The 3 Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Chest

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There are three basic “pressing” chest exercises: the flat, incline, and decline bench press. However, there are many variations of chest exercises; specifically, dumbbell exercises for the lower, mid, and upper chest.

You can perform a complete chest workout at least once a week using simple equipment such as dumbbells if you are looking to achieve a massive chest.

Keep reading below to learn more!

Chest Anatomy

The equation is simple for massive pecs- you’ll need to use all of your chest muscles at their capacity. However, you can’t target muscles that you have no idea about it.

Our chest muscles are divided into three major sections. They are:

Pectoralis Major

The Pectoralis Major is also is known as the upper chest. This muscle group covers most of your chest muscle mass. The muscle mass is the composition of a sternal head and a clavicular head, and a large fan-shaped piece of mass.

Pectoralis Minor

The  Pectoralis Minor is also known as the middle chest.  This muscle group situates after the pectoralis major. These muscles are responsible for pulling the shoulder forward and down.

Serratus Anterior

The Serratus Anterior is the lower chest muscle, and it is found at the side of the chest wall. Generally, you need to lift weights overhead to notice the serratus anterior in action.

Activating the Pecs

For an effective chest workout, it is essential to activate each specific muscle group for your desired results.

Approximately 40% of people have suffered an injury due to a lack of a proper warm-up session. Furthermore, a proper warm-up increases mobility and opens up the muscles that help to you lift weights and ensure a safer workout session.

A dynamic warmup is considered to be the best form of stretching to prepare your chest for lifting heavier loads.

The following video is a perfect example of dynamic stretching for a pre-chest workout session:

Top Dumbbell Exercises for the Lower Chest Muscles

1.)   Exercise: Decline Dumbell Bench Press

Targeted Muscle Group: Serratus Anterior or Lower Chest

  • To begin the exercise, lie down on a declined bench by holding dumbells at the top of your chest.
  • The elbows will remain slightly bent while the back remains flat on the bench.
  • Now move the dumbbell downwards by using your shoulders as much as possible. To achieve an effective result, keep your hands apart as wide as possible. Further, don’t permit your elbows to go beyond your chest.
  • Hold for a second at the point of contraction and squeeze your chest to get the desired effect at the top position.
  • To complete the set, go down to the initial position. That is one rep.

2.)  Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

Targeted Muscle Group: Pectoralis Minor or Mid Chest

  • Unlike the decline bench press, lie down on a flat bench while holding the dumbbells on your thighs in a resting position. In this position, the palm of your hands will face each other.
  • Lift the dumbbells up, pushing through your thighs. Lift one at once, and hold them in front of you according to max shoulder width.
  • Now rotate your wrists into the forward direction to face your palms away from you. In the initial position, dumbbells will remain chest width apart, which makes a 90-degree angle using your upper and forearm.
  • While breathing out, use your Pectoralis Minor to lift the dumbbells in an upward direction. Squeeze your chest and hold the position for a second or two at the point of the contraction. Now come back into the initial position at a gentle pace to complete a rep.
  • Lowering the weight should take almost double time compared to lifting it.
  • Reminder- do not drop the dumbbells beside you after finishing your set because it might cause a severe injury to your rotator cuffs.

Additional Reading: Dumbbell Floor Press Benefits

3.)   Dumbbell Incline Bench Press

Targeted Muscle Group: Pectoralis Major or Upper Chest

  • To begin the exercise, lie on an incline bench while resting the dumbbells on the top of your thighs. In the initial position, your palms will be positioned towards each other.
  • Lift the dumbbells over your chest similarly to the previously-mentioned exercises. It’ll keep the shoulder rotators safe from further injuries. Also, hold the dumbbells as wide as possible. Aside from the bench type, the initial position will be the same for all bench press exercises.
  • Again, rotate wrists forward at the shoulder width, so the palms get faced away from the body.
  • By keeping control of the motion, push the dumbbells upwards using the shoulder and upper chest while breathing out.
  • Now reaching the point of contraction, hold the dumbbell for a second or two while squeezing your upper chest muscles. Note, the lowering of the dumbbells towards the chest will take twice as long as pushing. Always keep a gentle pace rather than inducing a shaky or jerky force.
  • Don’t throw or drop the dumbbells after finishing a set. Either again use your thigh force to put down the dumbbells in a reverse movement as you lifted them at the beginning of the exercise.

Dumbbell Exercises vs. Barbell Exercises or Another Alternative

All three of the exercises listed above are the most basic and recommended forms of exercise for building impeccable pecs.

However, all of the previously-mentioned exercises can be done using an alternative piece of equipment such as barbells or machines.

If you would like to build your chest at home, the following is a list of advantages using dumbbells compared to other pieces of fitness equipment:

1.)   Dumbbells are the Most Affordable Option

Compared to purchasing machines or barbells, dumbbells are the most affordable option for doing chest exercises at home.

There are many options for purchasing the best dumbbells for a home gym online.

2.)   Dumbbells are Durable, and Easy to Use and Clean

Generally speaking, Dumbbells are easy to use, and you will not have many issues with them. Other types of equipment can be much more challenging to deal with.

3.)   Better Functional Movement

Dumbbells allow for a more natural movement during exercise, which protects the rotator cuffs from injuries. While doing a set with dumbbells, you also activate more muscles and burns more calories.

Doing exercises with dumbbells requires more focus and control on each part of the body that balances strength on each side.

4.)   Easy to Store and Manage

Dumbbells are easy to store and manage. Furthermore, they are the most suitable type of fitness equipment for personal training or workouts such as HIIT.

Name of Contributor: Mehedi Hossain Chowdhury

Read Next: Bench Press Programs


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