When it comes to chest strengthening, dumbbells are the best compared to barbells. I know many people will disagree, but that is the reality. Men always want to develop their chest and have that good-looking chest that everyone admires. In ladies, glutes are the equivalent of pecs.
Training with dumbbells to strengthen your upper chest is probably one of the best ways to get big muscles because it is easy and less risky. If you have dumbbells, there is no need to hire a spotter or buy new machines to strengthen your chest muscles. Dumbbell workouts are the solution you got.
Strengthening your chest should never be expensive. All you need is an adjustable bench and dumbbells, and you will be on your way to success. In this article, we are going to look at some dumbbell exercises that you can do just about anywhere to strengthen your chest.
Benefits of Strengthening Your Chest Using Dumbbells
There are many types of exercises that you can do using dumbbells, but you need to know what you want to achieve. Anyone who wants to strengthen their chest should know how and when to work with dumbbells. Training with dumbbells has a lot of benefits which include.
● Easy on Joints
Working with dumbbells will allow you to rotate your wrist, which means your joints will not strain during exercise. Parts such as your arms and elbow will be moving freely because you are the one in control. Dumbbell exercises will eventually activate more muscles around your chest area.
● Allows Free Movement
If you love to bench press using a barbell, you may have noticed that your pectoral muscle usually strains a lot when stretching. This happens because the bar tends to hit your chest even before you are ready to stretch out. If your target is to lift the heaviest weight, then you should continue lifting barbells.
For those who want to strengthen their chest muscles, dumbbell training is the best option. Dumbbells will enable you to stretch freely without having to worry about weight. Your pecs will be activated, which means you will start developing new muscle fibers. You will develop more chest muscles when you have free movement.
● Works on Your Pecs
When you bench press two pairs of dumbbells at the same time, you will notice that your chest muscles are contracting upwards and not drifting outwards. The same cannot be said when you are using a steel bar. One study found out that dumbbells will eventually activate your pectoralis major also known as the chest musculature.
● Opens Up Muscular Imbalances
All humans have muscle imbalances whether they are left-handed or right-handed. When you use a barbell, the imbalance tends to concentrate more on your strong side compensating for the other weaker side. I believe you have seen this happen with lifters who push the bar up faster and slower coming down.
When you are using dumbbells, your right side and the left side will stabilize naturally because of the equal forces. You will immediately feel as if the other side is lagging which means you can never push further than you can handle. This means that your chest will become even stronger and well-balanced.
The key benefit of using dumbbells is that you can identify some unilateral deficiencies around your chest and shoulders. A dumbbell press bench is a perfect exercise that will rectify the imbalances around your pectoral, and it is good for both men and women.
● Dumbbells Provide a Neutral Grip
Dumbbells are easy to use because they provide you with a natural grip that allows your elbow and wrist to move freely, unlike when you use the bar. Flexibility is very vital if you want to strengthen your chest muscles. The ability to grip dumbbells firmly in your hand makes the exercise much easier.
● They Are Safer to Use
Dumbbells are safe to use because they give you a chance to tap out easily even if you do not have a spotter. The barbell bench is not easy to drop if the weight is too much to handle. You may end up hurting yourself or even a family member, but with dumbbells, your safety is guaranteed.
● Can Be Done with A Single Arm
When it comes to our lower body, there is no single exercise that can perform a single leg variation but for the upper body, there seems to be a solution. If you want to build your core, you can simply do a single-arm dumbbell bench press to make your chest stronger. Holding a dumbbell with one arm will improve your rotational strength drastically.
Which Are The Best Dumbbells to Purchase
Are you tired of visiting the gym every time you want to build your muscles? Then you should think of having a room for carrying weights in your house. Dumbbells come in different shapes, weights, materials, and sizes, and if you should consider buying them for home use. The three main types of dumbbells include fixed, studio, and adjustable.
Before purchasing dumbbells for home use, you should consider your fitness goals, the price, and the storability of the dumbbells. Everyone has needs and preferences, and when it comes to strengthening your chest muscles, you need to know which dumbbell works for you.
