The dumbbell chest press is a classic and effective upper body strength exercise that will develop upper body strength for increased exercise performance.
The dumbbell chest press is a classic free weight exercise for upper body strength and pectoral (chest muscle) development.
The bench can be adjusted to incline (and decline) to target different areas of the pectoral muscles.
Grab two suitably heavy dumbbells, curl them to your chest, and lie back on the bench
Engage your core, set the shoulders, and turn the dumbbells so that the fingers are facing forwards. Position the dumbbells so that the elbows are bent to 90 degrees and in line with the shoulders. The dumbbells should sit close to the armpits (a maximum stretch for the chest). This is the starting position for the dumbbell chest press.
Keeping the core engaged and low back in neutral, press the dumbbells straight up and in towards each other, squeezing the chest muscles as you press. Pause at the top before returning to the start position.
Repeat for reps or time.
The dumbbell chest press has long been considered the king of upper body strength exercises and is traditionally performed with a barbell. The use of dumbbells provides several significant differences and benefits.
Firstly, dumbbells require greater work from the shoulders to stabilise the ‘free’ weights. This makes the exercise ‘feel’ heavier, therefore requiring lower loads and lower risk of injury. Lower loads will also place a greater focus on technique.
Secondly, the use of two separate weights allows for greater feedback which can help to minimise muscular imbalances between the left and right shoulders/arms. Poor technique and injury can both cause differences in strength between right/left sides of the body. The use of dumbbells can help to pick out these differences, subsequently allowing for greater focus on the weaker muscles.
Finally, the use of dumbbells allows for a greater variety of functional movement, including single-arm and alternate arm pressing, as well as the ability to quickly change the grip and position of the dumbbells.