Dumbbell Chest Workout: 5 Best Exercises to Grow Your Chest

Dumbbell Chest Workout: 5 Best Exercises to Grow Your Chest

A Guide to a Dumbbell Chest Workout

Are you stuck at home with the gyms closed, or do you want to do a quick workout at home just to get that chest pump, and all you have is some dumbbells? Well, in this dumbbell chest workout, I will give you the 5 best exercises to grow your chest.

Disclaimer – Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not establish any kind of personal trainer-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from or related to your use of this information. You should consult a physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician prior to starting any workout or nutrition program.

Before we get into the exercises, I need you to understand the chest muscle fibers so that your workout is on point!

The Insertion Point of the Chest Muscle

The insertion points is defined by Sports-Health as:

A muscle has two ends that each attaches to the bone: the muscle’s origin and the muscle’s insertion. At both of these points, tendons attach the muscle to bone.

Muscle insertion refers to a muscle’s distal attachment—the end of the muscle furthest away from the torso. For example, the bicep insertion occurs at the elbow.

The Origin of the Chest Muscle

The origin is defined by Sports-Health as :

Muscle origin refers to a muscle’s proximal attachment—the end of the muscle closest to the torso. For example, the bicep muscle’s origin is located at the shoulder.

The Upper Chest Insertion Point and Origin

Upper chest Muscle. Insertion Point and Origin

The origin point of the upper pec is at the collar bone or clavicle (kenhub)

The Insertion point is the same for the entire pectoral muscle at the humerus bone.

The Lower and Middle Chest Insertion Point and Origin

Chest muscle insertion point and origin

The Insertion point of the lower chest and middle chest originates from three areas (Wikipedia)

  • Outside of the sternum
  •  The cartilage of the top six ribs
  •  External Oblique

The Insertion point is the same for the entire pectoral muscle at the humerus bone.

Why do you need to know about the Insertion Point and Origin?

Knowing this will help you maximize the growth of your muscle because you will know which direction to move in order to contract the muscle properly. Whenever you are contracting the muscle, focus on bringing the Insertion Point to the Origin. As I tell my clients, visualize contracting those two points together, slowly.

Follow the Fibers During Your Chest Muscle Workout

To illustrate, pay particular attention to the way in which the muscle fibers are running. In short, these are the striations of the muscle.

Chest muscle Follow the Fiber for growth workout
Muscle fibers lower chest

Why do you need to know about following the fibers?

Similar to knowing about the insertion point and origin, following the muscle fiber is equally as important. I constantly remind my clients to follow the fiber. In addition, as you are working out the muscle, remember to contract the muscle in direction of the muscle fibers. To understand the direction in which they are going will allow you to maximize chest muscle growth.

In addition, I tell my clients to research the particular muscle before the training session. Make it a habit to look online prior to working out the way in which the muscle fibers run, then apply that to your workout. It will make a huge difference in chest muscle growth! Even prior to the exercise, I will spend a few moments online with my client searching for the term “Insertion point of Chest muscle,” or “Origin of the chest muscle,” or “Muscle fibers of the chest muscle.” You can also find these diagrams on this blog post on my website at www.fitmanfitness.com.

Now that you know about the insertion point, origin, and how to follow the fibers, you now can apply that to your workout. Before you begin any rigorous exercise it is best to consult a physician. You never know what is going on internally with your body, such as high blood pressure.

To begin your workout, you must warm-up the muscles

Warm-up your chest muscles to begin your chest muscle workout

Warming up your muscles is essential to having a great workout. If you do not warm up your chest muscles prior to applying resistance training, your muscles are more susceptible to muscle strains and pulls.

In addition, your “endurance will be compromised.” 1 Cramp and muscle fatigue can occur because you will experience a buildup of lactic acid more rapidly.

So, I usually advise my clients to get on the treadmill for 15 minutes, and as you are walking contract their chest muscles by opening and closing your arms. If you do not have a treadmill, do several sets of jumping jacks or high steps, but as you are jumping, bring your arms in front of you and contract your chest muscles. This will help to get your heart rate up, thus delivering more oxygen to the muscles and organs, and it opens up capillaries for additional blood flow.

Keep in mind that stretching and warming up are two different things. Stretching refers to stretching the chest muscle to prevent muscle strains and pulls. In contrast, warming-up refers to raising the temperature of the body.

Packing the Shoulders during your chest muscle workout

Before we begin the exercises, there is one more crucial thing I need you to learn.

I wished someone would have explained this to me years ago, and that is the concept of “packing the shoulders.”

Watch this video so you will understand what it means as I will be applying this concept to the workouts. This is a 5-minute video, but this is vital as you move forward with a lean muscle gain routine.

Now, on to the chest building exercises!

Dumbbell Chest Workout Exercise #1 – The Incline Press

The incline press is one of my personal favorite chest muscle exercises. Many guys are lacking in the upper chest, and with this exercise, you can build lean upper chest muscle. I believe some confuse this exercise with the incline chest fly which I will explain after this exercise. Here is a step by step on the proper way to perform the Dumbbell incline press.

Incline Dumbbell Press Fit Man FItness
Step 1

To begin, prepare the bench and weight set. Next, put the incline bench at a 45-75 degree angle. You can use a regular incline bench. If you are using heavyweight, please use a spotter. Start light with the weight selection if you are just beginning.

