7 Incredible Dumbbell Chest Exercises That You Aren’t Doing (But Need to)

Use this powerful ally to build an impressive chest.

Looking for some dumbbell chest exercises to add to your workout? How about we give you a list of 7 exercises that you probably haven’t done before but definitely should? Keep scrolling to see them.

Incorporating dumbbell exercises into your workout routine can be a game-changer for those seeking effective and versatile strength training. Dumbbells offer a unique set of advantages that cater to various fitness levels and goals. Firstly, dumbbell exercises provide a high degree of flexibility, allowing individuals to target specific muscle groups with precision. Unlike machines that follow a predetermined path, the free-range motion of dumbbell exercises engages stabilizing muscles, promoting a more comprehensive and functional form of strength development.

Furthermore, dumbbell workouts foster balance and symmetry in muscle development. Since each limb must independently handle its share of the load, it helps prevent muscle imbalances that can arise from relying solely on barbell or machine exercises. This balanced muscle development not only contributes to a more aesthetically pleasing physique but also reduces the risk of injuries associated with muscle imbalances.

Dumbbells also offer a scalable resistance, making them suitable for beginners and seasoned lifters alike. Whether you’re looking to tone and define or build significant muscle mass, adjusting the weight of your dumbbells allows for a customized approach to match your fitness goals.

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The versatility of dumbbell exercises extends beyond muscle development to functional fitness. Many dumbbell movements mimic real-life activities, promoting improved coordination and mobility. From full-body exercises like dumbbell thrusters to isolated movements like bicep curls, incorporating a variety of dumbbell exercises into your routine ensures a well-rounded approach to fitness.

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Additionally, dumbbells are relatively accessible and suitable for home workouts, making them a practical choice for those who prefer exercising in the comfort of their own space. Ultimately, the inclusion of dumbbell exercises not only enhances physical strength but also adds a dynamic and adaptable dimension to your fitness regimen, contributing to a more comprehensive and effective workout experience.

But enough talking about dumbbells and why they are awesome for your workouts. You clicked here because you want to grow your chest with somewhat underappreciated dumbbell exercises. The person who came up with the list of exercises below is Alain Gonzalez. Coach Alain Gonzalez is an author, personal trainer and YouTuber with over 800K subscribers.

Find below 7 incredible dumbbell chest exercises you are probably not doing, but should.

7 Incredible Dumbbell Chest Exercises That You Aren’t Doing (But Need to)

Before delving into the exercises, a brief overview of the basic chest anatomy is provided. The pectoralis major is divided into the upper clavicular and lower sternal heads, each with slightly different functions. Understanding their functions and how they can be best trained is crucial for maximizing hypertrophy.

Although isolating one area of the chest entirely may be challenging, emphasis can be shifted based on individual goals. With this knowledge in mind, coach Alain Gonzalez introduces seven dumbbell-only exercises that can enhance chest training.

  1. Low Incline Dumbbell Press: This exercise targets all fibres of the pecs and elicits more deltoid activation due to a 15-degree angle, providing a fresh perspective for those accustomed to flat bench presses.
  2. Dumbbell Fly Press: To alleviate shoulder strain during traditional dumbbell flies, bending the arms during the eccentric portion maintains the emphasis on the pecs while reducing joint stress. Visualizing bringing the biceps together, rather than the hands, optimizes the movement.
  3. Dumbbell Pullover: This exercise, effective for the lower chest, involves keeping the dumbbell just above the head for maximum tension. Performing the pullover in a partial range of motion close to the stretch position proves most beneficial.
  4. Decline Dumbbell Floor Press: Emphasizing the lower portion of the pectoralis major while reducing shoulder involvement, the decline dumbbell floor press is a practical alternative for those lacking access to a decline bench.
  5. Dumbbell Floor Fly: Performed on the floor, this variation provides a safety net for avoiding excessive depth, and reducing the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries. Maintaining extended elbows during the fly increases mechanical tension, promoting muscle growth.
  6. Dumbbell Squeeze Press: Focusing on a hard contraction in the shortened position, the squeeze press involves squeezing the dumbbells together at the top. Incorporating a resistance band enhances the contraction further.
  7. Crossbody Front Raises: Targeting the clavicular head of the pectoralis major, this exercise combines shoulder flexion and horizontal flexion, stimulating the upper pecs more effectively.

In conclusion, these lesser-known chest exercises are valuable additions to routines, whether due to limited equipment or a desire to diversify training methods. They offer a unique approach to chest development, taking it to the next level.

For a full explanation of each exercise and how to perform them, check out the video below.

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Let’s break down the pros and cons of incorporating dumbbell exercises into a fitness routine:


  1. Versatility: Dumbbells offer a wide range of exercises that target various muscle groups. From compound movements to isolation exercises, they allow for a versatile workout routine.
  2. Stabilization: Unlike machines that provide stability, dumbbells require more control and stabilization from the muscles. This engages stabilizer muscles, contributing to overall strength and balance.
  3. Individualized Workouts: Dumbbells are available in different weights, making it easy to customize workouts based on individual strength levels. This is beneficial for beginners and advanced lifters alike.
  4. Functional Movement: Many dumbbell exercises mimic everyday movements, promoting functional strength that can be applied to daily activities.
  5. Home Workout Option: Dumbbells are relatively compact and can be used at home, providing a convenient option for those who prefer working out in their own space.
  6. Joint Range of Motion: Dumbbell exercises often allow for a more natural range of motion, promoting flexibility and joint health.


  1. Weight Limit: Dumbbells have a weight limit, and for advanced lifters seeking extremely heavy loads, barbells or machines may be more suitable.
  2. Learning Curve: Some exercises, especially those involving free weights, may have a learning curve for beginners. Proper form is crucial to avoid injuries.
  3. Uneven Strength Development: If not used properly, one side of the body may become stronger than the other, leading to muscle imbalances. This can be addressed by incorporating unilateral exercises.
  4. Limited Isolation: While dumbbells are great for compound movements, some isolation exercises may require specialized machines for optimal muscle isolation.
  5. Safety Concerns: Without a spotter or proper form, there’s a risk of injury, especially when lifting heavier weights. It’s crucial to start with appropriate weights and gradually progress.
  6. Equipment Availability: In a crowded gym, finding the right set of dumbbells can sometimes be challenging. Home users may need to invest in a variety of dumbbell weights for a comprehensive workout.
  7. Progression Challenges: As strength increases, it may become challenging to find heavier dumbbells. This is where barbells or machines may offer a more scalable progression.

In summary, while dumbbells have numerous advantages, it’s essential to consider individual fitness goals, preferences, and safety considerations. Integrating a mix of free weights, machines, and bodyweight exercises can provide a well-rounded and effective workout routine.

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