Find out how to Do the Dumbbell Bench Press for a Larger, More potent Chest

Program Training


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When maximum lifters make the verdict to decide to the health club, the barbell bench press is frequently probably the most first workout routines decided on for constructing a more potent and larger chest. Alternatively, in spite of its recognition as a “must-do” motion, the barbell bench by myself isn’t going to provide the kind of well-developed chest maximum hope for. That calls for an creation to the dumbbell bench press.

The workout routines are identical in setup and execution, with a couple of key variations. The dumbbell bench press lets in an extended vary of movement and extra freedom of motion on the shoulder joint. Those can elicit a better muscle-building reaction, construct higher physique energy unilaterally (one facet at a time), give a boost to core steadiness, and building up your barbell bench urgent energy.

Right here’s the entirety you want to grasp in regards to the lost sight of dumbbell model of one of the fashionable barbell workout routines.

Find out how to Do the Dumbbell Bench Press

The usage of dumbbells as a substitute of a barbell supplies a unique shoulder and elbow place, which in flip will increase the variability of movement and makes the muscle-building stimulus of this workout even higher.

Step 1 — Get into Urgent Place

man on flat bench in gym stretching chest with dumbbells
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As you lie again on a flat bench, carry a couple of dumbbells to the outsides of your chest together with your palms dealing with each and every different. Pull your shoulder blades again into the bench. Ensure that either one of your ft are positioned firmly at the flooring, together with your ft immediately beneath your knees.

Your hips, your head, and either one of your shoulders must be firmly touching the bench. Rotate your palms to indicate your elbows at an attitude somewhat away out of your ft and make allowance your palms to indicate against your knees.

Shape Tip: For complete steadiness, really feel for 6 issues of touch  — two ft at the flooring plus your tailbone, two shoulders, and your head at the bench. This may increasingly imply you’re in a excellent place to start out the workout

Step 2 — Power the Weights Up

man in gym pressing dumbbells during chest exercise
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Hang the dumbbells firmly in a pronated (fingers dealing with your ft) place together with your wrists immediately above your elbows. Power your elbows as much as the ceiling in a immediately line till the dumbbells are located immediately above of your pecs. Don’t permit the dumbbells to the touch on the height of each and every rep.

Shape Tip: Be sure your elbows are stacked immediately beneath your wrists earlier than you power up. Permitting your wrists, and the weights, to wreck the airplane of your elbow will building up joint pressure and building up the possible chance of damage.

Step 3 — Decrease right into a Stretch

Man in gym lying on flat bench lowering dumbbells
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Slowly decrease the dumbbells down whilst squeezing your shoulder blades into the bench. Stay your elbows pointed at an attitude between your ft and your shoulders. Emphasize feeling your pecs stretch because the dumbbells come to a place resting simply out of doors your chest.

Shape Tip: Consider pulling the dumbbells towards you whilst attaining your chest to the ceiling.

Dumbbell Bench Press Errors to Steer clear of

When the usage of dumbbells, greater freedom on the shoulder joint additionally approach the workout calls for greater keep an eye on and coordination. There are a couple of mistakes to keep away from when acting the dumbbell bench press. 

Having an Risky Frame

It is rather commonplace to look lifters position their ft within the air and move their ankles or haphazardly sprawl their legs clear of the bench all the way through the workout.

man in gym performing flat bench dumbbell press lifting head
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This creates an atmosphere of instability and stops you from with the ability to produce essentially the most power, which compromises energy manufacturing since the decrease physique is an crucial touch level and base of improve.

Steer clear of It: Riding your legs into the bottom will assist handle steadiness with the torso and permit you to create extra power with the higher physique. Your ft, calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps must all be hectic and completely engaged.

Ego Lifting

Some lifters suppose that simply because they are able to bench spectacular weights with a barbell, they’re “intended to” bench with heavy dumbbells, too.

man in gym lying on bench lifting heavy dumbbells
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What they fail to understand is that dumbbells contain the smaller stabilizer muscle tissue of the shoulder greater than a barbell, this means that excessively heavy weights can pressure the shoulder joint and reduce chest muscle recruitment.

Steer clear of it: Lean the ego at house when it’s time to make use of dumbbells. No matter you barbell bench press, lower that weight in half of after which take off every other 5-10kg (10-20 kilos). This provides you with a excellent place to begin for the full weight (each dumbbells blended) when studying the workout.

Advantages of the Dumbbell Bench Press

The bench press is be a staple motion in just about each lifter’s repertoire.

Man in gym performing chest press with dumbbells
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Listed below are two giant benefits that dumbbells have over the barbell.

