Top 15 Dumbbell Chest Exercises To Build Muscle & Definition

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer

Looking for help broadening and strengthening your chest? One of the best ways to achieve this is through dumbbell exercises. Dumbbell workouts are an excellent choice if you’re aiming to get a well-defined, sculpted chest.

Man doing dumbbell bench press.

This guide will run you through 15 of the best dumbbell chest exercises to help you build muscle and create definition in your chest.

Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

This exercise is something that should be in everyone’s workout routine. It’s an excellent, all-around exercise, as it helps to activate the entirety of your chest, and it also allows for the heaviest load and the best range of motion. Both of which are essential to aid in those gains.

You want to keep your movement as balanced as possible, which you can do by moving your arms at an equal speed and space, and make sure to use a weight that you have full control over.

Your form takes priority in this exercise, so perfect your form before you try and increase the weight. 

Kettlebell Deep Push

This exercise is a step up from your regular push-up, allowing for a better range of motion as you can go much deeper, helping you to really stretch and create tension in your chest. Another great exercise, this one helps you by placing an emphasis on the sternocostal head.

Dumbbell Twisted Fly

The dumbbell fly is another one of the classic exercises that help to really activate the entire chest, which aids in improving your range of motion while building a more solid physique. 

The dumbbell twisted fly is a step up from this and helps by activating even more muscle fiber in your chest. All you have to do is rotate your arms as you reach the top of the movement, and give your chest a nice tight squeeze at the top which will help create a stronger contraction.

One Arm Chest Press

This exercise is similar to the flat bench press, but this time you’re only using one dumbbell, which allows you to target one side of your chest at a time. This causes you to use more of your core, as well as increase your hip stability, which is excellent for helping build your core strength.

It also means you can use a greater range of motion during the concentric or pressing phase.

Dumbbell Around The World

While it’s not a particularly well-known exercise, the dumbbell around the world is an excellent way of strengthening both your chest and your shoulders. 

To begin, sit on an incline bench, and hold the dumbbells next to your thighs, keeping your palms up and your elbows bent.

Then, rotate your arms out and upwards, and once the dumbbells are above your head and close to touching, squeeze your chest as you return them to the starting position in the outward same motion as you lifted them.

You do need to be careful with this exercise and make sure you start with lighter weights. The range of movement requires you to have healthy shoulders if you want to do this exercise.

Dumbbell Incline Fly

This exercise is excellent at really activating your upper-inner chest muscles. The focus during this exercise should be to focus on really using your chest to help lift the dumbbells as opposed to your arms, with the possibility of getting a nice deep stretch too if your shoulders allow for it. 

Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise that really allows you to hit your arms, chest, and back all at the same time, with special focus going on to your lats and upper chest.

This exercise is excellent for helping your posture, but once again, the focus during this exercise should be really making sure you squeeze your chest as much as possible to ensure that you’re really working that upper chest.

You should also remember to keep a bend in your elbows throughout the exercise. 

Hyght Dumbbell Fly

This exercise requires excellent motor control in order for it to be effective and be performed without injury.

To do the exercise, sit on an incline bench set at a 45-degree angle. Have the dumbbells at your side with an underhanded grip and slight bends in your elbows, keeping your arms at a 45-degree angle from your body.

Then, contract your chest muscles and lift the dumbbells up, ensuring that your elbows and wrists don’t move. You should stop just as the two dumbbells are about to meet, before returning to the starting position.

Dumbbell Low Fly

Another great exercise, the dumbbell low fly allows you to help target the upper and inner muscles of your chest. Held with an underhand grip, keep ensure that you keep your elbows bent slightly and roughly 30 degrees away from your body during your exercise.

Then, raise up your arms to roughly about your chin level, squeezing your chest as you do so, before returning them back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Reverse Bench Press

Similar to a typical bench press, this exercise has you hold the weights underhanded instead, while also bringing your arms a bit closer to your body than a usual bench press.

The change in grip actually has a big effect on the emphasis placed on your upper chest during the exercise, while also relieving your shoulders of any tension or pressure.

As a result, this exercise is often recommended for those with shoulder injuries or problems, as it allows you to work your chest without too much strain on your shoulders. 

Dumbbell Lying Hammer Press

Another excellent exercise for people who want to try and relieve their shoulders from too much tension, the hammer press makes for a brilliant alternative to traditional bench press exercises. 

With this exercise, the emphasis is being placed on the sternocostal head, however, as the dumbbell is held using a hammer grip, it means you can try and bring them even closer together at the top, contracting your inner chest even more. 

Dumbbell Svend Press

More commonly done with a weight plate, the Svend Press simply requires you to press the weight forwards, with your hands similar to a prayer-shaped position. 

Simply hold the dumbbell vertically using both hands, keeping your arms roughly around the sternum level, and press slowly until your arms are fully extended, before bringing it back towards your chest.

This simple exercise is great for working both your shoulders and your arms, but try your best to drop your shoulders in order to feel it more in your chest.

Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Otherwise known as the Crush Press, this exercise is a variation of the bench press, except the dumbbells are held with your palms facing each other. The dumbbells are in contact with each other the entire time you do the exercise, so you’ll be squeezing them together.

Overall, this exercise is excellent for a full chest workout.

Dumbbell Decline Bench Press

This press targets the lower section of the sternocostal head, making it great for developing a distinction between the chest and abs.

You can also change the angle and amount of decline as you progress through your workouts to hit your chest from different angles and work the entire area. Just make sure your feet are secured so you don’t slide off the bench!

Dumbbell Decline Chest Fly

This chest fly is like others, except done on a decline. Similar to the decline bench press, you can alternate your level of decline, and keep your fly motion around sternum level for the best effects.

This exercise will really help work that lower inner chest if done properly, just make sure to keep your arms locked and with a slight bend.

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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