Dumbbell Bench Press Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Dumbbell
  • Compound
  • Push (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Shoulders, Triceps
Chest Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Pick up the dumbbells off the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the ends of the dumbbells in your hip crease, and sit down on the bench.
  2. To get into position, lay back and keep the weights close to your chest. Once you are in position, take a deep breath, and press the dumbbells to lockout at the top.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells under control as far as comfortably possible (the handles should be about level with your chest).
  4. Contract the chest and push the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

**Dropping the dumbbells to the side is discouraged unless you are experienced with the technique or using excessively heavy weights.

**Ideally you should twist the dumbbells back to neutral (palms facing each other), bring your knees up so the ends of the dumbbells are touching your thighs, then use the weight of the dumbbells to rock back to an upright, seated position.

Exercise Tips

  1. Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.
  2. Keep the weights slightly tilted at a 45 degree angle in order to keep the elbows in a neutral position.
  3. Don’t allow the dumbbells to collide at the top of each rep - bouncing them together may cause you to lose stability within the shoulder and injure yourself.
  4. Squeeze the dumbbells as tight as possible to improve a phenomenon known as “irradiation” which promotes greater shoulder stability.
  5. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to ensure the shoulders remain in a safe position.
  6. Imagine you’re trying to push yourself away from the weights rather than pushing the weights away from yourself.
  7. If you’re feeling pain within the shoulder joint itself (specifically at the front), ensure your shoulder blades are slightly retracted and try to keep the shoulder girdle “packed”.
  8. Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to arch excessively.
  9. Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t allow the lower body to move during the set.

Join over 500k subscribers who receive weekly workouts, diet plans, videos and expert guides from Muscle & Strength.


40 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 12/08/2014 - 13:14

Can we substitute the dumbells with a bar and weights like a regular bench press but lower weight?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/03/2016 - 19:18

As the hodgetwins would say "do whatever the F you wanna do!"

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/14/2014 - 01:03

Hi, any diet tips?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:16
Jen D

Why do I see some people only go to 90 degrees. When I asked they said that if I broke 90 it would cause too much shoulder strain. Thoughts?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 03/01/2014 - 13:54

Ok, probably a silly question here, but does it matter how you complete the sets? Do you do all 3 sets of the 1st listed exercise & then move onto the next listed exercise? Or do you do 1 set of each exercise listed in order, then start over for 2nd & 3rd sets?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 10/20/2013 - 15:55

What do you advice as starting weight for women?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 11/04/2013 - 18:54
Cameron Dietrich

Depends on what you're looking for, if you're looking to build strength, target a rep range like 6-12 then pick the lowest weight at which you can obtain 6 reps with perfect form, then work on that weight until you can hit 12 on that first set, once that happens bump the weight up a bit more, rinse, repeat.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:21

Do u perform 3 sets of drop sets on week 2

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 06/10/2013 - 15:20
Les Laxson

How do you go about find the correct weight you should use when working out. I would usually just target a certain percentage of my max lift weight for whatever results I was looking for endurance, strength or Mass, etc.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 02/21/2016 - 16:11
joel miller

im 65 yrs old shoud i not lift real heavy

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/28/2013 - 18:37

Can I do this on the bed? because I dont have any chair or table to do this ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/26/2013 - 11:06

can i do this exercise with only 1 dummbell ? if so how can i perform it

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 13:52
chris soza

HI two questions if any can answer them, are 20 pounds dumbells good to start off with as a beginner? and what if i dont have a bench, what else good i use substitute?.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 07:48
shiva reddy

every set of body parts have different sizes , for ur chest u have to do daily flat flys with 5 kg , what ever ur workout may be , first do flys then go for ur workout ... u will see differece in 3 weeks....

