dumbbell and place them in front of the desired bench.
  2. Next, set the bench at around a 30-degree angle.
  3. Once seated on the bench, lift the dumbbells onto the end of your knees (so they are vertical).
  4. Now use your knees to flick the dumbbells onto your chest whilst you lie back on the bench.
  5. Push the dumbbells away from you so they are above your chest.
  6. Now lower the dumbbells down back onto your chest.
  7. Repeat these steps until you wish to stop, at this point bring the dumbbells down onto your upper thigh whilst sitting up and place the dumbbells back on the floor.

Top tips:

  • There should be between a 45–60 degree angle between your sides and your arms.
  • Control the lowering part (eccentric) of the movement to improve stability, muscle activation and injury risk mitigation.
  • Use a full range of motion, ensure you touch your chest on the bottom of the rep and extend at the top without locking out your elbows.


  • A barbell can be used instead of dumbbells to make the movement more stable if you are struggling with the dumbbell variation.
  • Difference in the angle of your arms to your sides, the smaller the angle the more the movement will target triceps, and if the angle is larger the majority of the focus will be on your chest.

For any help mastering this exercise or factoring it into your training just ask one of the gym team!