Top 5 Dumbbell Chest Workouts

If you’re going for the ripped chest look, then one of the most effective exercises is a dumbbell workout.  Although, not every workout is equally difficult or effective.  Some workouts may not produce immediate results, while other target specific areas and show great muscle growth.

The following article will include the best and easiest chest exercises in today’s age.  You will simply need a pair of dumbbells and a bench.  You can use smaller weights for these exercises and still see the same results, making this workout great for beginners to advanced lifters.

Bench Presses

Bench Presses are easily the most commonly used dumbbell chest workout and are also very effective at strengthening chest muscles


  1. Lay down flat on the bench and hold one dumbbell in each hand at chest height next to your body.  Keep your palms facing toward your feet.
  2. Push the dumbbells up, straightening your arms but NOT locking your elbows.  Pause for a moment in this position and then slowly bring your arms back down to the starting position.  Note: Exhale while you are pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down to your chest.

If you are a beginner, start with 10 repetitions, taking a short break inbetween each.  Slowly increase the number of reps are your body grows accustomed to the new exercise.  You can easily recognize when your body has gotten used to the movement, as the burning sensation will cease.  At this time, definitely increase reps or try a neutral grip variation of the exercise.  In this version your palms will be facing eachother instead of your feet.

Incline Bench

This type of bench press specifically works the upper pectoral muscles, along with your arms and shoulders.  Bench presses generally work with all sorts of benches but this exercise requires a certain kind in order to perform the exercise properly.

  1. Begin the exercise by holding the dumbbells in a typical bench press manner.  Lay down on the inclined bench with your back snug against it.  Hold onto both dumbbells with your palms facing forward and position them at chest height.
  2. Stretch your arms up, holding the dumbbells above your chest and making sure not to lock your arms.  After pausing, return to the starting position.  Note:  Remember to exhale while pushing the dumbbells away from your body, and inhale when returning to the starting spot.

The neutral grip version of this exercise involves simply switching the position of your palm so that they face each other and are no longer pointing forward.  If you really want to work out your upper abs and lower pectoral muscles you may consider declining the bench instead of inclining it.

Lying Fly

The Lying Fly works on muscles located in the shoulder, upper arms, armpit region, and the side of your chest.  Some people consider this exercise to be even more challenging than a normal bench press, but if done correctly there is no need to worry about difficulty level.  You should use lighter weight dumbbells and work your way up if you are a beginner.

  1. Begin by laying down on the bench, again holding the dumbbells in the typical bench press position above your chest.
  2. Let the weights drop down to the side of your chest, like you are hugging a tree.
  3. Pause for a moment and push your arms out to the side and back up to the starting position.

Also comparable to the bench press, this exercise can be done in an inclined position.  This inclined position targets the side and upper chest region.  The exercise is the same as listed above for the lying fly but simply with an inclined bench.

Straight-Arm Pullover

This straight-arm pullover especially works your pectoral muscles, shoulders, lateral muscles, and even your triceps.  It is the perfect exercise for expanding your rib cage and working your upper body.

  1. For this exercise, lie with your back at the edge of the bench.  You will be using a single dumbbell.  Grab onto it with both hands and extend your arms directly above your chest.
  2. While pushing the dumbbell up your arms should be perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Pause at the top and return to the starting position

Bent-Arm Pullover

The bent-arm pullover utilizes heavy weights, but requires that your elbows remain flexed in order to support the extra pounds.  This exercise, unlike the straight-arm pullover, is definitely for experienced weight lifters and helps to bulk up pectoral muscles.

  1. Again, lie on the bench with your back at the edge and hold onto a dumbbell in each hand.  Flex your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Push your arms away from your body and let the dumbbell continue up and over your head.
  3. Pull the dumbbells back up over your body and return to the starting position.

Reminders and Tips for Dumbbell Chest Workouts

It is extremely important to remember to breathe while doing the previously mentioned exercises and to complete a few warm-up movements.  Beginners also need to use spotters so that they don’t strain themselves while performing the exercises.  Remember to use slow and steady movements to avoid muscle injury.

These exercises are effective and easy if you follow the instructions listed above.  If you feel a burning sensation at first, do not be alarmed.  As your muscles become accustomed to the movement this will fade.  Always remember that results are NOT instant and you will need to repeat these exercises a number of times before seeing a difference or noticing a change in muscle strength.  Don’t try to increase your weight too fast and you should be in for a healthy workout.