9 Effective Decline Bench Press Alternatives and Substitutes (With Pictures)

If you want to build big and rounded pecs, working on your lower chest area becomes imperative. The more developed your lower chest area is, the greater will be the three-dimensional appearance of your chest. In order to hit the lower chest area, the decline barbell bench press is one of the most preferred exercises. Its angle of decline targets the lower chest fibers and trains them adequately promoting both strength and hypertrophy gains.

But what would you do if your gym doesn’t have the conventional decline barbell bench press setup? Are there other exercises that can serve as a decline bench press alternative? We know you are here to get answers to these questions. Isn’t it?

Well, there are a plethora of exercises that mimic the movement pattern of a decline barbell bench press. Even if you incorporate one or two of them in your training program, that will take your lower chest development to a whole new level. In this post, we will let you know about 9 different exercises by which you can effectively stimulate your lower chest fibers. So if you are willing to build up those armor-plated pecs, which you surely do, you can continue reading further.

9 Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Decline Bench Press Alternatives

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Whenever you perform a horizontal pushing movement (such as a push-up or a bench press), your chest muscles do get recruited to execute the movement well. But in order to target the specific parts of your chest, your torso and arms have to form a certain angle. When it comes to hitting the lower pecs, your arms must be moving the weight in a path that is in line with your sternum.

The decline barbell bench press is undoubtedly a great exercise to hit your pec minor but in absence of it you can rely on the following exercises to annihilate your lower chest:-

Parallel Bar Dips (leaning forward)

Parallel bar dips are one of the most effective exercises that target your lower pecs. This bodyweight movement allows you to shape up your lower chest area. The only condition while performing them is that you need to slightly lean your torso to the front to hit your lower chest muscles well.

Why is it important?

When you perform parallel bar dips you use your body weight as resistance. Hence, this exercise becomes a perfect choice for those who rely on bodyweight training. It targets your lower pecs in the same manner as the decline barbell bench press. It also trains your triceps and anterior deltoids to some extent.


  • Step on a dip station keeping your hands on the bars.
  • Now lift your feet off the ground. Your bodyweight should be on your hands.
  • Slightly lean your torso towards the ground.
  • You can keep your knees forward to maintain balance.
  • Now lower yourself by bending your elbows and maintaining the incline in your torso.
  • Once your upper arms are parallel to the ground, push yourself back to the starting position.
  • Make sure to not overstretch your shoulders during the eccentric phase of this movement.
  • Repeat the movement till failure on each set.

Incline Push-Ups (with supinated grip)

Incline push-ups serve as the most feasible decline barbell bench press alternative. It has a simple setup that allows you to perform this movement almost anywhere.

Why is it important?

Incline push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise serving as the replacement fordecline bench press. If you are unable to perform the parallel bar dips, this exercise is going to serve you pretty well. It mimics the decline barbell bench press and when you perform it with a supinated grip, it targets your lower pecs perfectly.


  • Initiate by setting up a small riser in your front. You can also use a flat bench for that purpose.
  • Now place your hands on the flat bench with your fingers pointing towards the ground.
  • Make a gentle angle with your body. You would attain a push-up position with your hands placed higher than your feet.
  • Mimicking the basic push-up, lower your torso until your chest touches the riser or flat bench.
  • Now push back up and contract your lower chest muscles.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Decline Dumbbell Flyes

Adduction is the prime function of chest muscles. When you perform a decline dumbbell fly your lower chest fibers work optimally which provides them with great stimulation. Amongst all the decline bench alternatives, the decline dumbbell fly is quite basic to hit the pec minor.

Why is it important?

Decline dumbbell flyes allow your chest fibers to completely get stretched. This subjects them to greater damage which positively contributes to their hypertrophy. If you are looking out to build popping pectorals, this exercise will help you significantly.


  • Initiate the movement by lying on a decline bench holding one dumbbell in each hand. Your palms must be facing each other.
  • Keep your hands above your lower pectorals and make sure to tuck your legs in the footpads.
  • Inhale and lower the dumbbells in a fly motion until your upper arms are parallel or slightly below parallel to the floor.
  • Feel a strong stretch in your lower pectorals and bring your arms back to the starting position in a fly motion.
  • Exhale and squeeze your lower pectorals for a second.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

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Decline Dumbbell Press

If you are someone who wants to train lower pecs through a greater range of motion, the decline dumbbell press will be the best for you.

Why is it important?

Decline dumbbell bench press is a great alternative to decline barbell bench press. The use of dumbbells in this decline bench exercise provides you with a better range of motion. You also get to experience a better stretch and contraction in your pecs which you wouldn’t get in its barbell counterpart.


  • Lie down on a decline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keep your hands on either side of your chest.
  • Now press the weights straight up. You must ensure that you are pressing over your sternum and not your face.
  • Squeeze your lower chest muscles together.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position feeling a stretch in your lower chest.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Decline Floor Press

Decline floor presses are another great alternative to decline bench presses. The best thing about this exercise is that you can perform it with just a pair of dumbbells.

