Table of Contents
- 1 #1 Bench Press: An Oldie But A Goodie
- 2 #2 Chest Fly: Time To Take Off
- 3 #3 Band Chest Fly: Ideal For Warming Up and Cooling Down
- 4 #4 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press: Changing The Angles
- 5 #5 Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press: Variety Is Key
- 6 #6 Crush Press: Build Your Pecs
- 7 #7 45-Degree Dumbbell Floor Press: No Extra Equipment Necessary
- 8 Conclusion
Dumbbells…don’t get as much love as they should. Their big brother, the barbell, that’s where the imagination goes when you think of chest muscle exercises, but it’s the not-so-humble dumbbell that has what it takes to build those pecs. That’s why we’re talking about the best home chest workouts with dumbbells; we want more people to know just how incredible these small but powerful pieces of equipment are. So read on to find out more and start using your dumbbells in the right way today.
#1 Bench Press: An Oldie But A Goodie
The bench press might not be the most exciting of exercises, but it certainly ranks way up there in the best home chest workouts with dumbbells listings. We’ve put it at number one because not only is it highly effective (yourworkoutbook.com), but it’s also something that most people – even beginners – can do successfully. If you’re serious about training and enjoying the many benefits that go with it (onelifefitness.com) then don’t skip the bench press, even if you’d rather start with something a little more stimulating.
To bench press effectively and ensure that this exercise is one of the best home chest workouts with dumbbells, you need to place your butt on the bench and put your feet flat on the floor. Engage your core, engage your glutes, and point your shoulder blades down towards the bench; you need to be ready.
The next step is to lift the dumbbells. Hold those handles tightly because dropping one or both now will ruin your concentration (vitacost.com) and potentially cause you some damage too. Next, place your back on the bench, ensuring your elbows are always at 45 degrees, as this will protect your shoulders. Push the weight up while squeezing your chest, then lower, keeping control at all times. Repeat for as many reps as you need (barbend.com).
If you want to change things up a little, try lying on the floor instead of a bench. You won’t need as much equipment, but the strength and muscle should build in the same way. Take a look at this video as an example of what to do:
#2 Chest Fly: Time To Take Off
Something that can prove a little more challenging than the traditional bench press when it comes to the best home chest workouts with dumbbells is the chest fly.
Again, this is something that most people aren’t going to have problems with, and it’s the natural follow-on from the bench press; doing both in one routine is not out of the question, and since the chest fly is so highly regarded among those who know (shape.com), it’s worth adding to your chest exercises.
The idea behind the chest fly is to create tension which in turn builds muscle (mensjournal.com). This is why, despite the name of this particular exercise, the last thing you want to do is move your arms up and down as though you’re flapping your wings; all that’s going to do is hurt. It’s not going to build any muscle; squeezing is the action you’ll need, and because of this, you won’t need to use quite as much weight as you might have thought you would.
Lay back on the bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Squeeze, pressing the weights to a level above your chest – don’t let them touch. Keep your body completely tense. Now slowly move your arms down, but only by moving the shoulders. To stay safe (steelsupplements.com), keep your elbows slightly bent and never, ever, try to lower your arms more than your shoulders will allow. You’ll want to feel a little pressure but no pain. Once you’ve reached your limit, squeeze back up to where you started, and go again.
#3 Band Chest Fly: Ideal For Warming Up and Cooling Down
Once you’ve mastered those first two exercises, it’s time to try something a little different. This is one of the best home chest workouts with dumbbells because it’s something you can do to warm up or cool down; it will get your muscle stretching and your heart racing, just as it’s supposed to. It’s the band chest fly.
As you might have guessed, this particular dumbbell exercise’s general idea is along the same lines as the original chest fly. Still, it has the added challenge of resistance bands (self.com) to make things that little more interesting. As we’ve mentioned above, this could be used as either a warm-up, cool down, or as a dumbbell exercise in its own right; it just depends on your routines and what you find works best for you. That’s the beauty of discovering the best home chest workouts for dumbbells; if you want to work on your chest, you can do it all by yourself in comfort. Or relative comfort; after all, we’re still talking about weight training here.
Back to the band chest fly and how to do it for maximum effect. And it is effective when done right; there’s no doubt about that; otherwise, there would be many exercises that combine the bands and the dumbbells (barbend.com). To begin with, the bands need to be secured to a stable base. Hook the handle of each band over the handle of a dumbbell. Now follow the same procedures as the standard chest fly, only this time you’ll have a lot more resistance when you move your arms.
#4 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press: Changing The Angles
So what exactly does changing the angle on your bench do? How does turning upside down (almost, anyway) make the decline dumbbell bench press one of the best home chest workouts for dumbbells?
