Here’s a dumbbell chest workout you can do with just a weight bench and some dumbbells to carve out your own classic, symmetrical chest – top to bottom – side to side – without ever stepping foot on muscle beach.

When we think of the Golden Era and its approach to chest training we often think about training with barbells under heavy loads. However, these icons relied heavily on a wide range of dumbbell exercises like the dumbbell floor press, the dumbbell fly, dumbbell pullover and the incline dumbbell chest press just name a few …

Don’t think because all you have is a pair of dumbbells or even an adjustable dumbbell you can’t get the job done. With this approach to chest training, dumbbells offer: improved range of motion, increased core stability, can reveal a muscle imbalance, and are often easier on the shoulder joints.

Just because we’re using a pair of dumbbells doesn’t mean we can’t use heavy loads and still train the entire chest. At the end of the day guys it’s all about stimulating the muscle fiber, your body doesn’t know the difference.

We start the chest workout by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and heading to the adjustable bench, this time keeping it flat, as we perform the staple pressing movement for mass – the dumbbell bench press. Here, the focus should be on pressing heavy weights and letting tension overload be the main driver of your chest gains.

I grab a pair of dumbbells that I can use for a dumbbell push-up. The dumbbells allow greater range of motion on every rep, letting me sink my body lower than usual and prolonging that stretch to ensure increasing time under tension that you don’t find with a regular pushup. And this time, we target the lower pecs with the definitive mass building lower chest exercise – the dip. I take the opportunity to drive growth through tension overload and the addition of weight to the exercise – in the form of a dumbbell held between my feet.

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I recommend you perform a set with a weight that will cause failure around 6-8 repetitions, making sure that you keep your shoulder blades back and down to prevent issues that could come from doing this with rounded shoulders.

Reaching failure, I drop the dumbbell and rep out once again with just my body weight. Again, you should continue to be thinking about tucking those shoulder blades into your back pocket and keeping them there to ensure shoulder safety even when muscle fatigue on the back end of this drop set sets in.

One of the best ways to hit the upper chest, the clavicular fibers is to prop the bench up to about a 30 degree angle and perform another chest exercise combo that utilizes only one dumbbell. This is the crush grip dumbbell press, a variation of the bench press performed from the incline position. 

The goal here is to grab a dumbbell weight that is a little heavier than what you would normally use on a traditional two handed incline dumbbell chest press, as a single dumbbell held with both hands.

We can continue to hit the fibers of the upper pecs with yet another body weight chest exercise: the decline push-up. The downward angle of my body here creates an arm travel from low and away to up and in – the same exact angle that is required to maximize recruitment of the upper chest fibers.

Next up, we have a variation of one of the most iconic chest exercises, but done on the floor instead; the floor fly. The safety net of the floor that prevents excessive stress on the anterior shoulder capsule at the bottom of the rep. Use heavier weights than what's typically used on this movement.
That is another dumbbell chest exercise that people often confuse as JUST a back exercise. We're talking about the dumbbell upper chest pullover. The golden era bodybuilders knew very well the benefits of hammering the pec minor. Allowing the elbows to flare or drift outside the plane of the shoulders will shift the focus to the lats and minimize the contribution of the pectoralis minor.

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If you think about squeezing your biceps together throughout the exercise and turning the backs of your hands towards each other as you raise the weight up, you'll activate the right muscle. Tension is greatest on the pecs when the dumbbell stops at about a 45-degree angle from my body at the end of the rep.

Lighter weights are advised here since the pec minor doesn't require as much of a heavier load as it does good activation and focused

Here is the dumbbell chest workout:

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press x 5-6 reps to failure into Dumbbell Push-Ups x failure (3 Sets)
Weighted Pause Dips x 6-8 reps to failure into BW Dips x failure (3 Sets)
Incline Crush Grip Dumbbell Press x 8-10 reps to failure into Decline Push-Ups x failure (3 Sets)
Dumbbell Floor Flys x 8-10 reps to failure into Phelps Press (Eccentric Floor Fly) x failure (3 Sets)
Dumbbell Upper Chest Pullovers x 10-12 Reps (2-3 Sets)

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23 thoughts on “The Best Dumbbell Chest Workout (SYMMETRICAL PECS!)”
  1. *VIEWER GIVEAWAY* – I’m giving away my brand new complete 90 Day Beaxst PPL program to 40 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 40, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! Clicking twice does nothing. Only one entry per video. Remember to watch to the end for more workouts.

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    1. No success either – but remember, it’s NOT the first 40 clicking (according to the giveaway instructions) … with that said I don’t remember ever reading in the comments someone who actually got it, have you?

  2. this is awesome for me, since i only have access to the gym at my job. meaning that i only have dumbbells to use, and not really heavy ones either, making this great for me to incorporate!

  3. You look amazing like always!! Thank you for doing this all for free for us.

  4. would love this kind of video for all the muscle groups. adjustable dumbbell squad unite!

  5. Thanks Jeff…I’ve always preferred dumbbell chest workouts….this video gave me a couple new movements to get me out of my “rut”…appreciate you man!

  6. New to the channel, I appreciate the technical knowledge/explanation and the humor, looking forward to learning and growing!

  7. 100% the best fitness expert on YouTube. Certainly one of the very few who emphasizes safety and proper form.

  8. Jeff, could you do a series of dumbbell focused workouts like this with other muscle groups? Great video!

  9. Little tip for beginners if you struggle at first, perform the bodyweight excersizes before the dumbel excersizes. Personally, when I do the weighted versions first, my body is too fatigued to perform the bodyweight versions as they usually require more stabilisation as well as muscle strength. This is especially helpful on the dips, which as Jeff explained, can be a little dangerous for the shoulders if performed wrong.

  10. Floor work made a huge difference and let me get over the mental block of “this is too heavy” and fearing getting hurt. As always, thank you for making us all better all around.

  11. This is such an awesome video Jeff, thanks. I’ve been looking for a dumbbell chest workout that I could do at home with my adjustable dumbbells and bench. This, as always, comes through strong. Thanks bro

  12. 1:00 Flat Dumbbell Bench Press x 5-6 reps to failure into
    1:35 Dumbbell Push-Ups x failure (3 Sets)
    2:25 Weighted Pause Dips x 6-8 reps to failure into
    3:07 BW Dips x failure (3 Sets)
    3:45 Incline Crush Grip Dumbbell Press x 8-10 reps to failure into
    4:47 Decline Push-Ups x failure (3 Sets)
    5:25 Dumbbell Floor Flys x 8-10 reps to failure into
    6:25 Phelps Press (Eccentric Floor Fly) x failure (3 Sets)
    6:55 Dumbbell Upper Chest Pullovers x 10-12 Reps (2-3 Sets)

    1. @Paul Christie  it’s not a full workout just chest exercises that you can do with Dumbbell

    2. ​@mohamad akil bloody hell. I thought I was going to do all these chest workouts on Monday

  13. My man Jeff. Changing lives for the better, across the globe! Showed me that I don’t need a gym membership to have an organised exercise regime – thank you for all you have shown us! Currently concentrating on a full body home routine I’ve adopted from your video, been going strong four days a week, for 4 months now, diet is on point, lost 25 pounds and my strength and technique has improved dramatically.

  14. Sensei Jeff, thanks for another great video. I’m very fond of dumbbell exercices myself, so I’m definitely gonna try.

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