Health

This Incline Press Variation Forces You to Focus to Build More Muscle

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The dumbbell incline press is one of the best exercises to pack on strength and size to your upper chest, and you’ll build even more muscle if you’re able to do two things: use heavy weights and ratchet up your time under tension (essentially, how long your muscles are challenged during working reps). This variation of the move from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., allows you to do both.

The eccentric overload incline press drop set uses a classic muscle-building protocol, the drop set, to push you beyond the limit you’d reach if you only used a standard rep scheme structure. You’ll also help to amplify the effectiveness of the movement by focusing on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the exercise during the drop set.

“Understand what happened during those 3 to 4 ultra-eccentric reps,” says Samuel. “You wound up piling up 12 to 16 seconds of time under tension additional on each arm just working that negative.”

And for those looking for a little extra oomph, the shift to a unilateral position in the latter half of the move will introduce an anti-rotational component that will challenge your core to keep yourself in the proper position on the bench. All that spells big chest gains.

You’ll need an incline bench (of course) and a pair of heavy weights to put the move into practice.

How to Do the Eccentric Overload Incline Press Drop Set

●Set up for a round of standard incline press reps, using a pair of dumbbells heavy enough that you can manage only 6 to 8 reps with good form.

●Press the weight up for those 6 to 8 reps, or until your form starts to flag (if you can perform more than 8 reps, that’s your sign to grab a heavier set of dumbbells).

●Put one of the dumbbells aside. Use both hands (and momentum from your knee, if needed) to raise the other dumbbell into the press position. Squeeze your core and extend your non-working arm out to the side for balance.

●Lower the weight down slowly, for 3 to 4 seconds.

●Use the other hand to press the weight back up into position before the next rep. Repeat for 3 to 4 reps.

●Switch arms to complete 1 round. Repeat for 3 to 4 total rounds, alternating which arm you start on for the eccentrics each time.

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