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Are Decline Bench Presses Necessary?

author image Brian Willett
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for and He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.
Are Decline Bench Presses Necessary?
Individual doing bench press at the gym.

The decline bench press is an effective exercise for training several muscles of your upper body, but it is not an exercise that is necessary for every fitness regimen. Although the muscles strengthened in the decline bench press are important, you can use a number of other exercises to strengthen these muscles. No matter what exercise you choose, you should always lift with proper supervision and consult a medical professional prior to starting a workout plan.

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Performing the Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is performed on a standard weight bench that is angled in such a way that your head is lower than your feet. The American Council on Exercise suggests that you angle the bench at an angle of 20 to 40 degrees. Secure your feet on the end of the bench to prevent sliding and hold the barbell above your chest. Grasp the bar in both hands with an overhand grip and slowly push the bar upward until your elbows are fully extended, exhaling the entire time. Pause briefly at the top and then reverse the motion and repeat.

Muscles Used

Although the decline bench press is not necessary for workout plans, it can be beneficial because of the number of muscles it trains. The prime movers, or the muscles that provide most of the force, are your pectorals, or chest muscles; triceps; and anterior and medial deltoids, which are in your shoulders. Your posterior, or rear, deltoids; rotator cuffs; serratus anterior; and rhomboids, which are located in your back; help stabilize your body during the decline bench press.

Alternate Chest Exercises

If you are using the decline bench press to enhance the strength of your chest, you can use many other exercises to replace the decline bench press. One of the most effective chest exercises is the traditional bench press, which is performed in the same manner as the decline bench press, albeit with a straight bench. Weightlifting website Project Swole also suggests that the dumbbell fly and chest dips are other top chest exercises.

Alternate Triceps Exercises

Your triceps provide two-thirds of the muscle mass on your upper arms, so training them is essential if you wish to improve the appearance of your arms. Many exercises can be alternatives to decline bench presses, including the close-grip bench press, triceps dips and cable pushdowns.

Alternate Deltoid Exercises

Your deltoids are vital for moving your arms and producing motions such as throwing and pushing, so training them is essential for athletes and other active individuals. Some effective deltoid exercises you can use as alternatives to the decline bench press include military presses, upright rows and lateral raises.

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