Decline chest press is a great exercise to tone and build the lower part of your chest. Doing this exercise with resistance bands is a great alternative to a cable machine or dips and has a lot of variations.
In the first part of this article, I will show you how to execute a decline chest press with resistance bands properly and in the second part, you find some tips to make the decline chest press harder and more effective to get you the pump you’re looking for.
Decline Chest Press With Resistance Band
Let’s jump right into how you do the basic decline chest press with resistance bands.
Band VS Weights & Machines
Doing your decline chest press with a resistance band gives you several advantages over doing them with a cable machine or with free weights.
- Follow the natural strength curve of your muscle! The resistance of a band will always increase the more you stretch it and that’s also the natural strength curve of your muscle, having the most power in the full contraction. With a cable machine or weights, you often fatigue in the expanded part of your muscle without fully fatiguing the whole muscle.
- Stability, control & core! When you do work with a band, your body needs to hold the band in more than one direction so you will also work a lot on your stabilizing muscles and your core as well.
- Variations & Home Workout! If you want to train your chest at home you are normally stuck with push-ups and have little to no space adding weight or using less weight to get the optimal training resistance. In contrast to the incline chest press where you can do push ups with your feet in a higher position, decline chest press movements are really hard to train at home without something like a dip bar. Bands also give you different angles to work your upper and lower chest with a chest press easily.
- Joint Friendly & Less Disbalances! When using a bar you’re more fixed in your hand position and put more stress on your joints while bands let you get in a more natural hand position and prevent injuries.
There are also more reasons to favor resistance bands over traditional free weights or machines, like reducing the stress on your joints, getting more peak contraction, and many more. But we’re talking here about doing a chest press, so if you’re interested in background info about what benefits resistance bands give you in strength training and bodybuilding, check it out here.
How To Decline Chest Press The Right Way
The main function of your chest is to bring your arms in front and towards the middle of your body – and your chest has 3 parts, the lower chest, the middle chest and the upper chest. To work your lower chest, you will bring your arms in and front in an downward direction and that’s exactly what the decline chest press with resistance bands will do.
Attach the resistance band in a position higher as your head at a door with a door anchor or wrap it somewhere. Now grab each side of the resistance band with one hand and step forward so you have some stretch in the band.
Set one step in front of the other so you can lean forward a little bit and stabilize the resistance and get your back in the right position. This means you will put your shoulder blades back and together and stick your chest out.
Now push the bands down and together so your hands are almost touching each other. During this movement you always want to keep in mind that your chest will work best when you’re not pushing straight but from the outside to the inside as well so make sure that your elbows are not straight next to your body but facing outwards a little bit.
Important Do’s & Don’ts!!!
⓵ No Slack – the resistance band needs to be pre-stretched with the decline chest press (like with any other resistance band exercise). If there’s no resistance at the start of the movement, you will lose a lot of time-under-tension and slow down your training progress!
If you have problems doing the decline chest press without any slack in the band, you should rather drop to a lighter band and step away from the anchor point more to get a better resistance so you can get enough raps done to really work your muscle.
⓶ Back Position & Rounded Shoulders – it’s a common mistake many people make when doing a chest press exercise is to round the shoulders in. The problem is that this will add in your front delts that will take over some of the work and your chest needs less work to do (and progress less).
With the decline chest press it’s not that crucial as with an incline chest press and you can’t stick out your chest as much because you’re leaning forward, but you still need to pay attention to this to get the optimal training result.
⓷ Grip – many people just keep their wrist without tension and have a somewhat bent. This can either cause your wrists to fatigue too early before your lower chest muscle does (and this won’t give you the best training result), or you might catch some injuries here short- or long-term that you really don’t need to risk
There’s more about alternative grip position below.
⓸ Press Together – the primary movement of the chest is not just pressing, it’s also bringing your arm in. You will leave a ton of potential of full contraction on the table if you just press straight and not bring your arms together in the end to get the full squeeze.
Especially with the decline chest press movement it’s tempting to have the arms parallel to your upper body so pay extra attention that your elbows are facing outwards and actually pulling in as well when you press down.
Alternative Ways To Decline Chest Press With Resistance Bands
With every version of an exercise, you will find people that really like it and others that don’t like it that much. If you have problems with the traditional way of doing the decline chest press as shown above (while executing it the right way), you might want to try one of the alternative ways.
Kneeling Decline Chest Press – this variation works the same as the regular decline chest press shown above but is an alternative for you if you either have no attachment point where you can put the band that’s high enough or you have problems stabilizing the resistance band with your core.
Band Around Back – another variation if you train with resistance bands and don#t have an anchor point. Wrap the band around your shoulder blades and then you can push down in the decline movement. This is also an alternative version if you have problems getting your shoulders and back in the right position during the decline chest press because the band will force you to keep your shoulders in the right position to prevent the band slipping over your back.
Different Grips – the awesome thing about resistance bands is that you can use multiple grips without changing your setup at all and with the decline chest press you have different options as well:
You can use the regular grip with your thumbs facing to each other, this is the normal way to do this.
Alternatively, you can also turn your hands by 90 degree and get into a position you would have when you do dips on a dip bar.
If you want to work your tricep more in this exercise, you can also use a reverse grip where you turn your hands to have your thumbs on the outside.
Try them out and see what you like most.
Get Your Pump
If that doesn’t get you that pump and feeling that your chest is basically exploding, here are some tips that will help you work that muscle to the ground.
Shorten The Band – a lot of people do the mistake to use a band with a resistance level that’s simply too high for the incline chest press, that’s a fact.
The full effect of bands results from getting the right resistance and if you use a band that’s too heavy you can’t get a clean range-of-motion and clean reps and get lower progress.
Instead of taking a stronger band simply shorten the band, you use and you can do that perfectly by wrapping it around your hand once or twice and get the extra resistance without losing the ability to do clean reps.
That’s also one reason why I don’t like the resistance bands with handles attached to it and prefer the loop-style bands.
Single-Armed Decline Bench Press – you should really try out this variation and I personally have the feeling it helps me working the lower chest more effectively.
You can get some rotation into your upper body so you get the perfect squeeze at the end of the movement naturally, just rotate into the band a little bit and you will immediately feel the difference.
Also, this variation will force you to use your core muscles more and who will neglect some extra core strength, right? 😉
The next benefit here is that you can get the full range-of-motion with one arm because you can reach back further without the other side of the band dragging you in the other direction.
The last benefit of doing them uni-armed is that you can perfectly go to failure here and really work every side of your chest to the full potential because you don’t have to give up when one side fatigues. Long-term this will eliminate disbalances a lot more effectively.
Time Under Tension – compared to weights where you have the same force applied to any position of the movement, bands will add more resistance the further you stretch them – this will lower the time under tension your muscle has during a set in the starting position. Focus on doing the exercise controlled and try to hold it for a second or two in the fully contracted position and don’t let the band snap back but slowly go back to the starting position.
Full Chest Workout
Simply doing decline chest press is not a full chest workout as there are multiple muscles working in your chest – we have here a full chest workout with different exercises that will give you the strongest pump you can ever think of – check it out here.