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7 Effective Chest Workouts with Dumbbells for Male Bodybuilders

Best chest workouts with dumbbells for male bodybuilders. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Joseph Wayne Buchanan)
Best chest workouts with dumbbells for male bodybuilders. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Joseph Wayne Buchanan)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

You should incorporate chest workouts with dumbbells in your routine if you want a strong, well-shaped chest. The idea behind chest workouts is to ensure the upper chest and lower chest muscles are worked with equal intensity. This is how you get the roundness of a well-built chest.

While barbells and machines are good for chest muscles, using dumbbells activates the smaller muscles as well since each hand supports one weight. Moreover, the core engages for better stability and the shoulder joints become stronger for the additional balance.


7 chest workouts with dumbbells

As a male bodybuilder, you always want to ensure your pec muscles are big and strong and that chest gains are properly visible. So, while you focus on the barbell, you must use the dumbbells as well.

Dumbbell bench press

Using dumbbells for bench press will allow you to have a wider range of motion than barbells. Additionally, the pec muscles will need to support the weight with greater resistance than they would with a barbell, resulting in muscle fibers becoming thicker during recovery. The upper part of the chest muscle, Pectoralis Major, works during this exercise.

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Incline dumbbell chest press

The incline dumbbell bench press works on the upper part of the chest muscles as well as on the shoulders. This is a good compound movement if you want to increase shoulder strength while building bigger chest muscles.

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Decline dumbbell chest press

This particular exercise works on the lower part of the chest. However, be careful while doing this movement, since your head is lower than your waist at this point. You could risk injuries if you’re using a weight heavier than your muscles can support.

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Dumbbell flyes

This particular exercise should never be skipped. Dumbbell flyes allow you to stretch the pec muscles and increase the load on the muscles. This helps with improving core stability and chest definition.

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Crush grip dumbbell bench press

You hold the dumbbells close together, press them against each other, and push them upwards with your chest muscles. This motion activates smaller muscles, and is great for activation and contraction of the chest muscles.

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Dumbbell pull-overs

In this chest workout with dumbbells, you work your lats as well. Hence, this motion can be used during back days as well. But, to increase pressure on your chest muscles, bend your hands from the elbows when moving the weight backwards. On back days, keep your arms straight.

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Alternate dumbbell press

In this exercise, hold both weights slightly above your chest. Now, while keeping one hand in that position, do a dumbbell chest press with the other. This allows one part of the chest to be constantly engaged while the other activates and contracts. Repeat on the other side. This exercise helps to improve muscle endurance for the pec muscles.

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Benefits of chest workouts with dumbbells

Range of motion

A dumbbell allows you to have a greater range of motion as the dumbbells move along the side of the torso. On the other hand, a barbell touches your flared chest, restricting the range of motion.

Equal stress on joints

When you workout with a barbell, even though both sides have equal weights, ultimately one side of your chest muscles takes on more pressure than the other. This results in one shoulder joint and wrist joint working with more stress. You can dismiss this unequal distribution of pressure and stress by using dumbbells.

Better balance and strength

As mentioned above, when you hold dumbbells in each hand, the body works towards securing a better balance and strength to support individual weights. Since equal force is at play, you won’t be able to push more than your weaker side can handle. In fact, chest workouts with dumbbells ensure that the entire chest muscle is developing with proper definition.

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Pecs work harder

Barbell does not allow the weight to drift apart. Hence, when you’re at the top of the motion, your pec muscles can disengage for a while. On the other hand, when you’re using a pair of dumbbells, it will require your pecs to constantly keep working throughout the entire movement to prevent the weights from drifting.


Bottom line

No one claims that chest workouts with dumbbells are better than chest workouts with barbells. However, including both dumbbells and barbells in your workout routine will help with growing the bigger and the smaller muscles that define the chest.

Also, remember to warm-up and cool down before and after every workout respectively. Finally, give your chest muscles at least 48 hours of rest before working on them again.


Edited by Sabine Algur

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