Decline barbell bench press

The decline barbell bench press is a popular upper-body exercise targeting the lower pectoral muscles. While it can be a strength-focused movement, it is usually performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more, as part of upper-body or chest-focused training.


  1. Adds size and strength to the pecs
  2. Targets the lower chest
  3. May be more shoulder-friendly than the flat bench for certain lifters

Decline barbell bench press Images


Decline barbell bench press Instructions

Decline barbell bench press muscle diagram
  1. Secure your legs at the end of the decline bench and slowly lay down on the bench.
  2. Using a medium width grip (a grip that creates a 90-degree angle in the middle of the movement between the forearms and the upper arms), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. The arms should be perpendicular to the floor. This will be your starting position. Tip: In order to protect your rotator cuff, it is best if you have a spotter help you lift the barbell off the rack.
  3. As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your lower chest.
  4. After a second pause, bring the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out and push the bar using your chest muscles. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again. Tip: It should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up).
  5. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
  6. When you are done, place the bar back in the rack.


  • If you are new at this exercise, it is advised that you use a spotter. If no spotter is available, then be conservative with the amount of weight used.
  • Also, beware of letting the bar drift too far forward. You want the bar to touch your lower chest and nowhere else.
  • Don't bounce the weight off your chest. You should be in full control of the barbell at all times.

Variations: You can also use dumbbells or exercise bands to perform this exercise.