T Nation

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press?


Coach CT:

I’ve been doing flat and incline DB bench. If I put decline in should I:
A) Add it to those, and if so where?
B) Replace one of the others with decline?

My goal like most is full development of the pecs of course.

Thanks for any input :slight_smile:


You an do both. But if you add it to the other 2 then you need to take sets out of the first two to compensate. For example if you are doing 4 sets of the 2 you should drop to 3 if you do the 3 exercises.

But honestly you don’t need to do these three pressing moves to build your chest. Incline + EITHER flat or decline will do. The pecs are not that complex and it wont make a difference in development if you do all three. We are born with a certain shape to our muscles and we can’t change it, we can only make a muscle bigger or smaller.


Thanks for the reply coach!

I think I’ll replace incline with them for a while first and see how it feels.

I’ve been doing 3 sets of each press and 3 sets of flys either flat or incline, so replacing one for now makes sense to me because adding it would cause toooo much fatigue without dropping sets as you suggest.

I guess I misspoke using “development.” Should’ve said “build/bulk.”

I do the presses after dips (assisted for now.). It feels like they cause more of a response that way.

Anyway, thank you :slight_smile:


If you replace something for the decline it should be the flat press. Fat and decline work mosthly the same section of the pectorals, the incline provides a slightly different stimulus,


No, build/bulk is a much worse terminology (especially bulk… the word I hate the most in training).

I got the original idea.


k good :slight_smile:

So I tried the decline DB bench and it did NOT work out because I couldn’t get the dumbbells onto my chest from the dang floor! Need a training partner I guess. So I just moved to using a flat bench instead.

The article I read that prompted my trying the declines said that they work the pecs better than inclines, but I don’t recall seeing how flat and incline compare? In the past I’ve just done flat and incline in the same session and assume that’s better than doing just one of them?

I’ve also noticed since I upped the amount of dips that my presses are getting stronger, which is great IMO, plus I think it was your article that said dips are THE best for building pecs(?), which is why I’ve insisted on incorporating them.

I also think it was your article that suggested a 4s pause on rep 1 and subsequently each 4 reps on triceps presses - have been doing those and they feel soooo damn good! I reckon we all like to feel a good pump in the upper arms!

One more item - I posted in the over 35 lifter forum about how to increase ATP…a reply said that creatine does that. I don’t quite yet grasp whether it can really be increased or if what our body has can only be optimized because I read that our bodies recycle ATP - when it’s used it changes to ADP then somehow(?) gets transformed back to ATP.

Anyway, I’m very pleased with the info I’ve found here because when I incorporate the tips I see they almost invariably work well.

Strength and Honor Coach!


Yes the dip is the best pectoral exercise.

The decline press is superior to the flat and incline press in lifters with dominant shoulders because the shoulders are not as involved in the decline press as on the other two.


Ok first understand that ATP is the ONLY energy source that your muscles can use for energy.

YES glucose (carbs) and fat can be used to make energy, but only by being used to produce ATP.

Your capacity to store more ATP is limited and you can’t really increase it significantly. BUT anytime you increase the efficiency of your energy systems you can produce more ATP faster.

Now, how does creatine affects ATP?

By giving one of it’s phosphate molecule.

Here’s what happens.

ATP produces energy by breaking off one of its phosphate molecules. ATP = one molecule of adenosine and 3 molecules of phosphate.

Breaking the chemical bond of one of the phosphates liberate energy.

ATP = ADP + energy + P

Creatine is stored in the muscles as creatine phosphate (one molecule of creatine and one molecule of phosphate).

When doing intense muscular work the creatine will give it’s phosphate to ADP to make it into ATP again so that it can be used to produce more energy

Normally you have enough ATP stored in a muscle for about 3-5 seconds of INTENSE work (your body will not rely on muscle ATP stores to do low intensity work). Creatine can extend that to 9-10 seconds and creatine supplementation can boost it up maybe to 12-15 seconds.

Not a huge difference, but it an make a 1 or 2 reps difference in a set.

I personally am NOT a big fan of creatine but I have nothing against people using it.


Thanks coach!
The way I’m reading that is that ATP isn’t actually a body chemical that can really be added to, but we add the phosphate from creatine to help the recycle of ADP to ATP. Makes sense.

I personally notice a significant difference when using creatine in energy and muscle fullness, but have to think the fullness is at least largely due to the increased water intake while using it.

The extra few reps u mention makes sense too, and those likely cause a significant portion of the pump.

I’m pleased to get your verification on Dips. I’m trying to work my way from assisted ones to using body weight. Can tell they’re helping because the more I’ve done them, the more my pressing weights increase :slight_smile:

Finally, thanks for the clarification on the different bench angles. I’m probably shoulder dominant but unless I can snag a spotter won’t be doing the declines. Well, unless I use girl weights ha!

Take care coach!


That’s just because you need to learn to get them in place. Tons of guys use big weights on decline DBs. If you can get them in place during flat DB press the decline should not be a problem. Your problem might be using too much of a decline. You only need a few degrees, a steeper incline doesn’t work better.


Ok, I’ve never seen anyone use that particular bench except for some bastardized sit-ups so yeh, it looked like about a 30 degree incline…I’ll try halving it.

Thx for yet another good bit of info coach,


That’s all the decline you need.

Notice how John is using a resistance band on the bench to avoid sliding



Ok thanks.
The one I tried was 3 times that steep!