Why is it important?

If you lack shoulder mobility and feel unsafe to perform decline dumbbell flyes or presses, this exercise can serve as a boon in disguise for you. It’s a safer substitute for decline bench press. While performing this exercise, your shoulders go through a limited range of motion which eliminates the chances of shoulder injury.


  • Initiate the movement by lying down on the floor keeping your knees bent and your ankles close to your glutes.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and position them on either side of your chest.
  • Now lift your glutes by pushing the floor with your feet.
  • Inhale and tighten up your core.
  • Exhale and push the weights straight up. You must ensure that you are pressing over your sternum and not your face.
  • Again inhale and get back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Single Dumbbell Serratus Pullover

Pullovers were used by old-school bodybuilders to train their chest muscles and to promote rib cage expansion. The effectiveness of this exercise is unquestionable. Performing it with proper form can take the development of your upper body to the next level.

Why is it important?

The movement pattern of a serratus pullover resembles an arc. This allows your lower pecs to stretch and contract effectively. Apart from hitting your lower pecs, this exercise also targets the muscles of your serratus anterior. Acting as a substitute for decline bench press, pullovers contribute a lot towards developing the overall size of your upper body.


  • To perform this movement choose a weight that allows you to fully stretch your pec minor.
  • Initiate by lying down on a flat bench holding a dumbbell with both hands above your chest. There must be a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Inhale and slowly lower your hands behind your head until they are either parallel or slightly below parallel to the floor. At this point, you will feel a strong stretch in your pecs.
  • Keeping your arms extended, lift the dumbbell back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

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Jackhammer Pushdowns (for chest)

The jackhammer push downs resemble the typical tricep cable pushdowns to some extent. However, while performing this movement you take out your elbows to your sides and focus on contracting your lower chest muscles.

Why is it important?

If you are looking out for a decline bench substitute to target your lower pecs effectively, the jackhammer pushdowns can be your go-to exercise. It doesn’t require any kind of bench for its execution. Since this exercise incorporates the use of cables, it allows you to maintain a constant tension in your lower pecs.


  • Stand in front of a high cable pulley with a straight bar attachment.
  • Keeping your hands shoulder-width apart, grab the bar with a pronated grip.
  • Lower the bar till your hands are fully extended. Squeeze your chest muscles at this point.
  • Slowly return to the point where your palms are in line with your pec minor by pushing your elbows outwards and feeling a stretch in your lower chest muscles.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

High to Low Cable Chest Fly

This is probably the best exercise that allows one to shape up the lower chest muscles. Serving as a substitute for decline bench press, this exercise allows you to target the lower area of your pectorals.

Why is it important?

High to low cable chest fly mimics the movement pattern of a decline dumbbell chest fly. However, it is more effective than its counterpart. This exercise allows you to fully relax and contract your pec muscles and that too without taking off the stress from them. Apart from being an excellent decline bench press alternative, this exercise also allows you to establish a better mind-muscle connection with your pectorals.


  • Start by setting the cable handles just above your shoulder height.
  • Now hold a D-handle cable attachment in each hand and step away until you feel a stretch in your pecs.
  • You can slightly lean your torso forward to target your pec minor effectively.
  • Now bring both hands together in a fly motion towards your groin.
  • Make sure that your hands don’t touch each other as it will minimize the stress in your pecs.
  • Squeeze your pecs completely in this position and keep them contracted for a second.
  • Slowly return to the starting position in a fly motion stretching your chest muscles.
  • Repeat for 12-15 reps.

Decline Machine Press

The decline machine press station is quite rare to be seen in the majority of gymnasiums. However, if you have one in your gym, use it as an alternative to decline bench press.

Why is it important?

Exercises that are performed on machines allow oneself to effectively stimulate the target muscles. The decline machine press is no different in this regard.


  • Sit on the chair of the decline machine press station and position yourself accordingly.
  • Now place your hands on the handles in front of you.
  • Press them until your arms are fully extended and your lower chest is completely contracted. Hold this position for a second.
  • Now slowly get back to the starting position ensuring to feel a stretch in your pec minor.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

To perform the above-mentioned exercises you have to make sure that you choose a weight that allows you to establish a better mind-muscle connection with your lower chest muscles. You don’t need to pile on excessive weights while performing those exercises. Use a weight that feels challenging enough but not too heavy to compromise your form.

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Final Words

To work on your lower chest muscles, you can choose any one or two of the exercises from the above-mentioned list as per your convenience. They all serve as a great substitute for decline bench press and will significantly contribute towards the development of your lower chest muscles.

However, don’t make the mistake of performing only the above-mentioned exercises. Train your chest in a manner that allows you to hit its upper and middle parts as well. This will ensure the overall development of your chest.