Many of you have done incline bench press many times in the gym. It is one of the popular old-school exercises to build an amazing upper chest. Even famous bodybuilders like Arnold used to smash the gym with the incline bench press. They had that big and fuller-looking chest because of the bench press.

We are often very busy with our work and life, and it becomes very difficult to go to the gym. Because of that reason, we make excuses like no time or a busy schedule. Some people might also need to travel quite frequently due to their jobs. But that should not stop you from working out.

In this blog, I will share some of the best incline bench press alternatives you can do at home, and you don’t require any heavy equipment for this. Some are bodyweight exercises, while others might need essential home gym equipment, and that’s it!

So, if you can’t do an incline dumbbell press or barbell press, you are stuck at home and can’t go to a gym. Then, read the entire blog, which will be very helpful.

6 Best Incline Bench Press Alternatives that can be done at home are:

  1. Decline Pushup
  2. Incline Swiss Ball Dumbbell Press
  3. Incline Chest Press With Bands
  4. Front Raises for Chest
  5. Reverse Grip Rotational Dumbbell Press
  6. Decline Explosive Pushup

Each exercise is discussed in detail. But before looking at the exercises, let’s first talk about the muscles involved during an incline bench press.

Muscles Used During Incline Bench Press

The inclined bench press is a popular exercise targeting the upper chest. When you do any pressing movement with your arms, it engages the front delts and triceps in the action.

Setting up an incline bench at a 45°-50° angle automatically puts your chest at an angle that targets the upper chest more. So, when you do an incline bench press with a barbell or dumbbell, the upper chest is the main focus in both cases.

So, during a bench press, the pectoralis major, especially the upper part of the chest, is the primary muscle trained, whereas the secondary muscles involved are the triceps and deltoids.

Below is the list of the top incline press alternatives you can do even at home. These exercises will target the upper chest and have a similar movement pattern to an incline bench press. So, let’s dive in!

Incline Bench Press Alternatives ( No Bench Required )

1. Decline Push Ups

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Decline pushup is the best alternative to the incline bench press. This exercise has a similar movement pattern to the incline press, and it targets exactly the upper chest. You can do this easily at home without any equipment. All you need is good upper body strength to push your body up!

How to do

1. Place your toes on a table, chair, or bench. The height of the table should not be too much. Your hands should be placed on the floor slightly wider than the shoulder width.

2. Take your body down by keeping your legs and arms straight. Your elbows should be at a 45° angle, and your core should be tight.

3. Pause at the bottom and return to the starting position. You don’t have to look up during the movement.

Always breathe in as you go down and breathe out on the way up during every pushup exercise. You don’t have to hold your breath ( Valsalva maneuver )

2. Incline Swiss Ball Dumbbell Press

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This is a great way to train your chest if you don’t have access to a bench. It would be best to have a Swiss ball for this exercise, which you can easily buy online for many home workouts. You can do many exercises with a swiss ball so you should have those.

How to do

1. Sit on a swiss ball while holding both dumbbells in each hand.

2. Slide your body forward so your hips are slightly above the floor, and keep the dumbbells close to the shoulders.

3. While keeping your elbows at about 60° angle, push the dumbbells up and extend your elbows at the top.

4. Slowly bring the weights back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

As you perform this exercise on a swiss ball, your core muscles will be engaged, making it a more functional movement.

Having a pair of dumbbells at home is always an advantage because you can do many exercises even without going to the gym. If you don’t have it already, then you can buy it from here

3. Incline Chest Press With Bands

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Another exercise that is a good alternative is to decline the bench press. You can do this exercise at home quickly if you have resistance bands. It’s not so expensive, and so many people can afford it. Having some dumbbells or resistance bands to work out efficiently at home is always better.

This is a good isolation exercise where you can completely concentrate on your upper chest. This will help you in building a better mind and muscle connection. Doing this exercise after performing heavy pressing movements like the bench would be best.

Muscles targeted- Pectoralis major and minor (upper chest)

How to do

1. Attach a door anchor at the lower part of the door. You can watch the above video to understand it better.

2. Hold the resistance band and get to the pushing position. Ensure your elbow points at the door anchor where the band is attached.

