Incline Dumbbell Press with Hunter Labrada | Exercise Guide


My favorite compound chest movement is, by far, a slight-incline dumbbell bench press. I have almost exclusively replaced all flat dumbbell presses with these for a couple reasons. First, placing the bench at a slight incline removes a lot of the stress that being completely flat places on your anterior deltoids and rotator cuffs. It is no secret that flat presses place your shoulder joint at a disadvantageous position. It’s crazy how much difference moving the bench up one hole makes!

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In addition to removing a lot of the mechanical shortcomings of a truly flat press, being at a slight incline places even more of the stress of the pressing motion where it should be—on your chest. This is especially true if you use an extreme arch in your back when you bench. As a side note, I have no problem with an arch in your back while you bench. In fact, I encourage people to have a big enough one to be able to have their training partner stick their hand under it. This forces you to keep a “big chest” and keep the tension where it should be. It also makes your entire body as rigid and as stable as possible, minimizing risk of injury and allowing maximal exertion on the exercise being performed.

That being said, I am highly opposed to your butt coming off the bench, or your feet coming of the ground—both of which do the exact opposite of what a good arch does. They destabilize your body, open your back and neck up to injury, and take the stress off your chest.

To perform this exercise, you will need an adjustable bench that goes from completely flat, and you will set it one to two holes above the completely flat setting. Play around with it; find what setting works best for you. The goal is to relieve the stress from your shoulders and place the maximal amount of tension on your chest.

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