Dumbbell Chest Exercises

October 19, 2021 8 min read

dumbbell chest exercises

If you want to strengthen your chest and push your muscles to their limit, you only need a set of dumbbells and the right exercises.

We have rounded up a huge variety of the best dumbbell chest exercises that will help you reach your fitness goals. You will find out exactly how to do them and which muscles they target.

Whether you consider yourself a beginner or advanced weight lifter, you will love our versatile list of chest exercises.

Our exercises include intense chest burners, full-body smashers and combination moves. You will feel the burn in your chest while working the rest of your upper body, lower body, and abs.

Let’s find out how to  build a big chest with dumbbells for a more chiselled upper body.  

Bench Press

dumbbell chest exercises

Lie with your back on a bench and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand out to the sides of your shoulders with your palms facing your feet. This is the starting position.

Squeeze your chest and press the dumbbells up into the air above your chest by extending your arms until they are straight. Bring the weights back down with slow and controlled movements.

To push your muscles even further, lower the weights past your shoulders at the bottom of the move, and bring them closer together at the top.

Muscles Targeted

  • Pecs
  • Arms
  • Shoulders

Squeeze Press/Crush Press

chest exercises with dumbbells

You need two dumbbells and an exercise bench for this middle and inner chest burner. Lie with your back on the bench.

Hold two dumbbells on your chest with your palms facing each other. Squeeze the dumbbells together in the centre of your chest. This is the starting position.

Keep the dumbbells squeezed together as you slowly push them up into the air over your chest until your arms are fully extended.

Pause at the top of the move, and slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position. This is one rep.

To engage your chest, squeeze hard at the top of the move.

Bench presses and normal dumbbell flyes allow the dumbbells to lower past your chest at the bottom of the move. With the squeeze press, on the other hand, the weight is lowered to the chest.

Your pecs contract intensely in a shortened position, making this a challenging inner chest dumbbell workout.

Muscles Targeted

  • Middle chest
  • Inner chest
  • Pecs
  • Arms
  • Core

Dumbbell Push-Ups

dumbbell chest press

Position yourself in a push-up position with your hands resting on dumbbells right under your shoulders. Use hex rubber dumbbells for better stability.

Keep your abs tight as you bend your arms to lower your chest toward the floor. Push yourself back up. This is one rep.

The dumbbell variation of the classic push-up is more challenging because it allows you to lower your chest closer to the floor and increases your range of motion.

Muscles Targeted: 

  • Middle chest
  • Shoulders
  • Core
  • Arms

Dumbbell Pullover

dumbbell chest workout

This simple move works well with lighter weights, making it a great  chest workout with dumbbells for women and beginners who want to tone their abs.

Lie down perpendicular on a bench. The bench should be supporting your shoulders and your head should be hanging over the bench.

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Make sure to keep your hips a bit lower than your shoulders.

Hold a single dumbbell over your chest with your elbows bent. Lower the dumbbell backwards over your head. Lower the dumbbell until it is in line with your body and parallel to the floor.

Hold the dumbbell there for a moment before slowly bringing it over to the starting position again. This is one rep.

Those looking for more intenselower chest dumbbell exercises can do pullovers with two dumbbells.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Lats

Inclined Batwing Fly

chest workout with dumbbells

For this upper chest smasher, you need two dumbbells and an incline bench.

Sit on the incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights at your pecs like you would before a dumbbell bench press. Your palms should face your feet. This is the starting position.

Keep your upper arms in the same position as you extend your elbows to straighten your arms out to the side. Keep your palms facing your feet.

At the top of the move, you should pause before returning to the starting position with slow and controlled movements. This is one rep.

Throughout the exercise, you should maintain a strong chest, contracted abs, and a natural arc in your lower back.

Muscles Targeted:

  • Pecs
  • Biceps
  • Lower arms
  • Core

Dumbbell Renegade Row to Push-Up Combination

chest dumbbell workout

Get into a plank position with your hands supported by dumbbells. Your hands should be under your shoulders, your abs engaged, and your body in a straight line. Hex rubber dumbbells are best used for more stability.

Bend one elbow and draw the dumbbell up and into your ribs, before lowering it back down and placing it on the floor. Use slow and controlled movements.

Repeat the renegade row with your other arm. After completing the renegade row, do a push-up with your hands still resting on the dumbbell.

Repeat this renegade row and push-up sequence.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Pecs
  • Upper back
  • Arms

Single Arm Dumbbell Hang Snatch

This dynamic move not only challenges your chest but your entire body. Keep your back straight and your core engaged during the whole move.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Let the dumbbell hang down straight in front of you.

Lower the weight closer to the floor between your legs by pushing your hips down while keeping your back upright.

Now snatch the weight upwards in an explosive motion by extending your hips. Snatch the weight and catch overhead when your arm is extended.

