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Best Dumbbell Exercises for Pectoral Muscles

Dumbbell Bench Press


Dumbbells are a key component of any weight training workout, whether it be building muscle mass, hypertrophy,
strength endurance or building explosive power. Few items of fitness equipment are as adaptable, portable and
designed to fit around the human body as comfortably as dumbbells.
I have 20 plus years experience as a Power lifter and general weight training, I achieved a Universal Challenge Medal and it is my
considered opinion that dumbbells can be used just as efficiently for building chest muscles, as the likes of
bench pressing using multi-gym type machines or a bench pressing barbells Dumbbells also activate smaller, stabilizing muscle
groups that the likes of pre-balanced Multi-Gym stations neglect and never utilize. With all weight training, the poundage of the
dumbbells and the number of 'reps' will be conditional on what kind of personal results the individual is aiming for.


Incline and Decline Press With Dumbbells

Incline Dumbbell Press is the second most important exercise for building Pectoral muscles and is performed in
exactly the same fashion as the bench press, only with the bench at an inclined angle of between 30 degrees and not more
than 45 degrees. If the incline is at more than 45 degrees, the exercise will tend to isolate the shoulder muscles rather than chest muscles.

Decline Press using dumbbells are performed similarly to above only at a declined angle rather than an inclined one. (It's not so complicated - just take a look at some of the specimens who inhabitate commercial gyms) The Decline Press isolates
and builds the lower, supporting chest muscles. Decline Presses are the key to preventing sagging Pectoral
muscles. Control and caution are urged when using a bench at a declined angle. As always, spotters are advised and if your just starting out, start light.


Horizontal bench Dumbbell Flies are a staple of building pectoral muscle and will isolate muscles in roughly the
same discipline at the Multi-Gym Pec Deck. Lying flat on a bench, hold both dumbbells directly above the chest.
Bend the elbows slightly and keep them in that position throughout the exercise. Open arms to sides with elbows
locked in a slightly flexed position. When upper arms are lowered parallel to the floor, return the dumbbells to the
starting position and repeat the exercise to your requirements. Dumbbell Flies are excellent for building lung capacity,
as well as central pectoral muscles.

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Incline Dumbbell Flies are performed exactly as standard flies, only with the bench at a 30 to 45-degree incline
angle. Both flat bench position dumbbell flies and Incline Flies are used by bodybuilders to achieve pectoral
muscle definition.

The Dumbbell Pullover uses only one dumbbell and involves isolating the Pectoralis Major muscle. Dumbbell
Pullovers involve lying on a flat bench, holding your trunk tight and keeping your back straight. Grasp the dumbbell
at one end with both hands with palms up and keeping your wrists straight. While holding the dumbbell above your
chest, lower the dumbbell above and behind your head. Make sure your upper arm remains in line with your body
and lift the dumbbell back to the start position. The Dumbbell Pullover movement should be generated by your
pectorals while minimizing the use of the arm muscles. Variations of the Dumbbell Pullover can be used to build
triceps, posterior deltoid and lat muscles. A recent ABC Bodybuilding Work-out of The Month cited the Pullover as
one of the most efficient exercises for exercising multiple muscle groups, especially for strength athletes with
limited time for work-outs!


The dumbbell exercises outlined above, are the key methods for getting a full chest workout. The individual
strength athlete can calibrate repetitions and poundage of the actual dumbbells to suit their own fitness
requirements. In practice, a slightly lighter set of dumbbells may be required for Incline and Decline Presses.
Despite high tech advances in fitness equipment, the humble dumbbells still have their place and in many cases
they are often the equipment of choice for weight lifters and bodybuilders when performing chest workouts.

Although I tend to use barbells almost exclusively, except for chest and shoulder flies and arm curls, they are useful equipment to have, especially during the past lockdown due to the Covid19 Pandemic, when commercial gyms were closed. There are a wide range of dumbbells on the market right now, some are excellent, other less so. It is entirely possible to achieve a full-body workout with dumbbells alone, utilizing exercises like Romanian Deadlifts.

Bulgarian Deadlifts


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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