Chest Exercises with Dumbbells

Do you think that just a pair of dumbbells is not sufficient for developing a more muscular chest? But let us clear your thoughts. If you are stuck at home or making a gym of your own, you need powerful equipment called “Dumbbells.”

It is beneficial to build strength and mass in your chest. Not only chest, they also target whole body versatility. If you want to work on your chest individually, dumbbells are the best to give you a range of motion. 

Chest exercises using dumbbells build a broad, muscular, and well-defined chest. They also help people looking to lose fat, develop total-body strength, and even level up their cardio.

So, without further ado, let's discuss some of the best chest exercises with dumbbells that boost your chest development and strength of your entire chest.

What Muscles Make Up Your Chest?

Chest muscles are the centerpiece if one wants a fit physique. The first is the dominant and fan-shaped muscle, called the “Pectoralis Major,” located in the upper chest, whose focus is arm functioning, like raising, lowering, and rotating your arm.

This muscle starts from the armpit and stretches to the collarbone, further attached down to both lower sides of the chest area. 

Another essential muscle is the “Pectoralis Minor,” located under the pectoralis major, stabilizing the shoulder blade. The third and last muscle is the serratus anterior, located deep under the sideward surfaces of the rib cage, whose function is to pull your shoulder blades forward.  

Chest muscles are large, and to develop mass in them, you need to bear more weight and burn more calories by performing chest dumbbell exercises.

So, without any further ado, read on to learn more about chest muscles and how to perform exercises to boost your chest muscles properly. 

5 Advantages of Dumbbells Chest Training 

Using dumbbell workouts or the full development of chest muscles can offer many strength outcomes. So, let's know some of the advantages of doing exercises with dumbbells. 

1. High Range of Motion

Dumbbell exercises train you with a greater range of motion, as you can allow your shoulders to do extra movements. It stretches tensions and contracts tension while allowing the scapula to move freely.

It works more of your pectoral muscles during each rep and engages the serratus anterior (muscle important for mobility and shoulder health).

By stretching your press to the max, you can activate the muscle fibers. One can also develop triceps with a dumbbell chest press. 

2. Strengthens Stabilizer Muscles

Holding the dumbbells on each makes some difference in weight for lifting. So, it is important to stabilize them to stabilize surrounding muscles and joints like rotator cuff muscles, pec minor, serratus anterior, and rhomboids. This is to make them more flexible and build better stability. 

3. More Movement Freedom on Joints

Dumbbell allows the shoulder to move freely in a way comfortable to your joints. It will enable your joints to rotate externally or internally with your shoulders or pull the dumbbells lower down or push them up from your body to take stress off. 

4. Dumbbells Work the Pecs Harder

According to a 2017 study, the dumbbell bench and the Smith machine bench press activate the pectoralis major, which makes up your chest muscles by contracting the movement's top to prevent the weights from drifting outward. 

5. Dumbbells Activate Pectoralis Major

According to the National Institutes of Health, dumbbells improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Resistance training improves bone health and density throughout life. Also, it helps to build muscles and reduce the risk of fractures and complications to bone health. 

12 Best Dumbbell Workouts For Chest

So, how do you train your chest muscles with dumbbells? Below are some chest workouts with dumbbells to develop your overall strength and mass, from which you can choose some to practice and follow 2-3 times weekly. Check them out. 

Exercise 1: Dumbbell Chest Press

This workout is very beneficial for developing the effectiveness of the chest as it involves the chest press. Here are the steps to do a dumbbell chest press: 

  • Lie on the bench with your feet on the floor and bend your knees at 90 degrees.
  • Grab the dumbbells in each hand and extend your arms to make your shoulder width apart. 
  • Contract the shoulder blades by making your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
  • Push the dumbbells high above and exhale and inhale while bringing the dumbbells back. 

Exercise 2: Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press

The main focus of this exercise is to power up the muscle isolation rather than achieving overall movement. Twisting the dumbbell bench press allows you to hold back while putting on less weight. Here are the steps to do a twisting dumbbell bench press:

  • Lie on the bench and push the dumbbells high from your chest, then twist your wrist in a way that the last little fingers of each hand are towards each other. 
  • Now, position your arms parallel to the shoulder and bend your elbows. 
  • Then, contract your chest and press the dumbbells.
  • While keeping your chest contracted, position your arms down and turn your wrists in a way that the thumbs of each hand face each other.
  • Hold this position for some seconds and twist your wrists, contract your chest, and press the dumbbells for 1-2 seconds. 

Exercise 3: Incline Dumbbell Press

This chest workout targets the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps and is considered the best dumbbell chest workout. Here are the steps to do an incline dumbbell press: 

  • Sit and lean back on the bench, placing your feet flat. 
  • Grab the dumbbell in each hand, and slightly angle your elbows in a way that they each below your ribs. 
  • Contract your chest, press the dumbbell over your chest, and exhale. Press until they touch each other, and your arms become perpendicular to the floor. 
  • Remain in the same position and move down the dumbbells roughly at a 45-degree angle to your horse when you inhale, keeping your elbows pointed towards the floor. 

Exercise 4: Dumbbell Chest Fly

This exercise is to build strength in the chest and shoulder. Here are the steps to do a dumbbell chest fly: 

  • Lie down on the bench, position your feet on the floor, and grab dumbbells in each hand. 
  • Position your arms above your head and slightly bend your elbow in a way that palms and dumbbells face each other. 
  • Slowly move the dumbbells down, not below your shoulders, and inhale. 
  • Exhale and repeat the same by pushing the dumbbells up. 

