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Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises for Total Pecs Training

    dumbbell chest exercises tutorials

    The first thing that usually comes into our mind regarding chest workout is barbell bench press. However, there are several other efficient dumbbell chest exercises. There are many reasons you should add these sorts of moves into your workout routine.

    • Firstly, doing these types of moves add some extra variation to your routine that is unquestionably beneficial.
    • These exercises need more control. Hence, secondary muscles are worked which are responsible for controlling the motion and keeping the balance.
    • The chest muscles are worked from different angels.
    • We can also concentrate on more on one specific muscle group considering that the full and natural range of the motion is done.

    A disadvantage of doing dumbbell chest exercises is maybe that we can not manage as much weight as with barbell exercises.

    The workouts we can do with dumbbells are almost the same we can do with barbells, but they need more control. Therefore, I recommend for beginners to start with barbell ones and when they feel they are familiar with them; they can move to the these.

    1. Dumbbell bench press

    The common dumbbell chest press works the entire upper body but is particularly beneficial for the chest muscles to build mass. Performing the movement precisely is essential in order work the muscles, so spend time on learning this exercise. You should also focus on the proper breathe. Breath in when you lower the weight, and breathe out when you push it.

    The common dumbbell press is almost done as if you do it with a barbell, so your grips look forward. Another alternative is when you lower your elbow next to yourself, so your grips face opposite to each other. In my opinion, the first version is more useful as it uses the power of the shoulders less.

    You can also do it on an incline or decline position. Incline position will work your upper chest better. I believe, the decline press is the greatest activity to work the outer part of the chest muscles.

    Here is a tutorial.


    2. One-Arm dumbbell press


    This is an excellent unilateral exercise that works not only your pecks but also your core since it has to stabilize your body. Of course, you cannot use heavy weights since performing this move is much harder.

    Sit on the bench with your feet on the ground and place your hand on your hips or if you need more stability catch the board. Get the dumbbell and slowly lower it just above your shoulder. You will feel that it requires your triceps and core to keep your stability.

    3. Dumbbell flyes

    Lying fly is the best exercise to widen your chest, but more importantly it stretches those muscles efficiently.

    The fact is that most of the beginners do this workout incorrectly. They do almost the same movement as if they perform the typical bench press. Once I read somewhere that the proper motion of the lying fly is as if you want to hug a huge trunk of a tree. I followed this suggestion and felt the real power of this exercise.

    You do not need to use huge weights; you should use ones you can manage comfortably. There is a standing version as well called standing chest flys.

    Here is a video how to perform laying fly and how to avoid mistakes.

    4. Dumbbell pullovers

    Somewhere I read that dumbbell pullover is a forgotten exercise. I agree. Not so many people do it although it is beneficial. Most of them do it with barbell which is not bad, but a dumbbell lets us perform the movement more accurately.

    There are two ways you can do it. With or without bent arms. I think, the bent arm version is better for the chest and triceps. The straight arm pullover uses the back muscles as well.


    5. Squeeze press

    It is the another variation of the first exercise. But during the motion you keep the dumbbells next to each other all the way and keep your elbows close to your body. This move shapes your inner pecs and develops the strength of your triceps as well.


    Dumbbell chest exercises without bench

    dumbbell push up

    If you do not have a bench at home, don’t worry since most of the exercises such as the presses and pullover above can be done on the floor. They are not as efficient as if you use a bench because the range of motion is shorter. However, still better than nothing.

    You can also use the dumbbells to make deep push ups which is an  excellent upper body workout.


    Including dumbbell exercises in bodybuilding is always a good idea and it is particularly true for chest training. It is not about managing large weights. Personally, I do bodyweight chest workouts, but sometimes weighted ones as well. I do 4 sets. 2 sets of barbell and 2 sets of dumbbell chest workouts. With a set of adjustable dumbbells and bench you can start having efficient training even at home without going to the gym.

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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