How to Work Out the Chest With Dumbbells

Written by tammy domeier
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How to Work Out the Chest With Dumbbells
Using dumbbells can effectively work the chest. (two black dumbbells image by msw from Fotolia.com)

You can use dumbbell chest exercises to increase mass, muscle endurance, or explosive power. Using dumbbells properly prevents muscle imbalances by engaging stabilising muscles. The type of dumbbells you use, the weight and the repetitions depend on your desired outcome. The two main chest muscles are the pectoralis major, the larger muscle covering the anterior of the chest, and the pectoralis minor, covering the first three ribs and located under the pectoralis major. The dumbbell press and dumbbell flye are two basic exercises that will give you a solid foundation of muscle mass and strength for these two muscles.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Have a spotter hand you two dumbbells and lie down on the bench.

  2. 2

    Hold the dumbbells above your chest with arms outstretched but with elbows bent at a slight angle. Point your elbows out to the side.

  3. 3

    Extend the dumbbells to the sides of your chest until you feel a stretch in your chest. Keep your elbows slightly bent and pointed down.

  4. 4

    Bring the dumbbells back up until they are nearly together. Hold for one count.

  5. 5

    Repeat 10-12 times for each set.

  1. 1

    Have a spotter hand you two dumbbells and lie down on the bench.

  2. 2

    Position the dumbbells to the sides of your chest with your arms bent.

  3. 3

    Press the dumbbells up until your arms are extended, following a slight inward arc with the dumbbells, bringing the dumbbells together at the top. Hold for one count.

  4. 4

    Lower the dumbbells to your sides in a controlled fashion until you feel a slight stretch in your chest.

  5. 5

    Repeat 10-12 times for each set.

Tips and warnings

  • Dumbbell presses and flyes primarily work the pectorals and secondarily the triceps and front deltoids, although dumbbell flyes emphasise the outer pectorals. To build more mass in the upper pectorals, use an incline bench.
  • Start by using dumbbells that you can comfortably lift for 12 to 15 repetitions. As you become stronger, you can increase the weight.
  • Do not hold your breath while lifting weights. It can lead to increased blood pressure. Breathe out as you lift the dumbbells and breathe in as you lower them.
  • If you are arching your back, you are using too much weight.
  • Dumbbells have a slightly higher risk of injury than machines. If you are just starting out, have a trainer demonstrate proper technique. If you have been using dumbbells for a while, ask for tips on how to improve your technique.

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