Exercise 5: Svend Press

This exercise is to build the middle and inner chest. Here are the steps to do svend press:

  • Stand straight with an engaged core and glutes and good posture.  
  • Vertically grab the dumbbell at your sternum and stack your hand on the handle. 
  • Then, push the dumbbell straight outward with elbows locked and remain in the same position for several seconds and then return to the starting positions, keeping the weight parallel to the floor. 

Exercise 6: Dumbbell Hammer Press

This exercise is best for people with shoulder pain. Doing these exercises reduces stress from your shoulders and elbows. Here are the steps to do a supine dumbbell hammer press:

  • Lie on the bench and hold the dumbbells just like the chest press. 
  • Now, press the two dumbbells into one another to focus on your inner chest. 
  • Hold that position for some seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. 

Exercise 7: Dumbbell Reverse Chest Press

This reverse grip will focus on the upper chest. It is an excellent substitute for a dumbbell chest press if you suffer from acute or chronic shoulder pain lifting weights. Here are the steps to do a dumbbell reverse chest press:

  • Set yourself up like the chest press exercise, but rotate your wrists towards your face.
  • Now, perform the steps of the chest press motion; this way, the upper chest and triceps will develop.

Exercise 8: 45-Degree Dumbbell Floor Press

This exercise focuses on the pecs when they're in a shortened position. This is a good option for people with shoulder pain. Here are the steps to do a 45-degree dumbbell floor press:

  • Lie on the back, grab the dumbbells over the chest 
  • Now, rotate your wrists like holding a steering wheel at 10 and 2 o'clock. 
  • Until the triceps contact the floor, slowly lower the weights and keep your elbows close. 
  • Now, move the weight back to the starting position.

Exercise 9: Feet-Up Slight Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Choose the slight decline press to work your chest muscles. This exercise allows maximum muscle drive with the shoulders in a neutral position.

The decline angle targets the lower chest muscles by recruiting more muscle fibers. It's a safer alternative to flat or incline presses with a heavyweight. Here are the steps to do a feet-up slight decline dumbbell bench press:

  • Lie your head at the lower end of the bench and hold dumbbells at each hand above your chest, followed by placing your feet on the bench. 
  • Slightly bend your elbows, contract your shoulder blades together, and bring the dumbbells close to the sides of your chest. 
  • Hold the position for some seconds and move to the starting position.

Exercise 10: Hyght Dumbbell Fly

For people focusing on chest hypertrophy or interested in bodybuilding, one of the best things you can do is Hyght dumbbell fly. Here are the steps to do hyght dumbbell fly: 

  • Adjust the bench to around 45 degrees and sit on it. 
  • Hold the dumbbells in an upward direction while slightly bending your elbows. 
  • Lift your arms 45 degrees away from the body and contract the muscles in your chest, keeping the position of your elbows and wrists fixed. 
  • Lift yourself from the chest and shoulders. 
  • Position the dumbbells so that they are about to touch one another. 
  • Hold the position, squeeze your pecs, and move to the starting position. 

Exercise 11: Crush Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

This exercise will crush your chest as it deals with the force from both directions, horizontal and vertical, for strengthening muscle contraction and activation. Here are the steps to do a crush grip dumbbell bench press:

  • Lie on the bench and push your chest while holding the dumbbells together. 
  • Now, place your arms parallel to the shoulder and bend your elbows. 
  • Contract your chest, and push the dumbbells against each other.  
  • While holding the crushing grip, move down the dumbbells one inch lower. 
  • Move the dumbbells back to the starting position and squeeze your chest for a few seconds. 

Exercise 12: Dumbbell Pull-Overs

This exercise is more beneficial for the back rather than the chest. However, it strengthens both with its stretches and is similar to dumbbell flys. Here are the steps to do dumbbell pull-overs:

  • Lie on a bench with your feet on the floor, grab dumbbells on each hand, and press your palms against the weight plates. 
  • Push the dumbbell above your head and contract your chest for some seconds.
  • Place your arms in line with your shoulder blades and move down the dumbbell. Hold the position for some seconds and again lift the dumbbell above your head.
  • Compress your chest, hold the position, and put extra stress on your back.


Thus, from the above, we concluded that dumbbells are very beneficial for building your overall body's strength. You can combine dumbbell workouts with body-weight workouts like push-ups and dips to build a strong chest and a fit body. 

Above, we have mentioned some of the best chest workouts with step-by-step instructions from which you can pick some and can add to your daily workout and practice 1-2 times weekly to gain overall strength and build mass in your chest.

Dumbbell exercises offer a great technique to train your chest. With regular exercise, you can achieve a powerful chest. 


  • Is it possible to build a well-defined chest with just dumbbells? 

Ans: Many think that workout machines or barbells are the best equipment to build your chest but dumbbell workouts are enough to build broad and strong chest muscles.

  • Can dumbbells help to lose chest fat?

Ans: Doing a “Dumbbell Pullover” workout can focus on the upper chest and upper back, building muscle and helping burn calories and fat.

  • How much dumbbell weight should I lift for my chest?

Ans: For beginners, a 5kg -10kg dumbbell can build muscle mass. For intermediate to advanced people, 15 kg dumbbells are recommended.

  • How can I build my pecs at home?

Ans: The home chest workouts to build pecs are:

    1. Standard Push-ups.
    2. Decline Push-ups.
    3. Wide Push-ups.
    4. Slightly Easier Push-ups. 
    5. Plyometric Push-ups.
    6. Diamond Push-ups.
    7. Shuffle Push-ups.

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Oliver Nelson

Oliver Nelson is a New York based Health Specialist Writer who completed his graduation from Syracuse University back in 2015. His writings were published in the top Healthcare brands in the United States.

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