3. Retract your shoulders and start pushing forward. Pause at the top and come back down slowly.

Your shoulders should be back (retracted), and your chest should be up before performing any pushing movement. That will keep your scapula in a much more stable and safe position. This will reduce the risk of injury and put more tension on the chest.

4. Front Raises for Chest

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Front raises are a great way to isolate your upper chest; here, we are not talking about the front raises for shoulders. This is a different exercise that is specifically for your upper chest. You can do this exercise with dumbbells and don’t need any other equipments.

How to do

1. Grab two pairs of dumbbells and stand straight with both hands facing forward.

2. While maintaining a supinated grip, start moving a hand up towards the midline of your body.

3. Pause at the top when your hands are about shoulder height and squeeze your upper chest at the top.

4. Slowly return to the starting position and make the same movement with the other hand.

You will strongly feel your upper pecs getting pumped while performing this workout. Make sure to concentrate on your chest and keep your palm facing up to keep the tension on the chest.

You can also bring the dumbbell inward toward the midline to put extra tension on your chest.

5. Reverse Grip Rotational Dumbbell Press

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The reverse grip floor press is a great exercise to target the upper chest. This exercise can be done on the bench with a dumbbell or by holding a barbell.

However, it also activates a lot of triceps, so you have to make sure that you have a proper mind and muscle connection when performing these exercises. So always concentrate on the upper chest during the movement.

How to do

1. hold both the dumbbells and lie down on the floor. Keep your hands straight up at a reverse grip position.

2. Start the exercise by bringing your arms down and the dumbbells toward the lower chest. Rotate at the bottom half of the movement. Your hand grip will be neutral at the bottom position.

3. Pause at the bottom position and then push your arms up while rotating your arm during the movement.

You can also do this exercise without rotating your hands at the bottom. Just keep it in a reverse position and move your arms down and up. This might be uncomfortable for some as it requires good wrist mobility.

6. Decline Explosive Pushup

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This is an explosive version of the decline pushup. This exercise is good for improving the power of your upper body. So, if you are an athlete, you should do explosive pushups.

This exercise can quickly be done at home without any equipment. But for some people, especially beginners, this exercise is not recommended. At least you should be able to do regular decline pushups properly before jumping onto the explosive version.

How to do

1. Place both feet on the chair or stool and keep your hands on the floor with your arms extended.

2. Keep your shoulder retracted. Your arm should be in line with the upper chest. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by descending while keeping your core tight. Stop at the bottom when your cheeks are just above the floor.

4. From the bottom, press towards the floor explosively such that your arms are above the floor at the top.

5. Now land on the floor with your arms and descend slowly. Then, repeat the movement.

Explosive plyometric exercises are built to create speed and power. This helps in building muscle coordination and improves strength. So you must include these exercises sometime during your workout.

If you want to do a workout at home or if for any reason you can’t go to the gym, then these are the equipment you should consider buying. You can do many exercises if you have this essential equipment with you.

`1. Adjustable Dumbbells

Having adjustable dumbbells can be very helpful in performing workouts at home. You can do so many exercises with dumbbells. One of the critical things to consider before buying dumbbells is whether you can increase or decrease the weight of the dumbbells.

Adjustable dumbbells are very beneficial as you can increase the weight of the dumbbells as you progress. Bowflex is a top-rated equipment company with good-quality products.

You can check out their dumbbells by clicking here

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2. Adjustable Bench

An adjustable bench is another essential equipment in your home gym garage. You can do many exercises like incline, decline, or flat bench presses. You can adjust the bench angle to hit different parts of the chest.

You can also buy an adjustable bench from Bowflex by clicking here.

Save $50 on the 5.1S Bench + FREE Shipping – US Only

Final Words

So these were some of the best alternatives to incline bench press. Now that you know about each of them, you don’t need to give any excuses. You can do these at home even if you can’t go to the gym.

Make sure that you also do other chest exercises along with these to develop three-dimensional chess. You should not just do upper chest exercises on your chest day. Doing all other chest exercises covering all parts of your chest would be best.

Below are some helpful blogs that will help you design the chest workout program at home.

  1. Best At-Home Middle Chest Exercises for Thick and Strong Pec
  2. 16 Awesome Chest Exercises You Can Do Without Bench
  3. 12 Best Chest Exercises at Home for Big and Strong Chest

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