The diagonal dumbbell press is one of, if not the most effective, exercise to target the upper part of the chest. This move has been an integral part of the bodybuilder's breast routine for decades.
So you're wondering if it's not broke, why fix it?
It's not that this exercise in the upper chest has to be repaired per se, but there's a way to make a good cause even better. In fact, a simple adjustment is enough to turn a good exercise into a muscle-building exercise.
A Small Tweak for Great Results
The dumbbells do not have to be in a perfect parallel position, but if you rotate them so that your palms are slightly more opposite, you will notice that your shoulders and elbows are also setting so that you can further lower the weights each time you repeat. This will give you a deeper stretch in the upper halves of the chest and help to sustain the tension longer.
If you push up again, you will feel an even stronger contraction. If you stop short of lockout and prevent the triceps from taking control, the tension stays where you want it: on the pectoral muscles.
Weighing the Benefits of a Neutral Grip
If you try this yourself you will probably need to be a little lighter than normal. However, your ego will need to suck it because your chest is not familiar with the way you move the dumbbells. If you need less resistance, you can become familiar with the movement.
Once you become familiar with this new grip and become stronger, you will find that your shoulders are not nearly as intense in pressing as they were before the traditional version of this exercise. Together with the breaking off of the lockouts, this makes the neutral grip tendency more of an isolation exercise that allows you to better activate the chest during exercise.
Applying this procedure to your chest exercise program
If you are looking for a chest exercise that is suitable for both warm-up and work sets, try this version of the Dumbbell Press. Start your work sets with a set of 12 reps, followed by 10 reps, 8 reps, and finally 6 reps. Add weight if the reps decrease.
You can also use this exercise if you want to build your strength in flat-bench press or tilting the barbell bench. Use the lowest incline on the adjustable bench and perform 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps with high weight while keeping the shape. The strength you gain from this exercise will translate to the version of the barbell press you want to improve.