Higher Vary of Movement

With a barbell, your palms and palms are set into fastened angles with moderately restricted vary of movement. Dumbbells permit the weights to transport in an arcing trail, moderately wider within the backside place and just about touching on the height.

This gives an extended vary of movement as you extend the muscle with a deeper stretch which is able to building up your muscle constructing attainable in comparison to a barbell. (1) Dumbbells additionally permit your palms to rotate, which is able to individualize urgent angles to cut back joint pressure.

Unilateral Energy

Overemphasizing barbell coaching can create muscular discrepancies, since maximum lifters naturally desire one facet greater than the opposite. As a result of a barbell doesn’t permit each and every facet to concentration its personal percentage of labor, you won’t realize the delicate variations on your unilateral energy.

The usage of  dumbbells will permit you to construct that unilateral energy and cut back any muscular imbalances from happening whilst nonetheless strengthening your pecs, triceps, and shoulders.

Muscle groups Labored by means of the Dumbbell Bench Press

All chest presses concentration the paintings, accurately, at the chest. Alternatively, a number of muscle teams paintings in combination to accomplish the workout.

muscular man in gym performing dumbbell chest press
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The dumbbell bench press lets in lifters to coach their urgent muscle tissue (chest shoulders, and triceps) with out excessively heavy weights.

Pectoralis Main 

The percent primary is the massive, fundamental chest muscle. It comprises two separate heads: the clavicular (higher chest) and the sternocostal (mid-chest). Each heads of the pecs serve as to tug the higher palms around the chest towards the midline of the physique.

Anterior Deltoid

The shoulder muscle tissue consists of 3 separate heads — the posterior (rear), the lateral (facet), and the anterior (entrance). Every head contributes to transferring the arm in its respective plan, so the anterior deltoid is closely recruited all the way through the dumbbell bench press since the arm is transferring in entrance of the physique.


The triceps include the lengthy, medial, and lateral heads, each and every taking part in a job in extending the elbows and elevating the palms. The medial and lateral heads, specifically, are emphasised all the way through the dumbbell bench press to transport the burden and straighten (lock out) the elbows.

Pectoralis Minor and Serratus Anterior

Those moderately smaller muscle tissue are each discovered close to the percent primary. They percentage identical purposes, serving to to keep an eye on shoulder blade motion and steadiness all the way through urgent (and chest flye) actions.

Who Must Do the Dumbbell Bench Press

Just like the barbell bench press, the dumbbell bench press can be offering advantages to energy athletes, physique-focused lifters, and common health fans.

Bodybuilders and Body Fanatics

Whether or not it’s a 220-pound bodybuilding monster, a lean Males’s Body competitor, or a regular lifter in need of to give a boost to their percent measurement and form, the dumbbell bench press could be a key participant in any chest exercise.

The dumbbell bench press places the pecs via a very long time beneath rigidity with most muscle activation, resulting in extra muscle enlargement.

Energy Athletes

With the barbell bench press being a sport-specific carry for aggressive powerlifters, the usage of the dumbbell bench press as an adjunct workout lets in the similar urgent muscle tissue to be educated with out put on and tear at the joints from the barbell’s repetitive use.

Overhead energy athletes, like Olympic weightlifters and CrossFitters, too can take pleasure in the dumbbell bench presses talent to coach extra unilaterally and cut back muscle discrepancies, which ends up in enhancements in energy total.

Find out how to Program the Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press can also be programmed the usage of quite a lot of set and rep schemes. It may be carried out as a number one workout in the beginning of your exercise or as a supplemental workout to maximise muscle fiber recruitment all the way through a consultation.

Heavy Weight, Low Repetition

To maximize energy, 3 to 5 units within the 4 to 8 rep vary is a great position to start out. On account of the dumbbell’s steadiness necessities, lifting excessively heavy with extraordinarily low reps to failure isn’t protected or efficient. You must be the usage of a weight that has you end each and every set with no less than one to 2 reps left “within the tank” to keep away from attaining muscular failure. A relaxation duration of 3 to 5 mins between each and every set will be sure you carry with most effort.

Average Weight, Average Repetition

For muscle constructing functions, running for 3 to 4 units within the six to twelve rep vary will bump up your total coaching quantity of the pecs, which is really helpful for constructing muscle. (2) The more than one units and reps additionally permit you to expand your bench press method with out over the top fatigue from heavier weights.

Low Weight, Prime Repetition

It might higher to make use of a device or cable-based device when running with the next rep goal and being in a better proximity to failure, as a result of shoulder stabilizers can fatigue earlier than the chest muscle tissue. Alternatively, running for two to a few units within the 13-20 rep vary is a good way to give a boost to your method with out impacting any additional rigidity for your joints that can come about from the usage of heavier weights.