The answer, in this case, at least, is that by changing the angle, you’re changing the impact the exercise has on your muscles – and most of all, you’re changing where that impact has most bearing. When it comes to the decline dumbbell bench press, it’s all about the lower chest muscles, also known as the trunk muscles (courses.lumenlearning.com).
To complete the perfect decline bench press with your dumbbells, lie on the bench with your head and shoulders at a lower position than your core. Hook your shins under the leg support to help you – your center of gravity is going to be off as soon as you start lifting the dumbbells (verywellhealth.com). Next, get a good grip on the dumbbells and hold them above your chest – keep your arms nice and straight with your palms facing towards your feet. Ensure the weights are positioned a little outside your shoulder width.
Now you’re ready for the exercise to begin. Lower the dumbbells towards your chest, always keeping your arms straight. Pause for a count of three if you can, and then squeeze back to your starting position. You should feel the tension in your lower chest as you do this, helping you get more motivated about your workout, which scientists have concluded is even more important than anyone initially thought (neurohacker.com).
#5 Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press: Variety Is Key
We’ve just seen how much motivation makes a difference in good results from working out. To ensure that that motivation is kept up, variety should be included in your routines (acefitness.org) which is why the single-arm dumbbell bench press has to be included on this list of the best home chest workouts with dumbbells.
Why is this particular variation better than some of the others that didn’t cut? It’s because when you’re using one arm to lift, the other arm – in fact, the other entire side of your body – has to tense to ensure you’re able to do it. Not only are you building muscle by lifting the dumbbell, but you’re also building muscle through the tension (t-nation.com), making this a doubly effective element to add to any home chest workout with dumbbells.
Start with your right hand. Hold the dumbbell and press it above your chest. Keep going until the arm is completely straight. Then, go back down again, lowering the dumbbell back down to the side of your chest. Take a moment’s pause, then up you go again. Complete all the reps you want to do on the right side before switching over to do the same again on the left. Remember, you must work equally on both sides for the best results (fitness19.com).
#6 Crush Press: Build Your Pecs
The dumbbell crush press might sound like something difficult, even dangerous, to do, but once you understand how it works, you’ll wonder why you never incorporated it into your weight routine before.
It all starts when you lie with your back flat on your bench with a dumbbell in each hand, resting on your chest (for this, you’ll need to use heavy dumbbells (marathon-crossfit.com). Your palms should face each other. When the dumbbells are pressed together across your chest, you’re in the starting position for the crushing press to begin. With the dumbbells remaining together, push them slowly up so that they are at arm’s length. While they are up there, squeeze your chest muscles to create tension. Once you’re ready, reverse the movement, keeping it very slow until you’re back at the starting position. It’s a simple routine, but one can pack a big punch when it comes to your chest muscle-building program.
The crushing press, also known as the squeeze press, is considered one of the best home chest workouts with dumbbells because it can give you a truly defined pectoral area (openfit.com). The closer you have the dumbbells to one another, the more this area is worked. By crushing them together and squeezing so that they remain as one unit when they move up and down, those pecs are truly being tensed and toned.
As you can see, the crushing press, when done correctly, is not dangerous, despite the name. Just make sure you follow all the usual safety requirements before you get started (chicagotribune.com).
#7 45-Degree Dumbbell Floor Press: No Extra Equipment Necessary
The great things about the 45-degree dumbbell floor press, and one of the many reasons we’ve included it in our list of the best home chest workouts with dumbbells, is that you don’t need to invest in any expensive equipment.
As long as you have good dumbbells that are the right weight for what you want to do (setforset.com), you have everything you need to complete this routine and build your chest muscle accordingly.
Lie down on the floor – ensuring it is completely flat – with your back on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and up above your chest, ideally at arm’s length, to increase the stretch and the tension. If it’s easier, start in a sitting position and lie back as you keep your arms straight. Alternatively, you can have someone pass the dumbbells to you once you are lying down. Having a partner to help with workouts like this isn’t essential, but it can certainly be useful (bulk.com).
Once you’re in position, turn your wrists so that your thumbs are facing one another. Now, slowly begin to lower the dumbbells ensuring that you keep your elbows tucked in to your sides as you go down. Once your triceps have reached the floor, push back up until you reach the starting position once more.
This 45-degree dumbbell floor press will work the pecs in a similar way to how the crushing press did, but it offers only a little stretch to the shoulders, meaning that they are an ideal exercise to take part in if you suffer from shoulder pain (hackensackmeridianhealth.org).
So that’s our list of the seven best home chest workouts with dumbbells; what do you think? Are they exercises you already do, or are they brand new ones that you’re keen to try for yourself? The fact that there are so many exercises that use dumbbells shows just how useful they are as a tool to build your chest strength and why we’re excited for them to get the recognition they truly deserve. Whatever you think, let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading.
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