Tilted Dumbbell Bench Press for Inner Chest

If you want to fill out (or fill in) your inner chest and get more "cleavage" of your pecs, THIS is the exercise for you.

The exercise I've got for you here targets the inner aspect of the chest very strongly...and with a heavy pressing movement, which is very useful for building. The best part is, all you need is very simple equipment (no machines)...just a decline bench and a dumbbell.

Now, there is some debate over whether you can actually target the "inner chest" area.

Hit your inner chest and inner pecs with this bench press exercise

In my experience, however, when you adjust angles of tension the way you do in this exercise in particular, you absolutely CAN target specific aspects of a muscle, especially a complex muscle like the pectoralis major that covers a lot of area.

I'm not saying if you only did this exercise, you would build a big lump of muscle just in your inner chest...what I'm saying is you can put focused tension on muscle fibers in a specific location or orientation even though you're NOT excluding the other fibers of that muscle.

This focused tension is useful when you have less development in that specific aspect of the muscle because of your anatomy, biomechanics or past exercise selection.



The key with this exercise is the angle of your shoulders - tilted downwards. You'll be laying perpendicular on the bench with one arm hooked under the roller pads at the top and your shoulders tilting down.

Here's the starting setup...dumbbell beside the decline bench. Use a weight you know you can handle well for normal dumbbell presses. I'm using an 85lb dumbbell here, which is pretty moderate for me. Definitely start with a light weight the first you do it in order to get used to the positioning.

Sit on the bench and reach down and grab the dumbbell. Set the dumbbell on your thigh then get your other arm hooked underneath the top leg roller pad.

Hit the inner chest with tilted dumbbell bench press

As you do this then just kick the dumbbell up into the bench press position.

Target the inner chest with tilted dumbbell bench press

Now you're in position...your arm is hooked under and the other arm is in the bottom of the bench press position. Note how my shoulder are tilted down...they should STAY tilted down and not come up.

This is KEY to hitting the inner pec area because as you press up, the angle of your shoulders makes it SEEM like you're coming up and across your body, which is what hits that inner aspect.

Work the inner pecs with tilted dumbbell bench press

Press up and hold and squeeze HARD at the top. This is not a fast power exercise. You want to do this deliberately and really get that hard squeeze at the top of the movement where your arm comes "across" your body.

Do all your reps on one side then set the dumbbell down on the floor and switch to the other side.

You can really see the tilt in the shoulders in this pic. Note how much upper arm is all the way down and practically touching the bench at the bottom - the bottom isn't the "money" part of the exercise...it's the top, so make sure you get that squeeze at the top.

Work the inner pecs with tilted dumbbell bench press

Your bottom shoulder will come up off the bench a bit at the top of the press..the key to try and keep that overall torso tilt in place so you keep that tension on the inner pec area.

Work the inner pecs with tilted dumbbell bench press


If you'd like to get some targeted work on your inner chest, DEFINITELY give this one a try. It'll develop that inner pec "cleavage" very effectively.

It'll target that area strongly, in addition to giving you some excellent core work (the one-arm pressing movement puts torque in the through deep muscles of the core).


Be sure to follow me on in Instragram, where I regularly post exercises like this.

A post shared by Nick Nilsson (@nicknilsson1) on


The Shifting Grip Bench Press is another exercise that targets the inner chest strongly.



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