Forget Pushups: Build Chest Muscles in Just Five Moves With This Dumbbell Chest Workout

Dumbbell chest workout
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Forget pushups. Build your chest and upper body with this five moves dumbbell chest workout.

If you’ve been tirelessly doing pushups for the chest, it’s time to upgrade your workout. Build a massive chest and upper body faster with this dumbbell workout.

The most classic chest exercise is the pushups. It’s an effective workout that requires nothing but your own body weight.

While convenient and effective, if you’ve been unchangingly performing the exercise, you need a new workout.

That’s because to build muscles and strength, you need to penetrate the target muscles from different angles and with varying moves. Simply targeting a single area repeatedly with one exercise isn’t the fastest road to a bigger chest.

What’s more, you need resistance like dumbbells to allow more challenge to the muscles in the upper body.

This dumbbell workout for your chest and upper body combines 5 moves to cover every muscle from the chest, shoulders, and back.

It allows you to build functional strength while gaining sizes where it matters like your chest and shoulders.

This workout is done in circuit sets, where you perform all five exercises for the prescribed reps. Once you complete one set of all exercises, rest up for a few minutes and you complete the second set.

The Best Dumbbell Chest Workout for Home/ Gym

The Best Dumbbell Chest Workout for Home/ Gym

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30 Best Dumbbell Exercises to Work Every Body Part

This Dumbbell Workout Routine Only Uses Five Exercises To Build Muscle and Strengthen Your Body

1. Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Bench Press

This exercise emphasizes the chest, triceps, and shoulders. If you have a bench, this will help you to achieve a greater range of motion and more muscle activation during this exercise. However, if you don’t have a bench available, lying on the floor works just fine.

How to Perform:

  • Grab one dumbbell in each hand and sit down on your bench.
  • Safely and carefully, transition into lying on your back with the weights on either side of your chest.
  • Keeping your elbows tight, press the weights up towards the ceiling.
  • Slowly, return the weights to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • If you are new to this exercise, you should consider having a spotter with you while you perform the movement.

2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Bench pressing is one of the best ways to strengthen the upper body in general and the chest specifically. 

By modifying the bench press and performing incline presses, you can really target the upper fibers of your pecs and various muscles in your shoulders.

How to Perform:

  • Set the angle on your bench to roughly 40 degrees from parallel.
  • Next, grab two dumbbells and position yourself on the bench, with the weights at your shoulders and your back flat against the bench.
  • Press the weights up toward the ceiling, stopping just before fully locking out your elbow joint.
  • Then, return to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

3. Bridged Floor Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell press is a common exercise that works your chest. But if you are looking to get more out of the dumbbell press, perform it in a bridged position.

This floor position allows you to engage the pecs while also working the glutes and hamstrings. It also activates your abs and core for stability and balance during the movements.

How to perform:

  • Lie on your back face-up on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent.
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells and bring them over to your chest with palms facing each other.
  • Push the glutes up until you form a straight line from the knee to the shoulder.
  • Squeezing the glutes and tightening your abs, press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling.
  • Stay in the bridged position and lower the weights to your chest level.
  • Perform this for 10-15 repetitions.

4. Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover Exercise

This move is great for the lats. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to build up the lats when you can’t perform pullups.

How to Perform:

  • Hold one dumbbell in both hands while lying flat on your back on a bench.
  • Lift the weight over your head, allowing it to fall down toward the ground.
  • Once you feel a stretch in your lats and pecs, reverse the motion and pull the weight back up to above your chest.
  • Repeat this motion for 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

5. Dumbbell Chest Flyes

The dumbbell chest flys primarily target the pecs while also working your arms, back, and shoulders.

It goes beyond one specific area and trains all adjacent muscles for more functional strength.

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying face-up on a flat bench. Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand and bring them over to your chest with palms facing each other.
  • Keep your arms out straight but with a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Engage your abs and core, and lower the dumbbells to your sides until your shoulders are open and reach near the chest level.
  • Your palms should be pointing towards the ceiling at the bottom.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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