Chest Dumbbell Workout

Crowded gyms are the worst nightmare for every trainee, especially when the gym is not well equipped, and has no more than 2 bench presses.
This is the exact moment when a dumbbell workout is most appropriate- you don’t have to load the bar, you just pick the weights up and give them your best go.
Oh, and the dumbbell-only workout will also bring variety to your training and in fact, have a positive de-adapting effect.

How the workout is built

  • At least one exercise, under a different angle, which targets each of the separate zones of the chest musculature.
  • Choose two types of pressing exercises, which will be the first two exercises in the routine
  • Prioritize your weak muscle zones in the beginning of the workout (e.g. if your upper chest is lacking, do incline bench first)
  • Add a fly movement
  • If your goal is muscle mass, stay within the 8-10 repetitions until failure and 3-5 repetitions if your goal is strength.
Exercise Sets Repetitions
Incline dumbbell bench press 5 Warm up-15,12
5 Working sets- 10,8,6
Incline dumbbell flys 3 10
Decline dumbbell bench press 3 12
Horizontal bench flys 3 12

The exercises

Incline dumbbell bench press

The workout starts with a compound movement, focusing on the commonly lacking upper portion of the chest. After an appropriate warm up and two warm up sets of 15 and 12 repetitions with a lower weight, proceed to 3 heavy working sets, ending with a 6-rep set until failure.


  • Sit comfortably on the bench with the dumbbells on your legs
  • Lay down and get the dumbbells by the side of your upper pecs
  • Push the dumbbells up, without touching them at the end of the movement
  • Let the dumbbells go down slowly
  • Proceed to the next repetition


Keep a moderate pace and constant tension on the working muscle.

Incline/horizontal dumbbell flys

After the upper portion has gotten a solid load of weight from the first exercise, we use this fly movement to stretch it out. Use lower weights and focus on a good stretch and contraction.
Same goes for the lower portion. Decline bench, followed by flys.


  • Lay down on the incline bench
  • Extend your arms without locking out the elbow- The elbows are slightly bent and remain static throughout the movement; no elbow extension is observed.
  • Keep the dumbbells’ sides facing one another
  • Let the dumbbells down
  • Open up your ribcage, stretch out the chest musculature
  • Return to initial position while sustaining constant tension on the chest muscles.

Decline dumbbell bench press

This is your second compound movement, where maximum effort should be put for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


  • Lay down on the decline bench comfortably, with your chest slightly puffed
  • Keep your arms extended, without touching the dumbbells and locking out the elbows
  • Let the dumbbells down, slightly below the chest line
  • Push them up to the original position

Important notes

As you can tell by the first choice of exercises, this workout is primarily focused on the upper portion of the chest, so this workout is for those of you who have a weakly developed such.
For others, who have a lacking lower portion of the chest, the appropriate order of the exercises would be decline, horizontal, incline.

Rest times

No specific rest times between sets- Rest for as long as you need to feel recovered and mentally ready for the next set, however, do not rest more than 90 seconds, as the blood in the musculature needs to keep flowing.

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