● Fixed Dumbbells
Fixed dumbbells will provide you with consistent weight, and they are firmly secured to the handle. You can either purchase them as a set or individually, and you need to have enough room for storage.
● Adjustable Dumbbells
The best thing about adjustable dumbbells is that you have the luxury of changing the amount of weight you want to lift. There are two types of adjustable dumbbells, and they include the bar and the plates. With adjustable dumbbells, you can simply add and reduce weights depending on your preference.
Modern dumbbells are flexible and easy to lift because you can adjust the weights by clicking and locking less or more weight. They are the best for people who do not have enough storage room and still want to exercise at home.
Studio weights are for those people who want lightweight. They are normally covered with rubber or textured neoprene. The coating on studio weights provides you with a firm grip making them slip-resistant. They are best suited for cardio exercise, and they are cheaper than the other two we have looked at.
Best Chest Exercise to Do With A Dumbbell
Many people who go to the gym think that to build your chest, you should only do pec deck reps and barbell bench press reps alone. That is not very true because anything done using barbells can also be important when using dumbbells. Doing pushups and chest-centric movements will train your chest but will they make it stronger?
There are many muscles in our bodies that we can strengthen when working out in the gym. For example legs, arms and back. But do you know that you can also strengthen your chest muscles? The muscle in our chest is called the pectoralis major, and it is split into three groups.
Those muscles include the sternal part, which is the center chest. The pectoralis part is the lower chest, and the clavicular part is the upper chest. The pectoralis major lies below the pectoralis minor which cannot be targeted by any exercise.
Here we will be looking at some of the best exercises that anyone can perform at home using dumbbells to strengthen your chest. Most of them are moves that you have probably tried at your local gym but are you doing it right? Let us look at some of the chest exercises that you can do using dumbbells starting with the upper, center, and lower chest.
● The Upper Chest
1. The Incline Dumbell Fly Bench Press
Start by setting up your bench by elevating one end on three barbell plates. Lean back gently on your bench and hold two medium dumbbells over your chest, and your hands should face inwards.
Gently lower all the dumbbells on both sides until all the elbows are at 90 degrees angle. This should be done when your shoulders are tightly squeezed on the bench. In case you experience any pain when you are fully stretched, you should reduce the number of reps.
Press the dumbbells back up and repeat the process. Make sure your pecs are contracting when you place your arms straight. This exercise is perfect for building and strengthening your chest muscles, but it can be brutal on your shoulders.
2. The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Start by elevating one part of your bench on a medium-sized box and make sure that it stays at a 30-degree angle or less. Lay your back firmly against the exercise bench with your head on the elevated side, then hold two medium dumbbells firmly above your chest. Make sure they are at arm’s length.
Curve your elbows slowly and start to bring down your dumbbells till you are near both sides of the upper chest. Make sure that your shoulders are firmly held together on the bench. Once you are in the lower position, you should maintain the 45-degree angle at all times to your torso and not straight outwards.
Flex your chest, then start pressing the dumbbells back up and repeat the process over and over. Always make sure that your hips are in a bent position. This exercise is very effective on the upper chest because your whole lower body is not involved in the exercise. It also works on the pec, which is attached to your collarbone.
● The Center Chest
1. Fly Press
Start by leaning back on your bench as you hold both dumbbells above your chest at arm’s length. Make sure the exercise bench is flat and not slopping. This will be the start position and make sure your palms are inward.
Lower your dumbbells slowly to your sides and confirm that your shoulders are sitting well on the bench. Make sure your upper chest is out and the elbows are at 90 degrees angle. Repeat the movement as you go back where you started. This exercise does not require you to use your triceps. It only works on your pecs which increases muscle fiber in the process.
2. Squeeze Press
Lie back flat on the bench as you hold both dumbbells straight above your chest. Your palms should face each other while holding your dumbbells together.
Slowly lower your dumbbells to your chest as you keep them pressed together, then pause. Push the dumbbells back as you return to your initial position. Squeeze press is very effective because it stretches your muscles hard.
