Dumbbell Bench Press Video Guide

Exercise Profile

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

Exercise Instructions

  1. The dumbbell bench press is a great exercise for increasing chest, shoulder and tricep size. Set up for the exercise by placing a set of dumbbells at the end of a flat bench.
  2. Pick up the dumbbells off the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the ends of the dumbbells on your thighs, and sit down on the bench.
  3. To get in position you need to rock back pushing the dumbbells back with your thighs and only slightly bending at the elbows. Now you should be in position to start the set. 
  4. Lay back on the bench holding the dumbbells straight up above your chest. This is the starting position for the movement.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells down as far as comfortable possible (the handles should be about level with your chest).
  6. Pause, then contract the chest and push the dumbbells back up. Do not lock your elbows out,
  7. Then repeat for desired reps. Once you have finished the set, DO NOT DROP THE DUMBBELLS! Twist the dumbbells around 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 a seated position.

Dumbbell Bench Press Tips:

  1. The dumbbell press is a great mass builder! Make sure you use the largest range of motion possible. This ensures the muscle is getting a good stretch and contraction.
  2. Do not touch the dumbbells together at the top of the movement, but rather keep them 2-3 inches apart.

40 Comments+ Post Comment

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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?

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Posted Thu, 03/03/2016 - 19:18

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

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Posted Mon, 04/14/2014 - 01:03

Hi, any diet tips?

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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?

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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?

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Posted Sun, 10/20/2013 - 15:55

What do you advice as starting weight for women?

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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.

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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 15:21

Do u perform 3 sets of drop sets on week 2

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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.

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Posted Sun, 02/21/2016 - 16:11
joel miller

im 65 yrs old shoud i not lift real heavy

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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 ?

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Posted Sun, 05/26/2013 - 11:06

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

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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?.

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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....

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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

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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.

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Posted Mon, 02/18/2013 - 16:17

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

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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. ;)

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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?

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Posted Wed, 11/20/2013 - 22:50

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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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Posted Tue, 08/13/2013 - 19:51

Nasir: Some push ups would be a good replacement

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Posted Tue, 09/11/2012 - 03:58
jinder nagra

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

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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

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2012 - 03:01

does this transform fat chest into a chest definition?

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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?

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Posted Sat, 04/28/2012 - 22:30

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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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