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5 Excellent Dumbbell Chest Workouts to Build Muscle and Get Stronger

A strong chest is important for almost every overhead movement in CrossFit.

Dumbbell chest workouts offer a versatile form of training and a great way to strengthen your upper body.

Building a stronger chest is important to improve your posture and will enhance your workouts, be it swimming, gymnastics or Olympic weightlifting. A sculptured chest is also a physical goal for many athletes.

Working with dumbbells allows a great range of motion and, even though they might not allow you to press the biggest weight you can, they will work muscles that Can’t specifically be TARGETED when training with barbells.

They also give you a balanced development, forcing you to work equally as hard on both sides instead of compensating with your stronger side like you’d be unconsciously prone to do with a barbell.

Dumbbell chest workouts will secondarily target your arms, shoulders, and back, building a stronger upper body overall. Working out to toughen your chest will improve your fitness performance by making exercises such as push-ups, dips, and almost every overhead movement easier.

On a less serious note, a strong chest can help you open that jar that defeated you last time you tried to have a jam sandwich.

Here are five dumbbell chest workouts for you to try out next time you head to the Box.

Dumbbell Chest Workouts

WOD 1: Bench with Dumbbells

For time:

  • 1 mile Run
  • 27 DB Bench Presses
  • 27 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 27 Dumbbell Thrusters
  • 27 Knees-to-Elbows
  • 27 Deadlift
  • 1 mile Run

Dumbbell bench presses will force you to isolate the weight into both arms; without compensation you’ll get a balanced workout.

Being independent tools, dumbbells also mean you can vary your grip, allowing you to target muscles slightly differently according to which grip you choose to use.

WOD 2: Mid Chest Workout

Three rounds for time of

  • 8 Incline dumbbell press
  • 12 Dumbbell flyes
  • 12 Push-ups
dumbbell chest exercisesSource: CrossFit Inc
Improve your chest

Inclined exercises allow athletes to adjust the workout to target a specific set of muscles.

WOD 3: Pure Upper Body Dumbbell Chest Workout 

Three rounds for time of

  • 30 Wall Ball Shots
  • 15 DB Pullovers
  • 2 Rope Climbs
CrossFit rope climb workoutsSource: CrossFit Inc
Get prepared for every workout

Dumbbell pullovers are an effective chest and back exercise. This single exercise also hits many other muscles, like your abs and triceps.

WOD 4Getting serious

For time

  • 100 ft Dumbbell Farmer’s Carry (55/35 lb)
  • 10 Alternating Dumbbell Squat Snatches (55/35 lb)
  • 10 Deficit Dumbbell Push-Ups
  • 10 calorie Row
  • 10 second L-Sit Hold (On Dumbbells)
  • 10 Toes-to-Bars
Gymnastic Challenges crossfit athleteSource: RX'd Photography
Improve your fitness

Deficit dumbbell pull-ups allow for a greater range of motion than standard push-ups, the deeper contraction coming from your hands being elevated from the ground will activate a wider range of muscle fibres.

WOD 5 – Hotel Workout by Chase Ingraham

Four Parts in 12 minutes

  • EMOM 3 minutes:
  • 15 Dumbbell Rows (2×30 lb)
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • EMOM 3 minutes:
  • 10 Dumbbell Rows (2×40 lb)
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • EMOM 3 minutes:
  • 5 Dumbbell Rows (2×45 lb)
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • Then, AMRAP in 3 minutes:
  • Dumbbell Rows (2×30 lb)

There’s no break between rounds and the final score is the total number of rows on the 3-minute AMRAP section of the workout.

Feel like continuing to improve your chest? Have a look at these 5 essential chest exercises to build muscle, strength and power.

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