Here you will find the must do Dumbbell Workout for Chest. Find correct form, benefits and common mistakes of each exercise in the Ultimate Chest Workout Plan.

Men love building bigger chests. A buffed chest is what perfectly fills your shirt and gives you that male model look. No doubt, gym goers train their chest on the first do of the week. It should be no surprise that Monday is called universal chest day.

If you’re new to our website, chances are that you perform only a handful of standard chest exercises. Few variations of bench presses and flyes is what your chest workout session  is limited to. However, there are a plethora of chest exercises which can be performed using dumbbells. 

In this post we talk about the best Dumbbell Workout for Chest which you can include in your personal chest workout plan.

Dumbbell Workout for Chest
Dumbbell Workout for Chest, Photo by Damir Spanic

Dumbbell Workout for Chest : Benefits

It is important that you know the muscles you are planning to train before you actually start working on them. The chest muscles play an important role in moving your arms. It gives support to your shoulder motions. Whether it’s hugging or throwing things, your chest muscles are put to work.

The chest muscles consist of two major muscle groups namely pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.  Pectorlis Major is what forms the bulk of your muscles. Pectoralis minor is located on the upper part of the chest just beneath the pectoralis major.

Another way in which your gym bros may divide the chest muscles in upper, middle and lower chest muscles. No matter whichever way you categorise them, it is important that you target each of the groups to get that big and symmetrical chest.

Also see: Dumbbell Workout for Back

The reason why we recommend using dumbbells to train the chest are-

Reason #1 Dumbbells allow wider range of motion : Using dumbbells will allow your muscles to move to a greater distance as compared to barbells. This will lead to more activation in your chest muscles and increase the chest gains.

Dumbbell Workout for Chest
Dumbbell Workout for Chest, Photo by Gene Jeter

Reason #2 Dumbbell exercises improve stabilization : Dumbbells will lead to better stabilization ability of your muscles. When you hold a barbell, your both hands work to hold it and therefore it’s relatively easier to stabilize it. But in case of dumbbells, the responsibility to hold dumbbells in a stable fashion completely lies on an individual hand.

Reason #3 You can perform the dumbbell chest workout at home : This is the reason why dumbbells are my personal favourite. Even if you are unable to train at your gym, you can easily workout at your home too. You can effectively continue to get those gains if you have a good set of dumbbells at your home.

Reason #4 Variety of exercises can be done using dumbbells alone : Your gym may have dozens of machines to train your chest. But you can efficiently work on your muscles using just a pair of dumbbells. There are far more chest exercises which you can do using a pair of dumbbells in comparison to machines in your gym.

Reason #5 Better isolation and symmetry : Sometimes you may feel that one part of your chest has developed more than the other part. In this case, you need to train your weaker part more than its counterpart. This is where you will especially need the dumbbells to perform your desired chest workout.


Dumbbell Workout for Chest : Exercises

#1. Bench Press

Bench press using the barbell is the most famous exercise to gain bigger chest muscles. No doubt that it finds a place in our list too. This is the one exercise which must be present in your chest schedule.

How to Perform:

  • Lie down on a flat bench on your back with a dumbbell in each hand.  Keep your feet firmly on the ground
  • Keep the dumbbells at the level of your shoulder with elbows slightly tucked in.
  • Press the dumbbells above your chest till your hands are almost straight. Bring the weights down slowly while breathing in.
Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Bench Press
Bench Press
Bench Press
Bench Press

Pro-Tip: In the starting position, hold dumbbells such that your palms face your feet. Also, remember to exhale when you lift the dumbbells and inhale when you bring them down.

Pros:  Dumbbell bench press winds over traditional barbell bench press as it allows a wider range of motion. This leads to more gains. It builds stabilization and control. Bench press is a compound exercise  as it involves other muscles such as shoulders and triceps. So your multiple muscle groups get trained while performing it.

Cons: Even though dumbbell bench press provides more activation, it suffers in a major way that you cannot lift high weights. It is easier to go with a barbell when lifting really heavy weights. This is the reason why the highest weight lifted in a bench press competition is with a barbell and not dumbbells.


#2. Incline Press

Bench press is really good to build over all chest muscles. However, if you get the individual parts of your chest muscles better toned, you must go for its variations. The first one is the inclined bench press.

How to Perform: 

  • Sit on a bench inclined at 45* with a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • Keep the dumbbells at the level of your shoulder with elbows slightly tucked in.
  • Press the dumbbell above your chest till your hands are almost straight. Bring the weights down slowly while breathing in. Repeat the motion to complete your set.
Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Incline Press
Incline Press
Incline Press
Incline Press

Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to include this exercise in your schedule for building a great upper chest. For more workouts regarding upper chest see: Dumbbell workout for upper chest 

Also, remember that you do not completely lock out your elbow joints when pushing the weights upward.

Pros: When compared to bench presses, the incline press lays lower  stress on your joints. This will lower the chances of getting injured.

Cons: Just like dumbbell bench presses, you are limited by the fact that you cannot lift very high weights with dumbbells. However, this doesn;t mean that you will not build muscle. On the contrary, incline dumbbell presses are famous among gym rats. Also, there is no exercise which is both easy to perform and gives good gains for upper chest muscles.


#3. Declined Bench Press

It is similar to above exercises, only a decline bench is used, to target other parts of chest muscles.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on a declined bench  with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keep the dumbbells at the level of your shoulder with elbows slightly tucked in.
  • Press the dumbbell above your chest till your hands are almost straight.
  • Bring the weights down slowly while breathing in. 
Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Decline Press
Decline Press
Decline Press
Decline Press

Pro-Tip: Remember to breathe out when you push dumbbells and breathe in when you bring them down.Do not completely lock your elbow joints or lift your shoulder blades off the bench when you push the weights upwards.

