10 Best Chest Workout With Dumbbells at Home or Gym

If you are looking for the best chest workout at home with dumbbells, then you are in the right place.

Here we discuss the best chest workout that you can do at home or at the gym with the help of dumbbells to build muscle mass and strength. However, for a workout setup at home, only an adjustable bench and dumbbells are required.

Using dumbbells to train your chest is easier on your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joint because they give you more freedom to move.

Dumbbells can be used by beginners and advanced lifters to build a strong foundation of strength.

To effectively train the chest, we will understand the following:

  • The chest anatomy
  • How-to effectively train with dumbbells
  • Best Chest dumbbell exercises and pro-tips
Table of Contents

Know More About Chest Muscles

The muscles of the chest consist of the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

The pectoral major may conversationally be referred to as “pecs”, “pectoral muscle” or “chest muscle” due to it being the largest and most superficial muscle in the chest area.

Cable fly Muscle Worked

Pectoralis major

The pectoralis major is the most superficial muscle in the pectoral region.

The pectoralis major itself comprises two heads, each of which may be worked differently depending on the angle of adduction:

  • An upward angle of movement emphasizes the upper, or clavicular head,
  • While a lower angle emphasizes the lower, or sternal head of the muscle.

The function of the pectoralis major is 3-fold and dependent on which heads of muscles are involved.

  • Flexion, adduction and medial rotation of the arm at the glenohumeral joint
  • Clavicular head causes flexion of the extended arm
  • Sternoclavicular head causes extension of the flexed arm

Pectoralis minor

It is the triangle-shaped muscle located under the pectoralis major, a layer deeper, and draws the shoulder blades down and forward.

Compound and Isolation Dumbbell Chest Exercises

To get a bigger chest with dumbbells, you can perform a variety of exercises that target the different parts of the chest.

Weight training with dumbbells can be beneficial for achieving hypertrophy and putting an increased impact on the specific muscle group.

The best way to build up some serious mass and get a full, dense chest is by doing dumbbell exercises.

There are two basic kinds of dumbbell chest workout, compound exercises and Isolation.

Compound Exercises

Compound exercises involve working multiple muscle groups at once.

The dumbbell chest press, dumbbell push ups is an example of a compound exercise that works the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Isolation exercises

Isolation exercises, on the other hand, focus on working a specific muscle group in isolation.

The dumbbell chest fly is an example of an isolation exercise that targets the chest muscles exclusively.

These exercises are great for targeting weak or lagging muscle groups, and for building muscle definition and separation.

Benefits of Using Dumbbells For Chest Exercises

There are many benefits of doing a chest workout using dumbbells. Dumbbell training offers the following benefits for chest gains.

  • Dumbbells require more balance than barbells or machines that can lead to greater muscle fiber recruitment.
  • It requires more muscular control than barbells, enhancing kinesthetic awareness.
  • Dumbbells chest workout allows unilateral training (training one limb at a time), which helps to correct any muscle imbalances or weaknesses.
  • Chest workout with dumbbells allows for greater joint safety and stabilization and allows the joints to move naturally within their range of motion.
  • It affords a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout.
  • Dumbbell variations allow for a greater range of movement (ROM), which leads to an increased number of muscle fibers recruited.
  • Using dumbbells for chest exercises can help to increase strength, improve muscular endurance, and promote muscle growth over time.
  • Chest workout with dumbbells are perfect for the at-home exerciser with the limited space.
  • Dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion and more natural movement, which can help to target the chest muscles more

What Chest Exercises Can I Do With Dumbbells?

Sufficient size and strength will contribute to greater strength to lift heavyweights. To achieve this requires training with a variety of exercises.

Any chest move that you can do with a barbell can replicate with dumbbells. Here are our favorites—many of them classic moves you’re probably already familiar with, but with a clever twist that elicits even greater gains.

Here are the 10 Best Dumbbell Only Chest Exercises to build a massive and well-shaped chest:

1. Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press is a classic exercise that targets your chest muscles, as well as your triceps and shoulders

The Barbell Bench Press does not have a full range of motion, which the dumbbell bench press can overcome.  

The dumbbell bench Press adds the extra range of motion at the top for a complete Chest development. Moreover, Dumbbells demand better coordination, forcing the stabilizing muscles to assist as well.