● The Lower Chest
1. The Decline Dumbbell Press
Start by elevating one side of your exercise bench supporting it with three bar plates. Lean on the exercise bench with your head on the lower side of the bench. Then you hold two dumbbells over your chest.
Slowly lower the dumbbell until it gets very close to the sides of the chest. Your shoulder plates should be together on the bench. Pause, then stretch back to your initial position.
Lowering your bench works on the pecs as your shoulders remain in the same position. This position provides maximum drive to your lower chest muscles which increases the production of more muscle fibers. This exercise also helps to strengthen your chest.
2. Floor Press Dumbbell Incline
Lie down flat on your floor as you hold the two dumbbells above the chest. Please request your partner to help you with the dumbbells, or you can sit on the floor holding the dumbbells. Make sure you are holding the dumbbells above your chest the same way you as your steering wheel.
Gently bring down all the weights until your elbows are on the sides and your triceps slightly contact the floor. Press the dumbbells to the initial starting position and repeat the movement. The floor bench press will work on the pecs just like the squeeze press position. The difference is the motion distance covered. This position is best for anyone who has shoulder pain.
How to Stretch Before Starting A Dumbbell Chest Exercise
It is always advisable that before you start any dumbbell workout that you should first warm up. Warming up will increase your body temperature and also enables blood to flow to your muscles. Stretching is important because it improves your range of motion. The three best warm-up stretches are arm screw, Rafiki elbow, and the table drill.
● Arm Screw
Start by holding both hands to the sidewall. You will start with one shoulder followed by the other. Shrug one shoulder up, rotate your shoulder forearm and wrist forward, then pull it back down. Repeat the process until you are ready.
● Rafiki Elbows
Stand straight with both elbows on your sides with your forearms held up. Your palms should face forward as if grabbing a bar at your chin height. Start rotating your thumbs until they point behind you. Lower your arms out on both sides, then lock all your elbows. Repeat the movement until you return to your initial position.
● Mobile Table Drill
Sit on the floor with your hands facing the sidewall and your feet flat to the ground. Start by pushing your knees forward, then pulling them back. Repeat this process over and over before you start your dumbbell workout.
Which Are The Best Dumbbell Workouts For Chest?
If you want to strengthen your chest muscles using dumbbells, you should not just go about lifting weights. There are specific workouts that you can perform for your chest, and you can simply use dumbbells. Let us look at some of the best chest workouts that anyone can do. This workout will work even if you are a beginner or a professional lifter.
1. Beginners Dumbbell Workout For Your Chest
Pushups are the best workout for any beginner. That is because it is easy and will not strain you a lot. Start by placing both hands on the ground or any high surface. Make sure that both hands are relatively open than the width of your shoulders.
Repeat the whole process with your legs on the ground. All your arms must lock your entire body from your legs to your head. Ensure that you hold the base firmly and tightly squeeze your buttocks together. Your tailbone should be under, and your pelvis must be horizontal with the floor.
When you have your body and head placed in a firm position, you can gradually start retracting your shoulders simultaneously as you curve your arms. This exercise is best when part of the upper chest has risen above the ground. Push back the dumbbells up as you spread your shoulders to the top. Imagine yourself pressing the floor.
Another good dumbbell chest workout for beginners is the inclined fly bench press. It is very effective when you want to build and strengthen your chest. Start by doing two to three sets. Then followed by 10 to 15 reps.
2. Intermediate Dumbbell Chest Workout
Intermediate chest workout is for those who have been hitting weights for some time. At least six months or more. The steps here will elevate you to the next level, and your chest will be strong. Make sure that you choose dumbbells that will make you rest between sets and reps. For better results, always do this workout twice a week on different days.
The inclined dumbbell bench press is the first workout for anyone who has been lifting dumbbells for some time. This workout is good because it concentrates on the upper chest, and it is very effective if done correctly. Start by doing four to six reps resting between intervals and 4 to 5 sets every day.
The dumbbell floor bench press is the second workout that you can do to strengthen your chest. This workout should be easy for intermediate people, and they must be in two sets. The reps should be between 15 and 20. You can check out how it is done by following the directions provided in this article.