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 03/09/2013 - 06:13

doing the 12 week beginers program are those sets a miss print is it 21 sets or 2 sets for the first 3 exercises on the table for weeks 4 to 6 of the program

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/07/2013 - 18:30

I started as a male a couple months ago and started on 5kgs. Dumbbell presses look a lot easier to master than they are (especially if you overload yourself) so start low on something like 3-4 kgs until u get the technique then move up when you feel you can.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 02/18/2013 - 16:17

What is a good weight dumbbell for a beginner, female, who wants to build muscle?

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 02/12/2013 - 13:59

No, Nicholas. In my opinion if you're going to bother with anything at all just invest in some gear. Nothing wrong with using the dumbbells and pushups etc, but you're not going to get very far at all. Might see some improvement over a relatively short period of time, then it will stop. Sure, you can maintain it but you wont improve any further without more weight. Commit, do it right, or it's a waste. ;)

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 01/29/2013 - 18:16

I searched for a dumbbell only workout and found this. It shouldn't be in that workout, because you need dumbbells as well as an exercise bench. I don't live close to any gyms and don't have a bench. Does anyone know some good chest workouts I can do?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/20/2013 - 22:50

You could use a cooler as a bench it does the same pretty much as a bench ..

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 09:12

for chest work out.how many days should i perform for 1 week. is it OK to work out everyday? or every other day?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 12/10/2012 - 14:34
Fabrizio Bianchi

Is it wrong to turn the dumbbells parallel to each other towards the end of the movement?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 11/04/2012 - 17:31

I don't have a weight bench, any alternatives? Thought on stability ball?

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:17

The stability ball will work well. Eventually you'll need a bench to be able to push more weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 10:34

I dont have a bench and i noticed that you already included floor presses on a later day in the workout. Can i substitute floor presses again here or is there another good exercise i can substitute here without a bench.

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:16

Floor press is a good substitute. Eventually, you'll want to invest in a bench to be able to push more weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/17/2012 - 06:38

I dont understand when you say, DO NOT DROP THE DUMBELLS, recently I have moved up to 40kg each an dont see any other way to drop them.

pls advice, tnx

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/23/2012 - 07:30

If I don't have the bench, can I don't other exercises which the result is the same as this one?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 11/18/2012 - 05:50

Same as you. What should I do if I don't have the bench and just Dumbbells? Any suggestion?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 07/08/2013 - 11:16
Oleksiy Kovyrin

You could use Dumbell Floor Press (https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/dumbbell-floor-press.html) for quite some time, though eventually you would need to get a bench to be able to push more weight.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/13/2013 - 19:51

Nasir: Some push ups would be a good replacement

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/11/2012 - 03:58
jinder nagra

i got a machine at home but it doesn't help. people any tips?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 05/27/2012 - 19:50

Should you keep your shoulder blades back (the same as when doing barbell bench press), when doing dumbbell bench press

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:01

does this transform fat chest into a chest definition?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/13/2012 - 14:47

As a general rule, muscle does not replace fat. You're likely to lose fat from weight training because the increased muscle mass will raise your metabolism, and you're burning more calories. You'll also likely gain the illusion of having less fat because of the increased surface area of muscle. Your fat will be more spread out, which appears as if you have less fat. So, this exercise should in theory give you more muscle definition, but you should also be losing fat by following a weight training diet. You are following one, aren't you?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/28/2012 - 22:30

Would it be just as effective for the chest with the palms facing each other?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/22/2012 - 18:51

Is it OK to do this with only one arm at a time? What adjustments, if any, should I make to accommodate for only have a single dumbbell to use?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/20/2012 - 21:39

i have an issue with my left pec being larger and stronger than my right pec. if i do this excersize, will they eventually even out?

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 10/20/2012 - 21:41
zohirul islam

you should work your right pec more then you left pec using dumbbells. Use one dumbbell on your left pack but don't lift the weight, just use it for balance and work you right pec until you fell that both pec's are even.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 11/17/2013 - 03:26
juan espinoza

thats a great advice, i feel that that my right arm is lighter then my left...need to work more my right arm
thanks for the tip