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To create the best shape of the pectoral muscles, the usual bench press on a horizontal bench is not enough. To make the muscles not only voluminous, but also give them a beautiful outline and achieve a symmetrical appearance, you need to use different versions of barbell presses and dumbbells. One of these exercises that allows you to develop the lower part of the pectoral muscles is the head-down press. This exercise is difficult and uncomfortable, so athletes come to it reluctantly. But sooner or later, the head-down press still appears in the list of exercises for working on the pectoral muscles.


Purpose of the exercise

The negative angle press is used in the training process exclusively for the development of the lower part of the pectoral muscles. With this exercise, the athlete can make the lower chest line more defined, which will give a completely different look to the torso. Another, however, secondary effect of the exercise can be considered a decrease in the comfort of the training process, and this makes the training varied, which has a positive effect on progress, because the speed of muscle adaptation decreases. At the same time, such a barbell press connects additional muscles that are not fully involved in the horizontal bench press exercise.
Technique of performing a barbell press lying on an inclined bench head down

The first approach is performed with a minimum weight or with an empty neck.

Taking a position on an inclined bench, you should fix your legs between the rollers.
The grip can be medium or wide.
After removing the neck from the rack, you can start moving down. It should be performed in a concentrated and slow manner. No jerks.
Lowering the bar to the lowest point of the amplitude, the sports equipment smoothly returns to its original position. Please note that at the upper point of the arm amplitude in the elbow joints, you do not need to fully straighten it, as this can lead to injury.
The bar bar is lowered to the level of the lower line of the pectoral muscles.

Press the barbell head down: photo.
When performing a bench press at a negative angle, the head-down position may increase blood pressure.
The technique of performing a dumbbell press on an inclined bench with your head down

This exercise is technically no different from working with a barbell. But it is more difficult to perform it, because the barbell is fixed on the racks, and the dumbbells have to be placed in the starting position independently, lifting them from the floor. In the case of performing the dumbbell press exercise at an angle, the best option is to perform the exercise with the help of a partner who will be able to insure during the movements, as well as serve and pick up the dumbbells. Performing an exercise with a large weight, there is a risk of injury at the moment of lifting from the floor or lowering the dumbbells to the floor.

How to implement it in your training

A negative-angle barbell press is performed at the end of all barbell and dumbbell presses. The best option is to introduce the exercise into the training process before training the triceps. Here is an example of a powerful workout on the pectoral muscles:

Press the barbell at an angle.
Bench press dumbbells.
Press the barbell upside down.
Distribution of dumbbells.
A pullover.
Push-ups on the uneven bars with weights.
French bench press.
Extension of the arms in the upper block of the crossover with the “rope” handle.

Press the barbell at an angle.
Bench press dumbbells.
Press the barbell upside down.
Distribution of dumbbells.
A pullover.
Push-ups on the uneven bars with weights.
French bench press.
Extension of the arms in the upper block.


Each exercise is performed 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions each, not counting the warm-up approach. The warm-up approach can be performed without weights, for example, push-ups on the uneven bars or with an empty bar in the barbell presses. In the exercises pullover and dumbbell layout lying down, the number of repetitions can be increased to 14.

This exercise is perfect as a triset element and, of course, it can be performed with a dropset. However, in this case, you definitely need support and insurance.

In the triset, the head-down press is best placed second.

The following triples can be considered an excellent combination:

Option 1.

Press the bar at an angle of 45 degrees.
Head-down press with a barbell.
Bench press with dumbbells.

Option 2.

Bench press.
Head-down press with dumbbells.
Press with a narrow grip.

Who should not do this exercise

Because of the upside-down position during the exercise, the blood rushes to the head. With high blood pressure, this factor can cause serious consequences such as stroke. Of course, having problems with pressure, going to the gym should be postponed. But even if there is the slightest discomfort when performing a head-down press-the exercise should be abandoned. By the way, compared to other versions of the barbell press, this is considered the most dangerous, since the weight is located, if not directly above the neck, then at such an angle that the neck will be on the neck in any case when falling. If there is an opportunity to perform the exercise in pairs, do not ignore it.

The head-down press is most often used by bodybuilders to better work out the bottom of the chest, but amateur athletes also resort to this exercise. By the way, it is often used to overcome a plateau in progress, when the results in the barbell press or the volume of the pectoral muscles remain in place. Do I need to use the negative angle bench press exercise? Absolutely, yes! The use of this and other exercises in the complex will allow you to develop the chest muscles in the shortest possible time, increase strength indicators and create the best form of muscles. Is this exercise relevant for women? This version of the bench press can be used by women, however, in women’s training, it is best to use a bench press at an angle of 45 degrees. This will be enough, of course, if we are talking about the amateur level.

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