The press fly is another workout perfect for intermediate lifters. It is best for someone who wants to broaden the upper chest, and it is easy to perform. You will start by doing two to three sets followed by 6 to 12 reps daily. After one month of doing this workout, you will notice the difference in your chest.
3. Advanced Chest Workout With Dumbbells
Are you ready to strengthen your chest? It is good to go with the following workouts as they will do you better than harm. These workouts are best for professional or advanced lifters. When performing the exercise at this stage, you need to be very careful not to hurt yourself. Use lighter weights when you start getting tired. Remember to close your session with two to five sets of pushups.
The Squeeze press is the best workout that you can give your chest. It makes you feel energized and rejuvenated once you finish doing your reps. Start by doing 12 to 15 reps in sets of two or three.
The dumbbell bench decline press. This workout should be done with your feet up for better results. Start by performing 2 to 5 reps in sets of 4 to 5. You can do as many reps as you want but ensure that you are doing it correctly.
The hybrid fly press Inclined. This workout might look simple, but it needs a lot of concentration. Start with 6 to 10 reps every day, and you can increase the reps if you want. Just start with 3 to 4 sets.
Mistakes To Avoid
● Never Let Dumbbells Collide
The number one rule of dumbbells is never to let them collide when you are lifting them. When you allow your weights to hit themselves, your stamina will be affected. Even worse, your dumbbells might fall on your chest because of the collision. When dumbbells hit each other, your shoulder can lose its stability.
● Avoid Heavy Dumbbells
If you are still beginning to work out with dumbbells, it is good to avoid heavy dumbbells. Even professional lifters have a breaking point. Lifting heavyweights in a dumbbell bench press can have serious harm to your shoulder. Make sure to limit the range of motion if you feel like the weights are heavy.
● Do Not Hit Dumbbells Too High
Anyone who has ever lifted dumbbells knows that you should never hit the weight very high. Your arms and elbows should have a stretching limit. Overstretching dumbbells will cause you to have joint pains. Overlifts will put more pressure on your shoulders. Always ensure that your shoulders are held back and firm on the bench.
● Not Arching Yourself
When you want to strengthen your chest with dumbbells, you need to arch yourself firmly on the bench or the floor. It seems like an easy thing to do, but many people ignore this rule. The motive of you lifting dumbbells is to get a strong chest. You must always ensure you set yourself first. You can easily develop back pain if you don’t arch yourself properly.
How Can I Safely Pick Up Dumbbells During a Chest Workout?
When it comes to lifting dumbbells, it is always important to highlight the issue of safety. Before you start lifting heavy dumbbells to strengthen your chest, you must know how to pick them up. You should know your starting position and how you will put the weights down on your own.
Barbells have a rack where you can place the bar if you are overwhelmed, but that is not the same with dumbbells. Some dumbbells are light, and you can just throw them or swing them away, but that has a greater risk of injuries. So how can you lift your dumbbell by yourself without causing any injuries?
While sitting on the exercise bench, grab a pair of medium-weight dumbbells and gently place them on your thighs. Make sure you have a firm grip on the weights, and your hands should face each other.
As you slowly lie on your back, push the dumbbells up using your thighs.
Make sure that the dumbbells are above your chest while your feet stay firm on the floor.
Anchor your back and shoulders on the bench firmly and make sure your upper chest is pushed up. Your shoulders should be pulled back, and your buttocks and upper back touching the bench at all times. Once you are done with your reps, you can slowly repeat the steps and place the dumbbells down gently.
Try this Out
Combine this workout with similar another one of these popular exercises:
· Dumbbells Shoulder Press Workout Guide – Tips for Complete Shoulder Exercises
· How To Do Dumbbell Lateral Raise: Detailed Guide
· Best Dumbbell Abs Exercises to Get Back in Shape
· How To Do Dumbbell Lunges- Guide For Beginners
· Dumbbell Shrugs: How-to Tips, Target Muscles, and Benefits
· Dumbbell Deadlift Exercise Guide
· A Guide on How to Perfect Your Bicep Curls
· Dumbbell Fly to Give Your Chest That Strong and Built Look
· How to do an Incline Dumbbell Press?