Dumbbell Bench Press - Pectorals

Dumbbell Bench Press

In this lesson you will learn how to dumbbell bench press on a flat bench. The dumbbell bench press is a free weight exercise that trains the chest muscles (pectorals) in a similar manner to the barbell bench press. It's advantages are that 1) you can go to muscle failure without the help of a training partner (because you can drop your dumbbells sideways) and 2) that you need more strength in order to balance the dumbbells (better for shoulder development). Its main disadvantage is that less weight can be lifted. Find more chest exercises at weight training main.


  • Sit down on the edge of a flat bench and rest 2 dumbbells on your thighs. Then lean back and lie flat onto your bench. Your elbows remain bent as you lean back, so that when your back is on the bench, your dumbbells are in the right position for the first repetition. When you get started, your dumbbells should be at ear height and your thumbs should point to your shoulders. Inhale before you do your first repetition. It is very important that you keep your lower back and your shoulders as close as possible to the bench (keep your shoulders as low as possible).
  • Then push your dumbbells straight up and exhale at the same time. Twist your hands so that you thumbs point back at the highest position. However, some people dumbbell bench press without twisting the hands. Important: Never elevate your lower back or your shoulders. Some people let the dumbbells touch each-other at the highest position. Others try to make sure their chest muscles never lose contraction and therefore don't close their arms that much.
  • Then go back down to the beginning position and inhale slowly. The down motion should be slightly slower than the up motion. Move down as far as you shoulder feel comfortable, but not lower than to ear level.


  • I recommend 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
  • Stretch your shoulders and your chest muscles between sets and exercises.
  • Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth.
  • Superset recommendation: Dumbbell Bench Press & Dumbbell Fly