9 Exercises for a Big Chest (Dumbbells Only!)
These are the 9 best exercises for your chest using dumbbells only. If you want to get a bigger chest and nice pecs then this video will help. Learn the proper form for all of these exercises.
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When you use dumbbells to train your chest, you create a freer range of motion which activates a greater number of muscle fibers responsible for stabilization and helps you build more proportional-looking pecs. As opposed to a barbell, dumbbells force your chest and arms to work unilaterally, helping you develop an even amount of strength on each side, which prevents muscle imbalances. It also doesn't hurt that you can use dumbbells pretty much anywhere, whether that's at the gym or at home. So today I want to go over 9 of the best dumbbell exercises for a nicer chest.
And it's no secret that one of the best chest exercises out there is the dumbbell press, but I want to start with an underutilized variation, the incline neutral - grip dumbbell press. This variation targets your chest differently because it allows the dumbbells to travel through a wider movement path, placing a greater stretch on the pecs at the bottom of each of your reps and keeping tension on them even at the top. Other than hand position it's performed almost exactly like a regular dumbbell press. So you're going to grab two heavy dumbbells, take a seat on an inclined bench, and place the dumbbells on your thighs close to your knees. Make sure to first retract your shoulder blades, then lay back, kick the dumbbells up one at a time and bring them over your chest with your hands in a neutral position. Arch your back and stick your chest out without raising your hips up off the bench. And from there drive through your legs as you press the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling. Don't bring the dumbbells together at the top like you would with a fly. Instead keep the tension on your chest by keeping them apart and then lower back down, get a nice wide stretch at the bottom, and press right back up with the dumbbells still apart. Then repeat for reps. Keep in mind there are major benefits to regular dumbbell presses as well, so don't get rid of them in exchange for these, instead, just switch up your grip every so often when you change up your workouts.
Next is an exercise that provides a concentric, eccentric, and isometric contraction for your pecs, the crush press, also known as the hex press. But I want you to think of it as the crush press because the more you focus on crushing the dumbbells together the more effective the exercise will be for your chest. To perform this on a flat bench start with the dumbbells on your knees just like before, lay back and bring the dumbbells together in a neutral position until they're pressed against eachother right above the center of your chest. From there squeeze the dumbbells tight together and press them straight up towards the ceiling over the line of your chest. Then stop right before locking out your elbows to keep all that tension on the chest. After that you'll lower the dumbbells back down towards your chest, and your hands should end up either at your lower chest or around your upper abs. Remember to keep pressing the dumbbells together and squeezing your pecs the whole way through your repetition. Then press back up and repeat for reps.
Now a dumbbell exercise renegade rows
Another exercise that you can do anywhere with the dumbbells to isolate your pecs is the dumbbell fly. Just like with the bench press you can do this at a flat, incline or decline angle. To perform these on a flat bench you would take a seat with the dumbbells on your knees and once again before beginning you want to make sure to retract your shoulder blades so that your chest is sticking out. Then lay back and raise the dumbbells straight over your chest. Next, lower the dumbbells to your sides following a wide arch-like path while maintaining a slight bend in each of your elbows. This is important. Make sure you avoid the common mistake of performing your reps with your elbows locked out as this will put extra strain on the biceps and take a lot of the tension off of your chest. You'll also get a better stretch by going down further, but to avoid shoulder problems it's very important that you don't go down too far during the fly. The dumbbells shouldn't really go much lower than about even with the chest. From there you want to return the dumbbells in the same wide arch-like path to the starting position over your chest. Then repeat for reps. An old-school tip that still helps today is to concentrate on moving your arms in a motion that looks like you're hugging a tree. Also if this bringing the dumbbells down even with your chest still bothers your shoulders you can either not go so low or do a variation on the floor. The floor will stop your elbows and prevent you from going too low.