In order for you a broad, muscular, well-defined chest, dumbbell chest workouts are a should. Nothing towards barbell lifts, as they absolutely have their place, however dumbbells are extra versatile they usually reign supreme with regards to hypertrophy and sculpting the pecs.

On this article, you will discover out why dumbbells are so nice for chest exercises and study the 15 finest chest workouts that you are able to do with dumbbells. We even have some pattern dumbbell chest exercises for you after we run via the workouts.


Your chest is made up of two muscle mass on either side – the pectoralis main and pectoralis minor. Collectively, they’re referred to as the pecs. 

Pectoralis Main: 

Because the identify “main” suggests, the pec main is the bigger of the 2 pec muscle mass, making up most of the chest.

The big fan shaped-muscle has two heads, the sternocostal head and the calvicular head. 

  • The sternocostal head originates at your sternum and makes up 80% of your pec main’s complete measurement. It’s informally referred to as the “decrease chest”. Its principal duty is to maneuver your arm towards and throughout your chest.
  • The clavicular head originates on the clavicle (collar bone). It’s colloquially referred to as the “higher chest”. Its principal job is to assist flex the humerus (convey your arm up).

As an entire, the pec main acts to adduct and medially rotate the higher arm in addition to draw the shoulder blades ahead and down.

So, any motion that entails bringing the arm up, reaching or urgent ahead, or bringing your arms throughout your physique will activate the pectoralis main. As well as, the pectoralis main performs an vital position in firming and lifting the breasts, making it a vital muscle for ladies to focus on in breast lifting workouts.

Pectoralis Minor:

The pec minor is a small triangular muscle that rests below the pec main, attaching to your ribs and coracoid (which is a small hook-like profusion on the prime of your shoulder blade). 

Whereas the pec minor is situated on the entrance aspect of your physique, as a consequence of its attachment level on the shoulder blade, it controls constructions on the bottom. Its principal operate is to tug down, unfold aside and stabilize the scapula, thus offering stability in your shoulders. 

Serratus Anterior:

The serratus anterior (aka the Boxer’s Muscle) is a big serrated muscle that wraps across the outdoors of your ribs and attaches to the edges of your shoulder blades. 

Though the serratus anterior just isn’t really a part of your chest, it does play a key position throughout pec workouts as its operate is to maneuver the shoulder blades ahead and upward.

Observe: Whereas there are different muscle mass concerned in chest workouts, similar to your triceps and deltoids, immediately we will likely be solely discussing how dumbbell workouts can goal and stimulate the muscle mass we simply went over.

The purpose of explaining the anatomy and features of those muscle mass is that can assist you perceive why quite a lot of workouts is critical for full growth of your chest. The totally different actions and the way in which you place your physique and arms will have an effect on how these muscle mass are activated.


Dumbbells are nice for constructing a powerful, muscular, well-developed chest in addition to bettering posture. They provide distinctive benefits which you can’t get with barbells or body weight workouts and are an excellent instrument to make the most of when focusing on chest fats loss.

Let’s go over the advantages of utilizing dumbbells so you’ll be able to see what we imply.


Barbells are nice for the chest as they will let you elevate essentially the most potential weight. Nevertheless, they aren’t as versatile as dumbbells. The next advantages will clarify why dumbbells are arguably the most effective gear that you should use for coaching chest.

1. Dumbbells permit for a higher vary of movement

With barbells, the bar will contact your chest earlier than your pectoral muscle mass have reached their full vary of movement. Dumbbells will let you decrease previous your chest, stretching your pecs to the max, and thus activating essentially the most potential muscle fibers.

The flexibility to maximise vary of movement when utilizing dumbbells is not only for stretching rigidity, it is usually for contraction rigidity. It is because your arms are free to maneuver internally, not simply up and down. Furthermore, it’s a must to work to stop the dumbbells from drifting aside as you press up. When urgent a straight bar, this isn’t a risk. The motion of stabilizing and conserving the dumbbells in place will produce most rigidity as you contract your chest.

Right here’s a research that reveals a bigger vary of movement ends in higher muscle development.

Observe: The additional you press ahead, the extra your serratus anterior will likely be activated, which is why dumbbells are typically higher for strengthening the serratus anterior too.

2. Balanced Progress & Energy

Whether or not you notice it or not, you may have a stronger aspect that may compensate for the weaker aspect by considerably taking on the motion throughout barbell presses. This isn’t potential with dumbbells clearly as both sides has its personal separate weight. In case your weak aspect lags behind, you’ll instantly discover it. This implies you received’t be capable of proceed a set previous the purpose your weak aspect can deal with. It additionally ensures your type stays on level, because it received’t get all wacky together with your stronger aspect powering many of the motion (like when somebody presses up a barbell with one aspect increased than the opposite and does not even notice it). Ultimately the energy and muscle imbalance will even out.

