Incline Dumbbell Press – The Best Upper Chest Exercise?

Anyone can build a big chest, but most guys have no idea how to get the right proportions that will give you that truly unstoppable look.

Most guys who work on their chest end up getting a huge lower chest because the lower chest is naturally thicker and more responsive to growth.

But there's nothing impressive about a big lower chest. It makes you look more like you've got man boobs than a muscular chest.

The secret to building the perfect chest, is not to have a sloping chest that sticks out at the bottom, but to have a vertical drop – like a cliff-face – with the upper chest being just as thick as the lower.

And there's none better to help you achieve this than the incline dumbbell press

…But Not The Way Everyone Else Is Doing The Incline Bench Press

I see too many guys at the gym doing the incline barbell press, or they're doing the incline dumbbell press the wrong way.

The trouble with the regular old barbell incline bench press is it targets way too much of the anterior (front) deltoids of the shoulders.

The traditional barbell incline bench press results in too much anterior deltoid involvement

See, EMG studies have shown that the more you incline the bench, the more you involve the anterior deltoids, and the less you involve the chest.

So What's The Solution? How Do You Work The Upper Chest While Minimizing Involvement Of The Shoulders?

Well the secret is a powerful incline dumbbell press tweak that was used by the legendary Steve Reeves to carve out a truly thick set of upper pecs that all his competitors were jealous of.

Who was Steve Reeves? Steve Reeves was the bodybuilding superstar before Arnold. He was one of the biggest icons of modern bodybuilders that ever existed, and has long been considered the pinnacle of the male physique.

Born in 1926, Reeves won every major title of his era, retiring from competitive bodybuilding in 1950.

Steve Reeves had perfectly even chest development. He was more concerned about proportionality and looking great, than he was about size.

Now, back in those days, bodybuilding was all about proportionality and achieving the ideal masculine look. Unlike bodybuilding the way it is today, it wasn't about taking steroids and getting as big as you possibly can. Face it, today's competitive bodybuilders look like freaks and women and people in general are repulsed by them.

Even most of Reeve's competitors at the time were open about the fact that Reeves had the perfect male physique.

One of Reeves' most envied body parts was his chest. He had very unique square pec development, with a particularly thick set of upper pecs.

Everyone at the time tried to duplicate Reeve's results. After questioning him, they found that the secret to his success was a special tweak he added to the incline dumbbell press.

Steve Reeves’ secret to his perfect chest proportions was a special tweak he added to the incline dumbbell press

Steve Reeves' tweak is what truly sets the incline dumbbell press apart from the regular old incline barbell press.

With the incline dumbbell press, not only can you get a greater stretch at the bottom of the movement, but EMG studies have shown that you can get a more intense contraction in your pecs at the top of the movement, if you bring the dumbbells in toward one another at the top.

This is what Steve Reeves was doing long before EMG studies confirmed that it actually works.

By bringing the dumbbells in at the top, not only do you isolate the pecs (as opposed to the anterior deltoids) better than in the incline barbell press, but you also stimulate those inner pec fibers near the midline of your upper chest, to really bring out that pec separation line.

Being able to bring your hands together at the top of the movement using dumbbells, is the secret key that Steve Reeves used to develop a thick upper chest that was the envy of all of his competitors.

Sure, Reeves wasn't the first guy to ever use dumbbells, but he was one of the only guys of that era who was known to use the incline dumbbell press, at a time when everyone else was using barbells.

Nobody else knew that dumbbells allow you to isolate the upper pecs better than a barbell ever could.

How To Perform The Incline Dumbbell Press

You can do the incline dumbbell press with your torso anywhere between a 30 and 45 degree angle to the floor.

If you go much lower than 30 degrees, then you won't be putting enough emphasis on the upper chest. Go higher than 45 degrees, and you'll be putting too much emphasis on the shoulders. Personally, I prefer 45 degrees :p

You will find that you can lift less on an incline press than you can on a flat bench press. This is partly because the upper portion of the pectoralis major muscle is naturally thinner and weaker than the lower portion.

  • Lie back on a bench inclined at 30-45 degrees with a dumbbell in each hand resting on your thighs.
  • Using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, assume the starting position by lifting the dumbbells to your chest. Use an overhand grip as you would with a barbell.Your elbows should be flared out, with your upper arms at 90° from your torso (see image below).

Here at the bottom of the movement, your hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart, allowing your elbows to go down below the level of your chest.

  • While breathing out, push the dumbbells up in a slight arch, so the inner bells of each dumbbell touch at the top.
  • Tense your pecs hard at the top, trying for a hard contraction.
  • While breathing in, lower the weights back to the starting position, being sure to get a deep stretch at the bottom of the movement.
  • When you are done, place the dumbbells back on your thighs and then on the floor.

Incline Dumbbell Press Video

In this video, I got my chest sculpting buddy Mihailo, to do the incline dumbbell press. I did ask him to do it at 45 degrees, but he went ahead and did it at 30 degrees.

Incline Dumbbell Press

So the key to a powerful set of pecs is to develop a thick upper chest, which gives you that square-cut appearance with a vertical drop.

Upper pec development is tough, and most guys get it wrong by either doing barbell incline work, or neglecting incline presses altogether.

The secret to ultimate upper pec development is to do incline dumbbell presses like good ol' Steve Reeves back in the day when bodybuilding was all about proportionality and looking great as a man.

EMG studies have shown that bringing the dumbbells together at the top, helps not only to isolate the pecs (as opposed to the front deltoids), but also to contract those inner pec fibers, which give you that full upper chest thickness.

Using The Incline Dumbbell Press For Losing Man Boobs

Developing your upper chest is an excellent way to improve the look of your chest if you have man boobs.

Guys with man boobs usually have too much fat overlying their lower chest, making their lower chest seem bigger than it should. By developing your upper chest, you can really improve the way you look by making your lower chest look smaller in comparison.

To really lose man boobs though, as well as using exercises like the incline dumbbell press to develop your upper chest, you also need to lose the fat over that lower chest.

When you lose your man boobs (by using the methods I reveal here) and develop your chest muscles the way Steve Reeves did, you'll soon be able to take off your top and look great at the beach, at the pool, or in a t-shirt out in the summer sun.

Losing man boobs really isn't that hard when you know the right way to go about it. When you discover the secrets on how to lose man boobs naturally, you can feel comfortable in a t-shirt or topless just a few short weeks from now.

The discoveries I've made are somewhat unusual though, but when you get started on these unique methods, I promise you'll never look at your man boobs in the same way again.

You can find out about these unique (somewhat unusual) methods here:

Click here to discover my totally unconventional methods on how to lose man boobs naturally