Dumbbell Bench Press

How To Do Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Lie flat on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing forward.
  3. Slowly extend your arms and push the dumbbells straight up above your chest, while exhaling.
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  5. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back down towards your chest, while inhaling.
  6. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


  • Don’t allow the dumbbells to collide at the top of each rep – bouncing them together may cause you to lose stability within the shoulder and injure yourself.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.

 2. Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell chest press is an upper body workout that engages the upper pec muscles, the triceps, and the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

The angle of the adjustable bench in this variation puts more tension on your upper chest muscles than a flat bench press would.

Just like the Incline bench press, the Incline dumbbell press works mostly on the upper pecs, but dumbbells allow full range of motion, and therefore, in some ways better than the bench press.

Incline Dumbbell Press

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Press

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lie on an incline bench (30 degree inclined).
  2. Clean the dumbbells and lift them straight overhead. Feel a good chest squeeze at the top.
  3. Lower the dumbbells and feel a good chest muscle stretch at the bottom.
  4. Repeat the desired number of reps and sets.


  • Perform press in a controlled manner.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  • Set the bench at about 30–45 degrees inclined. Do not go more upright as the stress shifts more to the shoulders rather than the chest area.
Read More: Upper Chest Dumbbell Exercises For Building A Broad, Strong Pecs

3. Decline Dumbbell Press

The decline dumbbell bench press is an excellent exercise to work your lower chest muscles. It also works the tricep and anterior deltoids.

As the name suggests, you have to use a bench at a declined angle to perform the bench presses.

The angle of the adjustable bench in this variation puts more tension on your lower chest muscles than a flat bench press would.

By using dumbbells during a decline bench press, you allow yourself a greater range of motion during the exercise.

Decline Dumbbell Press

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Press

  1. Adjust the decline bench press angle to 15–30 degrees. And then lie on your back with your face upward.
  2. Grab the dumbbell in each hand. The grip should be slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. 
  3. Hold the weights above you at shoulder height.
  4. Now extend the weights to the top overhead, feeling a good chest muscle contraction.
  5. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position and feel a good stretch in your lower pecs.
  6. Repeat the desired number of reps.


  • Make sure you breathe out when you push the weights up and breathe in when you bring them down to your chest.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  • Make sure that the weights don’t collide with each other at the top of each rep.
  • Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to excessive arch.
Know More: Lower Chest Dumbbell Exercises To Build Muscle & Definition

4. Dumbbell fly

The dumbbell fly is an isolation exercise that is usually performed after big compound lifts like the bench press and incline press.

It is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after many pressing exercises.

The dumbbell fly doesn’t require much equipment to perform. You can do dumbbell flyes while lying on the floor if you don’t have a bench.

The dumbbell fly is often thought of as a classic body-building movement, as the goal of the exercise is to isolate the chest for aesthetic purposes.

Dumbbell fly

How To Do Dumbbell fly

  1. Lie on the flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.


  • Don’t let your elbows drop too far when you’re in the start position, they should remain in line with your torso when you’re lying on the bench.
  • Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.
  • Make sure you keep your elbows bent.

5. Incline Dumbbell Fly

The Incline dumbbell fly exercises are the best exercise that can help to train the chest at various angles and strengthen the upper chest and shoulders.

Having a well-developed upper chest contributes to the fullness of the upper body and has functional benefits.

Incline Dumbbell Fly

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Fly

  1. Set an incline bench at a 30-to 45-degree angle. Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above.
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.


  • Set the bench at about 30–45 degrees inclined, don’t go beyond that, as the stress shifts more to the shoulders.
  • Maintain control, with a 4-second descent, slight pause and contract with a reverse motion, hold and repeat.
  • Pick a weight that you can control, that’s not too light or too heavy
Read More: Incline Fly: Muscle Worked, Benefits, Alternate

6. Decline Dumbbell Fly

The decline dumbbell chest fly is a type of strength training exercise that targets the chest, mainly the lower pec muscles.

It is performed on a decline bench, which is set at a downward slope of around 30 to 45 degrees.

The lower chest is one of the harder areas to train because of the lack of variations available and the limited range of motion.

That’s why it’s so important to incorporate these best dumbbell decline fly exercises into your chest workout routine.

Decline Dumbbell Fly

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Fly

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back on a declined bench. Hook your feet into the foot pads or rollers.
  2. Extend the dumbbells above your chest. Turn the palms to face each other and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above.
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your lower pec muscles to draw them back together.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled.
  • Use a slight decline, such as 30 degrees. Extremes are never the best option.
  • If you’re using very heavyweights, a spotter should hand the dumbbells to you once your body is in position.
Know More: Decline Fly: Muscle Worked, Benefits, Form

7. Dumbbell Pullover

The classic dumbbell pullover is a widely used resistance exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles in the chest.