Dumbbell Bench Press Permutations

Beneath are a number of efficient permutations that can be utilized by means of coaches and athletes to stay coaching numerous, revolutionary, and extra finely tuned to a lifter’s wishes.

Dumbbell Ground Press

As you’ll have guessed, the dumbbell ground press is a dumbbell bench press carried out at the ground, and not using a bench. This intentionally limits your vary of movement to stop the weights from touring down previous your chest. That is perfect for those who enjoy shoulder discomfort because of limited mobility.

It may possibly additionally is helping to coach the triceps and give a boost to lockout energy as a result of top-half of the variability of movement, the place the triceps are maximum engaged, is emphasised.

Dumbbell Foam Curler Press

The usage of a foam curler as a substitute of a flat bench lets in the scapulae (shoulder blades) to transport extra freely all over each and every rep, which improves higher again and shoulder well being.


The mechanics of that is strangely very similar to that of a push-up and optimizes your herbal scapulohumeral rhythm — the way in which your shoulder muscle tissue and shoulder blades coordinate all the way through motion. This growth can result in progressed shoulder joint well being and greater muscular engagement.

Unmarried-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

This workout variation is superb for bettering total-body steadiness and unilateral energy whilst additionally bettering core engagement. You merely use one dumbbell and carry out the workout with one arm on your goal collection of reps earlier than switching aspects.

Your core musculature goes to be centered to a far upper stage because of the truth that you’re fighting your torso from rotating to a long way to at least one facet. It’s best to make use of at ease weight when first taking in this variation and construct your self belief last solid earlier than expanding weight.

Dumbbell Bench Press Choices

Should you’re searching for choices past the dumbbell bench press, there are a number of efficient workout routines that paintings that higher physique in a similar way.

Barbell Bench Press

Whilst the dumbbell bench has many particular advantages, now and again it’s suitable to simply load some weight and bench. The important thing distinction with this workout is its bilateral element, transferring each palms in combination, which precisely what makes it a good way to load up the burden and concentrate on constructing energy.

Alternatively, the barbell bench press isn’t restricted to purely a energy concentration. It may be used to offer a vital quantity of quantity which triggers a better muscle-building reaction. Acting it later within the exercise, when the chest is fatigued from different workout routines, is one very efficient means.

Seated Cable Chest Press

This will seem to be an unconventional workout, however it’s very efficient when accomplished as it should be. Just like the dumbbell bench press, there’s a unilateral issue concerned which permits the shoulders freedom to transport with lowered joint pressure.

The adjustable peak of the cable pulleys lets you educate at angles (simulating an incline or decline press) whilst last seated upright. Many gyms have a devoted seated cable device, however an equivalent motion can also be carried out putting a seated bench within the middle of a two-pulley cable station.


Can I carry out the dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press in the similar exercise?

Sure, completely. Use the barbell bench press as a number one energy carry, carried out with heavy weight and occasional reps, and use the dumbbell bench press as a hypertrophy-specific carry with gentle to average weight and average to raised reps. This may increasingly permit you to totally exhaust the muscle fibers with the will increase vary of movement that the dumbbell bench press provides.

How a long way must I decrease the dumbbells?

Preferably, you’d decrease the weights to the extent of your chest, together with your elbows somewhat under the bench. Alternatively, you must concentration on the usage of your energetic vary of movement, no longer the utmost vary of movement irrespective of ache or mobility.

If you can not decrease the dumbbells to succeed in the private stretch of your pecs, or if you’re feeling any discomfort that takes the emphasis off your pecs, then handiest transfer the place you’ll be able to handle rigidity with out ache. Regardless, all the time take your time to warm-up and bodily get ready the muscle tissue getting used. Occasionally a radical warm-up of your again, chest, and shoulders lets you use a bigger vary of movement.

Reconsider “Bench Day”

You wouldn’t only depend at the dumbbell bench press to construct a larger and more potent chest, similar to you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) over-focus at the barbell bench. However whilst you consider its advantages and flexibility, it’s time to incorporate this central workout on your chest or “higher physique pushing” workout routines, without or with its barbell cousin.


  1. Farias, D. A., Willardson, J. M., Paz, G. A., Bezerra, E. S., & Miranda, H. (2017). Maximal Energy Efficiency and Muscle Activation for the Bench Press and Triceps Extension Workouts Adopting Dumbbell, Barbell, and Device Modalities Over A couple of Units. Magazine of energy and conditioning analysis31(7), 1879–1887.

  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, Ok., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Coaching Quantity Complements Muscle Hypertrophy however No longer Energy in Educated Males. Drugs and science in sports activities and workout, 51(1), 94–103.

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