What’s extra, in case your weaker aspect wants a little bit extra work on a sure set, you’ll be able to all the time do a number of further reps on that aspect.

3. Simpler on the Joints

Dumbbells are extra versatile so you’ll be able to transfer your arms in a manner that’s comfy in your joints. You possibly can rotate your wrists and transfer your elbows and shoulders via a path that feels best for you. Finally, this lets you take stress of your joints and place them on the muscle mass (the place they belong).

4. Strengthens Stabilizer Muscle tissue Higher

Since you are utilizing a separate weight for every hand, stability is a higher issue. Not solely does this activate your major movers otherwise, but it surely additionally works the small stabilizer muscle mass surrounding your joints, similar to your rotator cuff muscle mass, pec minor, serratus anterior, and rhomboids. The top outcome will likely be stronger, extra resilient shoulder and scapula complexes. 

All in all, we’re not saying that barbells, machines and body weight workouts don’t have their place in chest exercises, as they actually do, however one may simply argue that dumbbells are the superior coaching instrument for the chest.

Take a look at this research from 2017 if you would like some science-backed proof. It means that dumbbell presses activate the pec main to a better diploma than barbells and smith machine bench presses as a consequence of each a higher vary of movement and demand of stability. 


Dumbbell Chest Workout routines:

Barbell Chest Workout routines:

Dumbbells require extra stabilizer muscle mass, bettering stability

Barbell workouts present extra stability

Dumbbells permit for unbiased motion, focusing on both sides

Barbell workouts can interact a number of muscle teams

Dumbbells supply a wider vary of movement for higher muscle activation

Barbell workouts have restricted vary of movement

Dumbbells assist tackle muscle imbalances and develop symmetry

Barbell workouts could not tackle imbalances as successfully

Dumbbells scale back stress on joints as a consequence of particular person motion

Barbell workouts will be extra taxing on joints

Dumbbells present extra train variations and choices

Barbell workouts have fewer variations

Dumbbell workouts interact the core for stability

Barbell workouts require much less core activation


We now current to you the final word assortment of 15 chest workouts utilizing dumbbells that may assist you to construct energy, energy, and a well-defined chest. Let’s dive in and rework your higher physique with these efficient DB chest workouts!

1. Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

The dumbbell flat bench press needs to be a staple in everybody’s chest day exercise plan. It’s an efficient, all-around compound dumbbell train that prompts the complete chest (with emphasis on the sternocostal head) and it permits for the heaviest load and biggest vary of movement, all of that are nice for build up spectacular pecs of metal. 

Make sure you preserve the motion balanced by transferring your arms with equal house and velocity. Use a weight which you can management effectively so you may get a deep stretch and full contraction on the prime. Kind is prime precedence. As soon as your vary of movement and management is nice, then you’ll be able to go up in weight. 

2. Deep Push Up

The kettlebell deep push up takes a daily push as much as the following degree by permitting for a higher vary of movement on the eccentric section. Basically, you’ll be able to go deep, maximizing the stretching rigidity in your chest. As for the muscle mass focused, that is an all-around chest train that emphasizes the sternocostal head. Nevertheless, when you alter your foot/physique/hand positioning, you’ll be able to change how the push up hits your pecs. For instance, when you put your toes up on a platform, you’ll be able to goal your higher chest extra or when you convey your fingers nearer collectively, you’ll be able to goal the interior chest extra. 

In the event you expertise ache when going deep into the push up, restrict your vary of movement. Over time you’ll be able to work on rising your vary of movement by getting decrease and decrease. 

Observe: For increased activation of the serratus anterior, use an exaggerated vary of movement on the concentric section by transferring via full scapula protraction.

3. Dumbbell Twisted Fly

The dumbbell fly is a basic accent train for opening up the complete chest, bettering vary of movement, and constructing stable definition of your interior chest. The dumbbell twisted fly is similar actual idea but it surely permits for much more muscle fiber activation. By rotating your arms barely in order that as you attain the highest, your palms are in an underhand grip, you’ll get a stronger contraction. As you decrease again down, you rotate your fingers again in order that they’re going through one another like a conventional dumbbell fly in the course of the stretching section. 

This train will likely be a little bit harder that the normal dumbbell fly. Make sure you use an acceptable weight and preserve your elbows fastened all through and don’t overextend on the shoulder joint. 

Observe: This train will be accomplished from an incline and decline place as effectively. The incline will hit the upper-inner chest extra and the decline for the lower-inner chest.

