Dumbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press is probably the best chest exercise for muscle growth. With the dumbbell bench press you get slightly more range of motion that with a barbell bench press, and because your arms are working independently, you use more of the smaller stabilizing muscles. Also, becuase with the dumbell bench press your shoulders choose their own angles of ascent and decent, there's less chance of an injury.

How to perform the dumbell bench press

Setup for the dumbell bench press. Grab a pair of dumbells and lie face up on the bench, with your feet firmly set on the floor. Hold the dumbells with your palms facing your feet (your thumbs turned in). The inner edges of the dumbells should lightly touch the outside-middle of your chest.

dumbell bench press start

While keeping your wrists straight, push the dumbells straight up until your arms are almost fully extended (Don't lock your elbows). The dumbells should come close together at the top position, but they must not touch! This takes the tension off your chest muscles. Pause, and slowly lower the weights to the starting position.

dumbell bench press finish

Dumbell Bench press tips and safety advice

  1. The dumbell bench press can be done on an incline (more emphasis on your upper chest muscles) or a decline (more emphasis on your lower chest muscles)
  2. When executing the dumbell bench press, try to move the weights to form a triangle shape. Start at the bottom of the triangle and move up to the tip.
  3. When lifting heavier dumbells, it's hard to get into position. Overcome this by sitting upright with the dumbells resting vertically on your knees. Hold your arms in tight, and rock back until you're lying flat. Then extend upwards. When you have finished the set, (lightly!) drop the dumbells on the floor beside the bench.
  4. As always, with the dumbell bench press, if you're not sure you can handle a whole set comfortably use a spotter! Safety first!