It also engages the large wing-shaped muscles in the back (latissimus dorsi), the core muscles, and the triceps

They are an excellent addition to your upper body strength routine.

Dumbbell Pullover

How To Do Dumbbell Pullover

  1. Lie across on a bench on your shoulders so that your head is hanging.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and get it straight over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbell in an arc slowly, getting a good stretch in your rib cage.
  4. Lower the dumbbell as far as possible and then raise it back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Maximum stretching ensures the greatest expansion of the rib cage.
  • Use a weight that challenges you, but allows you to maintain proper form.
  • Relax your hips and let them fall, as relaxed hips help in extra expansion.

8. Dumbbell Squeeze Press

The dumbbell squeeze press is one of the most effective chest pressing exercises you can perform to induce functional hypertrophy in the inner body, particularly the inner chest.

As the name suggests, you are performing both squeezing and pressing during the squeeze Press exercise.  By keeping pressure between the dumbbells, you are engaging the central part of your pecs.

dumbbell squeeze press.

How To Do Dumbbell Squeeze Press

  1. Take the dumbbells in your hands and lay down on the bench.
  2. Place the dumbbells together side by side and lift them up over your chest.
  3. Lower them down together by touching each other, then push the dumbbells back up.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Breathe out on the way up.
  • Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.
  • Keep your movements controlled and avoid jerky motions.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
Know More: 10 Best Inner Chest Exercises And Workout

9. Incline Bench Dumbbell Pullover

Incline bench dumbbell pullover is the best exercise to build a strong rib cage and build serratus anterior muscle to build an upper chest and back.

The incline dumbbell pullover allows for a wide range of motion, thus providing a deep pectorals and lats stretch.

This exercise is performed lying across on an inclined bench with a moderate dumbbell.

Incline Bench Dumbbell Pullover

How To Do Incline Bench Dumbbell Pullover

  1. Set the bench position between 30–45 degrees. Now lie across on an Incline bench.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands, get it straight over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbell in an arc slowly, getting a good stretch in your rib cage.
  4. Lower the dumbbell as far as possible, then raise it back to the starting position.


  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Maximum stretching ensures the greatest expansion on the rib cage.
  • Vary the position of the bench to hit different angles of the upper chest.

10. Standing Upward Chest Fly

Standing dumbbell chest fly is one of the best chest workouts that you can do at home with dumbbells.

It is a good exercise to target your upper chest. With only a pair of dumbbells, you can make your chest area broader and more developed.

Standing Upward Chest Fly

How To Do Standing Upward Chest Fly

  1. In a standing position, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing upward. 
  2. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and your arms down straight in front of your center.
  3. Extend your arms up and out to the sides, keeping your elbows straight and your arms at chest level.
  4. Bring them back to the center to finish a single rep. 


  • Exhale during the concentric (muscle-shortening) part of the motion.
  • Your arms and shoulders will work but most of the work should be done with the pecs.
  • Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.

Bonus: Dumbbell Push-Ups

Dumbbell push ups are a variation of the traditional push up exercise.

They involve using a pair of dumbbells in place of the hands to perform the push up movement.

Dumbbell push ups target the same muscle groups as regular push ups, including the chest, triceps, and shoulders, but they can also provide an additional challenge by requiring additional stability and balance.

Dumbbell Push Up

How To Do Dumbbell Push-Ups

  1. Grip a dumbbell in each hand and get into a plank position with your palms facing down towards the floor. 
  2. Now raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms but keep your elbows close to your body.
  3. Raise until your elbows are near to locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  4. Now lower your body under slow sustained motion, feeling the motion all the way down until your chest is very close to the ground.


  • Brace your core throughout your chest workout to keep it engaged.
  • The elbows should stay close to the body during the exercise to target the chest and triceps effectively.
  • It’s important to keep the body in a straight line from head to heels during the exercise.

How to get a bigger chest with dumbbells

1. Choose the right exercises

Incorporate exercises that target different areas of the chest such as dumbbell bench press, dumbbell flyes, incline dumbbell press, and decline dumbbell press.

2. Increase weight progressively

As your chest gets stronger, increase the weight you lift to continue challenging your muscles and promoting growth.