Lower the weight back down to the starting position with slow and controlled movements. This is one rep.

Muscles Targeted 

  • Chest
  • Core
  • Legs
  • Arms

Dumbbell Row to Push-Up Combination

This effective and versatile exercise combines dumbbell rows and normal push-up to get the most out of your chest, core, and back.

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Let the dumbbells hang at your sides.

Bend your knees slightly and rotate your hips to lean forward so that your chest moves closer to your thighs. Keep your spine and neck in a straight line as the dumbbells hang down naturally. This is the starting position.

Perform a dumbbell row by pulling the dumbbells upward until they are in line with your chest.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull the dumbbells up. At the top of the move, your elbows should be bent 90 degrees.

Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position This is one dumbbell row. Perform about 5 or more dumbbell rows.

After completing the dumbbell rows, place the dumbbells on the floor. Now perform 5 or more normal push-ups with your hands resting on the dumbbells under your shoulders.

One set of dumbbell rows and one set of push-ups are one rep of this combination move. This exercise can be done with medium-weight dumbbells.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Core

Arnold Press

dumbbell exercises for chest

Advanced weightlifters can use heavier dumbbells to make this move more effective.

Lie on your back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the dumbbells in the air directly overhead with your arms extended. Your palms should be facing your feet. This is the starting position.

Lower the weights back down towards your chest and rotate your wrists as you do this. When the dumbbells reach the bottom of the move your palms should be facing your face. This is one rep.

To get the most out of the Arnold press, slow down your movements and squeeze your chest.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Deltoids
  • Forearms

Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

This bench press variation focuses on one arm at a time to challenge your core in a new way.

Lie on your back on the bench with a dumbbell in one hand. Press the dumbbell up into the air directly above your chest until your arm is extended.

Slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position. Complete all the reps for one arm before alternating arms.

The secret is to keep your core fully engaged and to press the dumbbell upward from your chest.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Abs
  • Arms

Dumbbell Svend Press

chest workouts with dumbbells

This is one of thestanding dumbbell chest exercises that can target and push the pectoral muscles to the limit.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a single dumbbell in front of your chest with the palms of both hands.

Your elbows should be bent and your arms parallel to the floor as you squeeze the weight. This is the starting position.

In the starting position, you should stand with your shoulders back and your chest sticking out.

Continue squeezing the weight as you extend your arms to push the weight out in front of you. Keep your arms parallel to the floor. Hold it there for a moment before slowly pulling the plate back toward your chest.

This is one rep.

Muscles Targeted

  • Pecs
  • Upper chest
  • Arms

Dumbbell Floor Press

chest exercises at home with dumbbells

Lie on your back on the floor while holding two dumbbells at chest height with your elbows out to your sides. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.

Squeeze your chest and press the dumbbells upward until your elbows are extended. Do not let the dumbbells touch at the top of the move.

Slowly bring the weights down to the starting position. This is one rep.

Muscles Targeted 

  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Shoulders

Bridged Floor Press

Lie with your back on an exercise mat or the floor. Get into a bridge position: bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground as you raise your hips.

Keep a straight line from your knees to your shoulders in the bridge position by engaging your core, hamstrings, and glutes. Keep this bridge position throughout the entire exercise.

Hold two dumbbells over your chest with your palms facing your feet. Push the dumbbells upward until your arms are straight and the weights are above your chest in the air.

Lower the weights back down slowly and repeat the move.

Squeeze your glutes and use your legs to support you as you press the dumbbell upwards.

Muscles Targeted

  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings

Dumbbell Bench Press on Slight Incline

home chest workout with dumbbells

When you perform a bench press on a slight incline you can use your legs to drive the weights upward. This allows you to opt for heavier weights.

Elevate one end of an exercise bench at an angle of about 30 degrees. Lie with your back on the bench, with your head on the elevated side. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand to the sides of your chest. Your elbows do not have to be straight out to your sides. A 45-degree angle between your elbows and torso is preferable. This is the starting position.

Squeeze your chest and core as you push the dumbbells up into the air by extending your arms. The dumbbells should be above your chest.

Release the dumbbells back down to the starting position with slow and controlled movements. This is one rep.

Muscles Targeted: 

  • Chest, arms, core, legs
  • Arms
  • Core
  • Legs

Dumbbell Fly-Press on Slight Incline

Elevate one end of an exercise bench and lie on your back with your head on the elevated end.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended. The dumbbells should be in the air above your chest, with your palms facing each other. This is the starting position.

With slow and controlled movements, lower the weights directly out to your sides. Bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower the dumbbells.

At the bottom of the move, your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and your arms should be directly next to your sides.

Press the dumbbells up again to the starting position by squeezing your chest and contracting your abs. if you squeeze your pecs, it will take the strain from the shoulder joints.

Muscles Targeted

  • Upper chest
  • Arms
  • Shoulders
  • Abs

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