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Chest Workout With Dumbbells [Quick Guide]



Chest Workout With Dumbells

Chest Workout With Dumbbells: To build a big chest, bench-press as much as feasible. Dumbbells are the answer if benching troubles your shoulders, you workout at home without a spotter, or barbell training doesn’t work. Read to know more about dumble chests exercises.

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Dumbbell chest exercises

Chest Workout With Dumbells

Dumbbell training may not be as seductive as loading up the bar till it bends, but it’s a better way to build larger, stronger pecs with less injury risk.

How Does Dumbbell Chest Exercise Help?

Dr. John Rusin, a strength and conditioning coach and author of Functional Hypertrophy Training, believes it’s harder to maintain two weights (available at

Smaller muscles in your shoulder joints learn to stabilize them, while the pecs work harder to manage the weights, keeping them from straying. Dumbbells help chest gains.


1. Dumbbells enable more movement

Barbell bench presses strike your chest before your pecs fully extend. If you want to push the most weight, that’s OK.

Using dumbbells allows you to drop the weights beyond chest level, extending the pecs and stimulating additional muscle fibers. Larger ranges of motion lead to increased muscle development, according to a research.

2. Dumbbells reduce joint tension

People seem symmetrical. Shoulders, hips, and wrists are asymmetrical. When you force the body to move symmetrically, such when you drop an evenly-weighted bar on your chest, one side takes on more stress. Those joints will eventually complain.

Dumbbells let you train on both sides of your body. Your wrists may rotate, and your elbows and shoulders can move in any direction, tailoring the workout to your body. This puts stress on your muscles, not your joints.

3. Dumbbells build balanced strength

This continues from before. Humans are skilled at adjusting, putting more stress on their stronger side and favoring their weaker one. With dumbbells, both sides must steady and press with equal power, and if one lags behind, you feel it instantly.


This guarantees that your weaker side is never overworked. Your two sides’ power balances out. Dumbbells make it easy to complete more repetitions to strengthen the weaker side.

4. Dumbbells strengthen pecs

Bench-press a pair of dumbbells and you’ll feel the chest muscles contracting to keep the weights from slipping outward. When your hands are joined by a steel bar, you needn’t worry.

A 2017 research demonstrated that dumbbell bench presses engage the pectoralis major more than barbell and Smith machine bench presses.

Should I buy dumbbells?

If you’re ready to establish a home gym, dumbbells should be one of your first purchases. Two dumbbells are available:

1. Adjustable weights: Collars or a dial or lever hold plates in place.


2. Fixed dumbbells: Handle-mounted weight. You’ll need many dumbbell sets to cover weight increases.

Fixed-weight dumbbells are cheap, indestructible, and old-school, but they’re not practical.

If you workout at home, you’ll need at least three pairs plus additional ones as you become stronger. You’ll trip over dumbbells and wonder why you didn’t get adjustable ones.

CAP Barbell Rubber-Coated Hex Dumbbells feel excellent in your hands and won’t nick your flooring if you drop them. A pair of 10-pounders costs $25, two 25-pounders cost $60, and 45s cost $110.

Cost- and space-saving adjustable dumbbells. With practice, PowerBlocks are easy to use. Selectorized dumbbells feature square plates with handles that can be quickly loaded and unloaded. Try the handgrips before buying.


Bowflex Selectech Dumbbells range from 5 to 52 pounds in 2.5-pound increments. They’re roughly as expensive as PowerBlocks, but they’re simpler to use and feel nicer in your hands.

For a true strongman feel, you can’t beat York Fitness Cast Iron Dumbbells. Load and unload plates via spinning collars on threaded bars. Not as useful as other adjustable options, but $120.00 for a 5-to-45-pound set.

Sometimes you need adjustable and fixed dumbbells. Most selectorized systems weigh up to 50 pounds; those heavier are long, thick, and difficult to use. Selectorized sets up to 50 pounds and fixed-weight dumbbells beyond that save space and money.

Which Chest Exercises Can Be Performed Using Dumbbells?

Any barbell chest motion is possible with dumbbells. Here are our favorites from Rusin—many traditional techniques with a smart tweak that yields even larger rewards. We grouped them by chest area.

A. Upper Chest

1. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
  • Raise one end of a flat workout bench on barbell plates, a box, or step. 30 degrees or less is optimal.
  • Lie back on the bench, head lifted, holding two dumbbells over your chest.
  • Bend your elbows, draw your shoulder blades together, and drop the dumbbells to your chest. In the down position, keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body.
  • Pause in the stretched posture, then press the dumbbells up while flexing.

Rusin says inclines bend the hips. This eliminates your lower body, which isn’t wanted. Raising the bench adds leg propulsion like a flat barbell bench press. This full-body exercise lets you lift more.

The incline strengthens clavicle-attached pec fibers.

2. Fly-Press Incline
  • Raise one end of a flat bench with barbell plates (the same as you did for incline press described above).
  • Lie back on the bench with your head at the raised end and grasp two medium-heavy dumbbells over your chest.
  • Slowly drop the dumbbells to the sides, bending your elbows and pushing your shoulder blades together until your chest is extended and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Reverse the action by squeezing your pecs and straightening your arms to the beginning position.

Standard flyes increase muscle but hurt the shoulders. Rusin says bending the arms while lowering the weights keeps the load on the pecs and off the shoulders.

B. Middle & Inner-Chest

1. Press Crush (aka Squeeze Press)
  • Lie back on a flat exercise bench with your palms facing one another.
  • Press weights to the chest (this is your starting position).
  • Slowly lift the dumbbells to arm’s length across your chest in the third step. Squeeze your chest muscles.
  • Slowly reverse the movement to return to step 1.

Crush pushes squeezing pecs. Flyes and dumbbell presses stretch muscles. By compressing at the top, crush presses simulate cable crossovers.

2. Fly-Press
  • Lie back on an exercise bench with two dumbbells over your chest. Start here.
  • Slowly drop the dumbbells to the sides, bending your elbows and pushing your shoulder blades together, until your chest is stretched and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Reverse the action by squeezing your pecs and straightening your arms to the beginning position.

Flyes isolate the pecs by isolating the triceps and exercising them most in the fully extended posture.

C. Lower Chest

1. Floor Press 45-Degree Dumbbell
  • Lie on your back with two dumbbells across your chest. You may lay back while holding dumbbells or have a partner give them to you.
  • Rotate your wrists so your thumbs are closer than your pinkies (as if grasping a steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock). Start here.
  • Slowly decrease the weights until your triceps just touch the floor.
  • Reset the weights.

The floor press works the shorter pecs like the crush press. Because the range of motion is limited, they’re ideal for shoulder discomfort sufferers.

2. Feet-up, slight-inclined dumbbell bench press
  • Raise one end of a flat bench with barbell plates.
  • Lie back on the bench and grip two heavy dumbbells over your chest. Put your feet down.
  • Bend your elbows, draw your shoulder blades together, and drop the dumbbells to your chest.
  • Pause in the stretched posture, then return to the beginning position.

The modest descent works pecs with neutral shoulders. This balanced posture maximizes muscular drive, while the declining angle recruits more sternum-attached fibers (targeting the lower chest). Want to chest-up? This. Heavy flat or incline presses are riskier.

Stretching before a dumbbell chest workout

Warm up your chest, shoulders, and elbows with these Onnit movements. Cristian Plascencia shows Raffiki elbow, arm screw, and mobile table drills.

Best dumbbell chest workout?

Try one of these chest routines to increase pressing strength and size. Each has a different aim and skill level.