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Dumbbell Chest Exercises

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You’ll have to adjust the weight a bit when it comes to dumbbell chest exercises compared to barbell exercises, largely because dumbbells require a bit more stability and have a larger range of motion than the barbell. The lower weight doesn’t make dumbbell chest exercises any less important. They’re absolutely key to every well-rounded workout plan.

Take Full Advantage of Dumbbells

The easiest way see the difference between dumbbell exercises and barbell exercises is with the chest press. It’s the same general motion, pressing the weight straight up over your chest. When performing the exercise, you’ll notice that this added range of motion with dumbbells also means engaging parts of the chest that you don’t get with barbell exercises. For beginners and intermediates who have been spending most of their time with the barbell, take it slow when ramping up your dumbbell presses. Once that’s mastered, you can take the stability and range of one step further by alternating presses. This is something you will see occasionally from the Daily Spot trainers, and it’s a great way to switch up the traditional bench and challenge the muscles.

Chest Flyes

In the exercise overview section we highlighted that most of the chest exercises will be some variation of a press or a fly. Well, it’s impossible to do a fly with a barbell, so that means you’ll rely heavily on dumbbells for this part of you work out. Of course, cable flies are a great workout too, but we aren’t going to cover those yet.

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Examples of Exercises Using Dumbbells

All of the exercises below will target your chest. The majority of exercises incorporate a dumbbell, however, in some cases we've included cable exercises. These cable exercises will work your chest similarly to dumbbells, but may offer low-impact alternatives.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie on a decline bench with your feet securely under leg holders. While holding the dumbbells over chest, exhale and push the weights up by extending your arms. Do not lock out your arms.

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Dumbbell Pullover

Lie with your back on a flat bench with a dumbbell held above your chest. Inhale and lower the weight behind your head while keeping your arms extended. Exhale and return the weight back above your chest.

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Incline Cable Fly

Lie with your back on an incline bench and your feet placed on the ground. Start with a cable handle in each hand above you with your elbows slightly bent. Lower the handles to your sides. Exhale and bring the weights back to the starting position.

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Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie on a incline bench with your feet securely on the ground. While holding the dumbbells over your chest, exhale and push the weights up by extending your arms. Do not lock out your arms.

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Incline Dumbbell Fly

Lie on an incline bench with your feet placed on the ground. Start with a dumbbell in each hand above your chest with your elbows slightly bent. Lower the handles to your sides. Exhale and bring the weights back to the starting position.

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Lying Dumbbell Fly

Lie with your back on a flat bench with your feet placed on the ground. Start with a dumbbell in each hand above you with your elbows slightly bent. Lower the weights to your sides. Exhale and bring the weights back to the starting position.

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Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie on a flat bench with your knees bent and feet up. While holding the dumbbells at chest height and palms away from you, exhale and push the weights up by extending your arms.

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Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the ground. Hold one dumbbell at chest height, exhale and push the weight up by extending your arms. Keep your other arm to your side.

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Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Lie on a flat bench with two dumbbells pressed together. Lower dumbbells to right above your chest. Exhale and push the weight up by extending your arms. Don't lock out your arms.

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W Dumbbell Press

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, start with arms bent. At the starting position it should look like a W. Exhale and press the dumbbells over your head by straightening your arms. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

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Related

Bodyweight Chest Exercises

When talking about dumbbell and barbell chest exercises, we emphasized that most workouts came down to a modification of a few things. The first is that a majority of the workouts can be tied back to either a press or a fly. This would seem limiting, but adding incline and decline introduces a larger variety of workouts. Finally, with barbell chest exercises we discussed that different hand positioning could target different areas of the chest (or even take a chest exercise and turn it into a tricep exercise). Without any equipment, flyes become more difficult to improvise – not impossible, but definitely more difficult. We know the push-up is a trusted ‘press’ exercise. Let’s discuss how to modify bodyweight chest exercises to help them target the entire chest.

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Barbell Chest Exercises

These are going to show-up in almost every chest workout routine. It’s a staple. Barbell chest exercises are some of the most popular exercises in the weight room. They are great for adding strength in size. You can hit all parts of your chest. Simply put, these exercises work your chest out better than most other chest exercises out there. Whether you’re already incorporating these exercises into your chest workouts, or if you’re just getting started with them, take a look at some of our tips below.

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