Tip – The purpose of this exercise is to work out your upper chest. So, put your bench at an incline. But, if you don’t have an incline bench, find something you can lean against. At times I don’t have an incline bench to perform this exercise, so I will lean against the edge of a bed and use my bent legs as the way I adjust my incline.

Step 2

 Sit on the bench and prepare for the sets! When sitting on the bench, make sure you “pack your shoulders,” with your shoulders back and down. Your body needs to be positioned correctly as this will help you gain lean muscle. Keep your feet planted on the ground as your planted feet act as a foundation for you to push the dumbbells up.

Step 3

Finally, perform the set! While seated on the bench, place both dumbells on your knees. If you are using heavy weight, pop each weight up in the air from your knees, or use the spotter. Pay attention to where you place your hands. Also, keep your hands at a 90-degree angle as you lower the weight. Bring the weights down to about chest level, then push up. Next, contract your hands up and together. Focus on following the fiber and contacting the upper chest muscle.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Exercise #2 – Dumbbell Incline Chest Fly

The Dumbbell incline fly is a great exercise to really stretch the upper chest muscle and get a full contraction. Do not confuse this exercise with the Dumbbell Chest Press. The incline fly and the incline press focus on separate actions of the chest. The press trains your muscles’ ability to push the weight. In contrast, the fly trains your ability to adduct or bring the shoulders and chest toward the center of the body. (Livstrong) This is the Incline Chest Fly.

Incline Flys to build upper chest  dumbbells Fit Man Fitness
Step 1

Prepare the bench and get a set of medium to light dumbbells. Put the incline bench at a 45-75 degree angle. You can use a regular bench.

Step 2

Ly on the bench, put your shoulders back and down. Next, you will grab a dumbbell in each hand and put the weights out to your sides. Keep your elbows slightly bent through the exercise. See the photo for an illustration of how to perform this exercise. Keep your core activated, and pack your shoulders as you are performing this exercise. Remember, the range of motion is important.

Step 3

Now, bring the weight together from the insertion point at your humerus to the origin at the upper collar bone. Focus on contracting your upper chest muscle. Don’t bring the weight all the way together at the top. Go slow on the contraction and follow the fiber. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps or until failure.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Exercise #3 – The Dumbbell Chest Press

The Dumbbell Chest Press is a great exercise to target the middle chest. Packing your shoulders is an absolute necessity during this exercise.

Dumbbell Chest Press workout Fitmanfitness
Step 1

Grab your desired dumbbell weights, then lie down on the bench. Place the weights straight up in the air, and next pack your shoulders back. Your shoulder blades should be against the bench, and your feet should be planted into the group for a solid foundation.

Step 2

Slowly lower the dumbbell weights down. I need you to focus on your muscle fibers as descirbed above about following the fibers. You will want to stetch those muscle fibers out from insertion point to origin.

Step 3

Lower the weight to a little more than a 90-degree angle. Your hands should be directly above your arm to create a solid base to push the weight. You should be pushing through your heels on the ground, and you should be pushing through back against the bench. You those two points as leverage to push the weight. As you are pushing the weight up, visualize your muscle fibers contracting together. Keep that “mind to muscle” connection.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Exercise #3 – The Dumbbell Chest Fly

The exercise allows you to really squeeze those middle and upper chest muscle fibers together.

Dumbbell chest fly chest workout fitmanfitness
Step 1

Grab your desired dumbbell weights, then lie down on the bench. Place the weights straight up in the air, and next pack your shoulders back. Your shoulder blades should be against the bench, and your feet should be planted into the group for a solid foundation.

Step 2

Similar to the dumbbell press, you are going to lower the weight slowly. However, with the fly, your hands will be twisted. See the illustration above. Go slow, and focus on the fibers stretching as your lower the weight away from your body. Keep a “mind to muscle” connection. Do not keep your arms straight. Instead, seep a slight bend in your arms.

Step 3

Once your lower your weight, bring the weight up. Do not go fast, but simply bring your arms together. Also, focus on bringing your elbow together. By doing so, you will bring the insertion point at the Humerus to the origin at the sternum.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Exercise #3 – The Dumbbell Pullover

This is a great exercise to work the overall chest muscle as well as the lower chest muscle. If you do not have a decline bench to do a decline dumbbell chest fly or press, then use this exercise as an alternate.

Pullover exercise   Fitmanfitness
Step #1

Ly on the bench, and position yourself on the bench so that when arcing the dumbbell behind you, it doesn’t hit the bench. Also, your feet need to be planted into the ground and your shoulder blades planted into the bench.

Step #2

Grasp the dumbbell, palms facing up and your hands will be in a diamond shape around the handlegrip.

Step #3

The movement starts with the dumbbell over your chest, and your elbows should be slightly bent. Next, take in a deep breath, and slowly bring the weight back in an arc-like form. You should stop when your arms are parallel to the bench. Lastly, exhale, and pull the weight back up over your chest.

When performing this exercise, concentrate on squeezing the chest muscle when bringing the weight back up. This exercise also works your back and triceps, but you can still keep a mind-to-muscle connection and focus on chest muscles.

In Conclusion

In summary, using dumbbells is a great way to build your chest, especially if your gym is closed. Remember to focus on contracting the muscle, follow the fibers, pack your shoulders when performing the exercise, and use any of the 5 exercises to build lean chest muscle. If you have any questions, or if you have any topics that you would like me to discuss, please feel free to contact me at www.fitmanfitness.com.

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