For athletes who have suffered chest injuries or have a physiological layout that prevents proper activation of the chest during performance of the barbell bench press, the 180-degree twisting dumbbell bench press may present an excellent alternative. A twist at the top of this motion enables one to take advantage of the supine grip, which allows greater activation (when compared to a pronated grip) of the upper portion of the pectoralis major.
In performing this exercise, begin by lying back on a bench holding two dumbbells in a pronated grip position (palms facing forward) over your chest. Begin the eccentric portion of the lift by lowering the dumbbells towards the outer region of the chest. Once the dumbbells reach the outer portion of the chest (or are lowered to a range of motion that is comfortable for you), press and rotate 180 degrees until you are back to the original starting position, this time, however, in a supine grip (pinkies facing inwards). Pinch your shoulder blades back as you perform this exercise so that you can maximize recruitment of muscle fibers in the chest and minimize the amount of deltoid muscle recruitment that takes place.