Pros:  It targets your lower chest muscle, which does not get oftenly trained by other exercises.

Cons: Involvement of delts is reduced when compared to other two bench presses. So you don’t get that additional gain.


#4. Dumbbell Flyes

This is another famous workout when it comes to the long list of chest building exercises. Usually chest flyes are used to perform this exercise. However, performing this with dumbbells will give you similar gains. Moerver, you don’t need to wait for this machine to be free.

How to Perform:

  • Lie down on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bring the dumbbells directly above your chest, with arms almost straight. 
  • Bring weights down forming an outwarch arch. Repeat this motion with the use of your pectoral muscles.
Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Fly
Fly
Fly
Fly

Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to keep your elbows slightly bent to avoid the injuries. 

Pros: This exercise works great if you want to focus on the upper part of your pecs.

Cons: Remember not to strain your joints. Overstretching and locking elbows are common mistakes which can increase your chances of injury.


#5. Prone Flyes

This exercise is not that well known among gymers. But it is great especially if you are a beginner and looking for exercise which is  easier to perform.

How to Perform:

  • Hold  a dumbbell in you exah hand
  • Lie face down on an inclined bench. The bench should be inclined at 45*. 
  • Keep your arms straight perpendicular to your chest. 
  • Slightly retract your shoulder blades while moving your hands away from each other while forming an arch.
  • Slowly bring your hand again at the initial position where they are perpendicular to the chest.

Pro-Tip: While moving hands away, imagine as if you were hugging a large body.

Pros: The exercise doesn’t involve any complex movements. Mastering the correct form is relatively easier. I recommend this exercise to the beginners.

Cons: It puts shoulders at a slightly more risk. Do not retract your shoulder blades too much. Avoid doing ego lifting.


#6. Pullover

Pull over is another great exercise which is easy to perform and works great if you are looking for massive gains. A great thing about this exercise is that it targets multiple muscle groups at once.

How to Perform:

  • Hold a dumbbell of appropriate weight using both hands.
  • Lie down on a flat bench on your  back with your feet firmly on ground.
  • Stretch your arms straight so that the dumbbell is directly above your chest. 
  • Start moving your arms backwards till your point of comfort. 
  • Slowly return to the initial position and repeat the motion.
Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Pullover
Pullover
Pullover
Pullover

Pro-Tip: Do not rush in performing the exercise. Keep it nice and slow. Remember to Keep your elbow joints almost locked out.

Pros: Pullover is a beginner friendly exercise. I say so because it is very easy to perform it in the right posture. It is great to increase your muscle gains for the chest and triceps. You can incorporate this exercise either in your chest training or triceps training schedule.

Cons: It is easy to perform so you may go overboard with the amount of weights which you can lift. Do not forget that your elbows are slightly at risk here, so avoid using heavy weights. As I always say, avoid doing ego lifting.


#7. Plate Press Out

This exercise doesn’t even involve the whole dumbbell. Take off the plates of your dumbbell or barbell to perform this exercise.

How to Perform:

  • Stand on the floor with you back straight and chest out.
  • Hold a dumbbell plate between your palms just like a praying position. 
  • Hold the plate firmly while keeping it  close to your chest. 
  • Now continue to squeeze the plate while pushing it away from your chest by extending your arms. 
  • Bring the plates close to your chest again in a similar way. Repeat the exercise in the correct form.

Pro-Tip: Do not just simply hold the plates using your hand.  Remember to squeeze the plates hard!!

Pros: This is a killer workout if you wish to target your inner chest muscles. This the best exercise and the easisin this list to isolate your inner chest muscles. This is also good to improve your stabilizations.

Cons: When you are new to this exercise, you will feel that your hands begin to slightly shake when performing the exercise. You will find that it will become difficult to perform this exercise in a correct posture as the size and weight of plates increases. 


BONUS

There are many variations of exercises above which have different pros and cons. If you get  bored with the above exercises or are looking for bigger challenges go for the variations.

Try performing the different types of  presses(flat, inclined and declined) using a neutral grip. 

To do this greep, keep your palms facing each other as if you are doing a hammer curl. This grip is great for both chest and triceps muscle growth. It will also reduce the risk of injuries to your shoulders.

Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Hammer Grip
Hammer Grip
Hammer Grip
Hammer Grip


Dumbbell Workout for Chest: Ultimate Plan

Below is the best dumbbell chest workout which you can do on your chest day to get those killer gains.

Dumbbell Press

Sets: 2-3, Repetitions:10-15

As we have stated, this the best chest exercise out there. No chest workout plan is complete without bench press in it. This exercise will ensure that your full chest is targeted.

Incline dumbbell press

Sets: 2-3, Repetitions:10-15

Now we are talking about targeting different parts of the chest effectively. Incline dumbbell press in this workout plan will ensure that your upper chest is effectively trained.

Note: You can switch between incline dumbbell press and decline dumbbell press on alternative chest days.

Pushups

Sets: 2-3, Repetitions:10-12

Push Ups need no introduction. No matter whether you are beginner or advanced when it comes to lifting, you can never go wrong with push ups. Try doing different variations of pushups if you start finding traditional push ups simple to perform.

Dumbbell flyes

Sets: 3-4, Repetitions:10-12

Perform the exercise using the instructions discussed above.

Plate press out

Sets:2-3 Repetitions: 10-12

I have included this exercise in the workout plan as it is great to build your inner chest. Use the instructions given above to increase your gains.

You can perform Dumbbell Workout for Chest once or twice a week according to your schedule.