For decades, the classic barbell has been the staple in any resistance training program, especially for bench pressing and building up the chest muscles. However, dumbbells are becoming increasingly popular for this move as well, since dumbbells allow for a more fluid movement and an efficient peak contraction when utilized correctly. Dumbbell bench presses can also be performed at various angles, with different weights, allowing for variety so you can target different parts of the muscle.
Dumbbell Bench Press Workout
This dumbbell bench press workout for effective chest development comprises of just three moves:
- Straight arm dumbbell pullover
- Dumbbell bench press and/or alternate dumbbell bench press
Per exercise, perform 12 repetition to complete a single set. A small rest of not more than 30-45 seconds can be taken in-between sets, if required. Initially, try to complete a minimum of 4 sets and then move on to a higher number of sets, around 7-8, to create more impact.
1. Straight Arm Dumbbell Pullover
Begin lying down on a flat bench with only your shoulders lying on the surface. Your hips should below the bench, your legs should be bent, and your feet should be placed firmly on the ground.
Grasp the dumbbell with both your hands and make sure to hold it at an arm’s length, straight above your chest. Remember to correctly press the palms of both the hands against the one of the sides of the dumbbell. Consider this as your starting point.
Now, keeping your arms straight, slowly begin to lower the weight forming an arch behind your head. Inhale until you can feel a stretch in the chest. Right at that moment, exhale to bring the dumbbells back to the starting position using the same arch formed while lowering the weight. Next, hold on to the initial position for a second and then go on to repeat it all over again for one rep.
2. Dumbbell Bench Press
Comfortably lie down on a flat or inclined bench with dumbbells in each hand. Raise the dumbbells up one at a time, so you can easily hold them in front of you at shoulder width.
Once at shoulder width, move on to rotate the wrists forward so that the palms of your hands face away from you. In the meantime, make sure the dumbbells are just to the side of the chest, with your elbows at 90 degrees, as you maintain full control. Do not allow your elbows to sink down past the bench. Note: This will be your starting position.
Exhale and use your chest to push the dumbbells upward. Lock your arm (softly) at the top of the lift as you continue to squeeze your chest. Hold this position for a second and then descend down slowly to the starting position for one rep.
3. Alternate Dumbbell Bench Press
Begin in the previous position on the bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand atop your thighs. The palms of hands should be facing each other. Then, just like the previous exercise, push the dumbbells up one at a time in order to hold them at shoulder width.
Once again, after raising the dumbbells to shoulder width, rotate your wrist forward so the palms of the hands face away from you. Let this be your starting position, having a full control of the dumbbells from this point on to the last.
Next, press one dumbbell upward until the arm is fully extended. Hold this position for a second and slowly retract the extended arm to the starting position. Then go on to complete the same movement on the other side and continue to alternate in a similar manner.
Get into a plank position by placing your hands firmly on the ground and directly underneath your shoulders. Remember to keep your back flat and your body neutral.
Lower your chest down to the ground by bending your elbows. Keep your eyes focused in front of you until your chest almost grazes the floor. Don’t let your butt dip down, and keep your body in a straight line from head to toe. Keeping the core engaged, exhale and push back up to the starting point to repeat it all over again.