4. Dumbbell One Arm Chest Press 

The one arm chest press is similar because the flat bench press however you’ll solely be utilizing one dumbbell and focusing on one aspect at a time. By doing this, you might be forcing your self to make use of extra core and hip stability, which is nice for core energy. Furthermore, you should use a good higher vary of movement on the concentric section AND you’ll be able to additional enhance muscle imbalances and motion patterning.

When doing one arm dumbbell presses, deal with conserving your core and hips down and squared straight up. Get a superb stretch every rep and absolutely contract on the prime (even barely exaggerating the vary of movement by transferring the dumbbell up increased and towards your centerline). In case you are utilizing a lightweight dumbbell, it’s alright to protract your shoulder blades as you press up on the prime. 

5. Dumbbell Incline Across the World

The dumbbell all over the world just isn’t a widely known train, but it surely doesn’t imply it’s not efficient. This train is nice for the chest and shoulders, however you must have wholesome shoulders to carry out it because it strikes your shoulder blades via a wide range of movement. 

To start out, sit on the incline bench and maintain the dumbbells at your sides close to your thighs together with your palms up and elbows barely bent. From there, rotate your arms up. When the dumbbells are overhead and almost touching, squeeze your chest and return them again to the beginning place via that very same path of movement, then repeat.

This train will be accomplished utilizing a flat bench too. The incline locations emphasis in your higher chest.

6. Dumbbell Incline Fly

The dumbbell incline fly is nice for constructing the upper-inner space of your chest. Deal with squeezing your chest to lift the dumbbell up somewhat than utilizing simply your arms. Get a deep stretch in case your shoulder mobility permits for it, however there’s no have to go down too low to the place the stress begins to be positioned in your shoulders somewhat than your chest muscle mass. If you cannot get a superb stretch in your chest as a consequence of shoulder mobility, work on bettering your mobility as this train is finest when you may get a full pectoral stretch on the eccentric section.

Observe: You possibly can add a twist on the prime by rotating your arms so your palms face up for much more contraction.

7. Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is a hypertrophy accent train that turned standard within the Arnold-era. It really works each your arms, again and chest on the identical time, extra particularly your higher chest and lats.

The variation of inserting simply your higher again on the bench provides a component of core energy to the train.

Apart from that, it’s a good train for posture and bettering thoughts muscle connection. To make this train efficient in your higher chest, it’s essential to actually deal with that space. Because the dumbbell comes up previous your head, you’ll need to squeeze the heck out of your higher chest. Hold a slight bend in your elbows always. 

Observe: One other variation entails utilizing two gentle weight dumbbells held side-by-side with palms going through up. It will put a little bit extra rigidity on the outer a part of your chest, whereas the only dumbbell pullover places extra emphasis in your upper-middle chest as your fingers are nearer collectively.

We love this versatile transfer a lot, you may additionally see it in our final again and chest exercise!

8. Hyght Dumbbell Fly

That is one other good dumbbell accent train for chest hypertrophy. Nevertheless, you’ll need good motor management to carry out it appropriately and successfully.

It is rather much like a standing low to excessive cable fly, however you can be sitting on a bench in an incline place.

To do that train, put the bench at about 45˚ (which is barely increased than regular for incline flys/presses). Maintain the dumbbells at your sides with an underhand grip and a slight bend in your elbow. Your arms needs to be at a few 45˚ angle away out of your physique. Contract your chest and lift the dumbbells up, conserving your elbows and wrists fastened. Cease when the bells of each dumbbells are nearly to the touch one another, then return slowly again to the beginning place via the identical path of movement. 

9. Dumbbell Standing Low Fly


The dumbbell standing low fly permits you to goal your higher and interior chest. It is rather like a cable pulley low to excessive fly. The dumbbells will likely be held with an underhand grip. Your elbows needs to be barely bent and about 30˚ away out of your physique. Elevate your arms as much as your centerline at about chin degree. Squeeze your chest, slowly decrease again down, and repeat. 


The dumbbell reverse bench press is sort of a common bench press besides you might be holding the dumbbells in reverse (underhand grip) and your arm positioning is a little bit nearer to the physique. 

By merely altering your grip, you might be inserting extra emphasis in your higher chest and you take stress and rigidity off your shoulders. It additionally hits the triceps to a higher diploma than the usual bench press. 

A whole lot of trainers use this train for individuals who have shoulder points and bodybuilders use it as a result of it is vitally efficient at hitting the higher chest and triceps with out the shoulders doing an excessive amount of work.

11. Dumbbell Mendacity Hammer Press

The hammer press is an efficient different to the usual dumbbell bench press for many who need to take a little bit stress off their shoulders. Like the usual bench press, the train locations emphasis on the sternocostal head, however as you maintain the dumbbells in a hammer grip (impartial place), you may get them a little bit nearer collectively on the prime, which permits for a good higher contraction of the interior chest. 

