You don’t necessarily need a barbell to develop big chest muscles. Learn how to build a perfect chest with dumbbells by following these 6 simple tips.
These 6 tips on how to build a perfect chest with dumbbells were shared by Jeff Cavaliere.
See the full video, or check out the main tips below.
How to Build a Perfect Chest with Dumbbells
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Tip 1 – Leg drive
When your feet are on the floor when you are doing dumbbell bench press, you want to have them positioned as if you were sliding up the bench. Normally you do that when holding a barbell because you have a hook to leave the barbell at the end of the exercise, but you should try to mimic the movement by driving your body with your legs.
Important note: weights must be sufficiently heavy to keep shoulders pinned to the bench.
Tip 2 – Get more relevant adduction
Try to lead the dumbbells with your thumbs, rather than with your pinkies. This way you will squeeze out your chest by bringing your hands close to each other. That way your chest will get more contraction and it will pay off rep after rep.
Tip 3 – Flip the grip
If you don’t have an incline bench you can target your upper chest by simply flipping the grip on the dumbbells by performing the under hip dumbbell bench press.
Tip 4 – Drop set
Doing drop sets are helpful to build muscle and increase its size. Utilising a barbell will cost you precious seconds to take out some weight plates from the bar. However, with dumbbells, you can simply grab a lighter pair and go straight into your drop set.
Jeff Cavaliere goes even further and likes to squeeze out a few push-ups after doing a drop set to fatigue the muscle to failure.
Tip 5 – Static dumbbell press
Lift one dumbbell at a time when pressing instead of both simultaneously. Keep one dumbbell high in the air while slowly descending one to finish one rep.
This exposes any unilateral weaknesses that you may have. You need to correct your muscle imbalances and this minor tweak you can do will provide just that.
In the end, hold both dumbbells at the bottom of the isometric position for a few seconds before finishing the exercise. You can, again, do push-ups to failure at the end.
Tip 6 – Static dumbbell press with a focus on the bottom of the movement
This is the same idea as tip 5, but this time you hold the dumbbell at the bottom of the exercise when pressing one dumbbell at a time.
“The chest is working even harder at that bottom position than it would be at the top and it makes this whole sequence that much more difficult,” Cavaliere says.
Tip 6 – Include these 3 exercises
- Dumbbell pullover – but do this exercise with your elbows close to each other and drive it with your upper chest.
- UCV raise – this gets another good contraction into adduction. Raise the dumbbell up and across from your body. It is a low to high and across movement which gives you a great upper chest contraction.
- Floor chest flye – use the floor to protect your shoulders as your arms get down the side. This way, you are able to increase the weight of the dumbbells and