Start & Finish Position
I'm not a fan of the Decline Bench Press. The reason, the lower muscles of the chest (Pectoralis Major - Lower Sternal Fibres) are well worked during flat work (i.e. Flat Bench Press), plus, they also get hit performing Dips. Subsequently, in my opinion, it's an unnecessary exercise choice. Decline Bench Press is often popular though because the shorter range of movement allows the individual to lift more weight than they might during a Flat Bench Press.
Below are a list of the key steps you should follow to mimic correct exercise technique & what muscles are at work.
Confused about what gym exercises to perform & when? You should consider reviewing the sample gym workouts featured in our 'Workouts' category. You can also found further expert advice the acclaimed book Gym Workouts: Maps to Success and the free-to-download workout app GP Shuffle.
Key Steps to performing the Flat Bench Press correctly:
For this exercise, you require a spotter.
1) Ensure that gym equipment is set up correctly - bench*, bar, weights etc. The bar should be empty (free of weight) at this stage. *If you are not using a fixed Olympic Decline Bench, set the bench to an angle between roughly 30 to 35 degrees.
2) Lie down on the bench, sliding underneath the barbell. The bar should be resting on the lift-offs directly above your eyes. The bar should be empty (free from weight) at this stage.
3) Grip the bar with your hands roughly shoulder-width plus one hand-width on either side. Remember this grip point in correlation with the bar's knurling.
4)Inhale as you lower the bar downward to touch your lower chest - a weight will typically be drawn or lowered to the area/ muscles being worked! At this point your arms should form a right angle (ask your spotter to check). If your arms do not, you will need to adjust your grip width accordingly. Exhale, and the press the bar up.
5) Repeat the exercise for the given number of repetitions Do not lock your elbows out at the top of the movement & do not bounce the bar off your chest.
6) Warm Up. Warm up with little or no weight, performing 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps or more, in order to lubricate joints and raise local muscle temperature.
7) For your working sets, select an appropriate weight that allows you to achieve your target repetition range in a safe & controlled manner.
Muscle worked during the Decline Bench Press:
Primary Muscles: Pectoralis Major - Lower Sternal Fibres.
Secondary Muscles: Anterior Deltoids, Triceps, Serratus Anterior, Anconeus.
Stabilizing Muscles: Lateral Deltoids, Rectus Addominis, Transversus Abdominis, Forearm Flexors...