3. Focus on form

Proper form is essential for building chest muscles effectively.

Make sure to use a full range of motion and maintain control throughout the movement.

4. Vary your routine

Avoid doing the same exercises and rep ranges and sets every workout.

Instead, vary your routine by changing the exercises, the number of sets and reps, and the weight you use.

5. Add intensity techniques

Incorporate intensity techniques such as drop sets, supersets, and rest-pause sets to stimulate muscle growth.

6. Fuel your body with proper nutrition

To support muscle growth, make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

7. Give your muscles time to recover

Allow your muscles time to recover between workouts by taking rest days and getting enough sleep each night.

Dumbbell Chest Training Plan

Training the chest for strength is a must, and beginners can build up a very solid strength foundation with dumbbells alone at home and at the gym. However, as you become more advanced, it’ll be important to work in heavy low rep presses with barbells to increase your maximal strength. 

We are here to build up a bigger and stronger chest. So, we will concentrate on moderate to a heavy loads for reps between 8 and 15.

The number one driver for chest hypertrophy is an increase in volume, which leads to increased time under tension.

The exercises in the workout below include some compound movements and a few isolation exercises, which are optimal for chest hypertrophy.

Training Volume (Sets And Reps)

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6–8 reps with heavy load
  • 8–15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective. 

Training Plan As Per Your Goal

  1. For muscle endurance: Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
  2. For muscle strength: Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
  3. For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves.

Furthermore, it is important to allow for adequate rest between sets, typically 60-90 seconds.

Incorporating a mix of bodyweight exercises, cardio, and weight training can help to achieve a balanced and well-rounded workout routine.

Workout Samples For Beginner, Intermediate & Advance

This workout contains multiple dumbbell chest exercises that are designed to target all the muscles in your chest and increase overall muscle mass.

This workout plan is a starting point that can be adjusted based on individual fitness levels and goals.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Routine For Beginner

Here’s a beginner chest exercises routine with dumbbells that you can do at home:

Dumbbell Chest Press3-48-10
Dumbbell Push Ups3-48
Dumbbell Fly48-10

Workout Routine For Intermediate

Here is an intermediate dumbbell workout routine that can be done anywhere:

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press48-10
Dumbbell Squeeze Press3-410-12
Dumbbell Chest Press410-12
Incline Dumbbell Fly38-10

Dumbbell Chest Workout Routine For Advance

Here’s a sample dumbbell only workout plan for advanced:

Dumbbell Chest Press48-12
Decline Dumbbell Press3-410-12
Incline Dumbbell Fly48-10
Standing Upward Chest Fly310-12
Dumbbell Pullover38-10


It’s a good idea to add a variety of exercises to your chest workout routine to target the muscle from different angles and provide overall muscle growth.

Be smart: don’t limit yourself to dumbbell chest exercises. Get the benefits they offer and use other chest exercises to supplement them when needed.

A dumbbell workout can be easily added to your chest training program.

It can be especially effective when used with a bodyweight barbell, machine, or cable to build the biggest, strongest chest possible.


What are some other dumbbell exercises for the chest besides the bench press?

In addition to the bench press, some other dumbbell exercises for the chest include dumbbell flyes, dumbbell pullovers and dumbbell push ups

How heavy should the dumbbells be for chest exercises?

You should choose a weight that is challenging enough to complete the desired number of (8-12) repetitions with proper form, but not so heavy that it compromises your form.

Start with a moderate weight and gradually increase it as you become stronger.

How often should I do dumbbell chest exercises?

The number of times you do chest workouts will depend on your goals and fitness level.

However, most people benefit from doing chest exercises 1–2 times per week, with at least 48 hours of rest in between workouts.

Are dumbbell chest exercises suitable for beginners?

Yes, dumbbell chest exercises are suitable for beginners, as long as they use proper form and technique.

It’s important to start with basic exercises like dumbbell bench presses and gradually increase the difficulty level as you get stronger.


Dumbbells offer numerous advantages over regular barbell exercises. Greater range of motion, effective muscle activation, and freedom to manipulate the grip through the movement are all benefits for chest development.

For anyone, who is interested to build chest muscles and gaining strength, this dumbbell-only exercise is highly recommended. It not only allows for targeted muscle development, but also provides an overall upper body workout.

It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details. If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy a chest workout.

Stay Fit, Life a Happy and Healthy Life

Dumbbell Chest Workout at Home to Build Mass and strength

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