12. Dumbbell Svend Press 

In the event you’ve been within the health club for a while, you’ve most likely seen this train being accomplished with a weight plate however by no means knew the identify. The Svend press is a standing chest train the place you press the burden straight ahead together with your fingers in a prayer-like place. 

When utilizing a dumbbell, you merely maintain it in vertically with each fingers on the deal with. Your arms will likely be at about sternum degree and from there you slowly press ahead till your arms are prolonged then slowly convey it again to your chest. 

Observe: It’s also possible to maintain it by the highest of the bell in case you are utilizing a lightweight hex dumbbell.

The train is easy however it’ll require some good mind-muscle connection to really feel it in your chest somewhat than simply your shoulders. Attempt to preserve your shoulders down by conserving your scapula down and in (downward rotation). If accomplished appropriately, you must really feel it in your pecs properly. Your lower-inner chest and higher chest will get good activation.

13. Dumbbell Squeeze Press (aka Crush Press) 

This can be a variation of the bench press the place you maintain the dumbbells pressed along with a impartial grip (palms going through one another). The dumbbells will likely be stored in touch with one another always in the course of the train, so you can be squeezing them collectively as you press up and down in a straight path at your chest’s centerline. 

This train is nice for full chest activation, however the major goal is your outer, interior, and higher chest.

Make sure you actually squeeze these dumbbells collectively as that is what makes the squeeze press so efficient.

14. Dumbbell Decline Bench Press 

The dumbbell decline bench press targets the decrease a part of your pec main sternocostal head. If you wish to develop a powerful distinction between your chest and abs, it is a nice one.

Don’t use too excessive of a decline. A 30% decline is ok. If you press up, preserve the dumbbells in a path at sternum degree or simply barely beneath your chest.

15. Dumbbell Decline Chest Fly

The final on our finest dumbbell chest train checklist is the decline fly. This train is finished similar to different flys however from a decline place. Just like the decline bench press, solely use a 30% decline and preserve the fly movement at about sternum degree.

Actually squeeze the heck of your chest with this one. It’s going to smash your inner-lower chest effectively if accomplished appropriately. 

As with all flys, preserve your arms locked into place with a slight bend and squeeze your pecs to maneuver the dumbbell up somewhat than simply your arms and decrease down slowly to actually really feel the stretch.


You might be clearly not going to do all 16 dumbbell chest workouts in a single exercise, so right here is how one can create a exercise with the above workouts and the right way to program the remainder transferring ahead.


In case you are doing a physique half break up, you should have a exercise that focuses on simply chest, or perhaps chest and triceps. Assuming you might be doing only a chest exercise with dumbbells, right here is how a superb one can look.

Observe: For dumbbell chest exercises, the primary compound lifts needs to be accomplished every week all through your coaching cycle, however you’ll be able to change up the accent workouts when you’d like. Principally, you need to preserve your heaviest lifts constant and use progressive overload to extend the reps/weight over the course of the coaching cycle so you’ll be able to proceed to construct muscle and energy. The accent lifts are there to maintain your muscle mass guessing and to emphasize them in several methods.

Begin each exercise with a 5-10 minute dynamic heat up to make sure your muscle mass and joints are primed.

Dumbbell Bench Press 3 units x 6-12 reps
Dumbbell Incline Press 3 units x 10-15 reps
Hyght Dumbbell Fly 3 units x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Pullover 3 units x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Deep Push Up 2 units x 10-20 reps
Decline Dumbbell Fly 2 units x 10-15 reps


Right here is an efficient chest, shoulders, and tricep exercise for a push pull legs break up…

Dumbbell Bench Press 3 units x 6-12 reps 
Dumbbell Incline Fly 3 units x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Standing Ought to Press 3 units x 6-12 reps
Dumbbell Reverse Bench Press 3 units x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Elevate 3 units x 10-15 reps
Dumbbell Crush Press 3 units x 8-12 reps


Chest and again exercises are nice because the chest and again are opposing muscle teams. With that, we prefer to superset push workouts with pull workouts. This can be a nice strategy to preserve your exercises environment friendly, efficient, well-balanced, and excessive depth.

Right here is an instance of how a superb chest and again dumbbell exercise may look.

Dumbbell Bench Press x Dumbbell Bent Over Row 3 units x 8-12 reps 
Dumbbell Fly x Dumbbell Reverse Fly 3 units x 10-12 reps
Parallel Dips x Pull ups 3 units x 6-12+ reps
Dumbbell Pullovers 3 units x 8-15 reps

Listed below are some good chest and shoulder stretches for earlier than and after the exercise.