You do not necessarily need a barbell to develop large pectoral muscles. Learn how to build a perfect chest with dumbbells by following these 6 simple tips.
These 6 tips on how to build a perfect chest with dumbbells were shared by Jeff Cavaliere.
Jeff Cavaliere was the Chief Physiotherapist for the New York Mets for 3 years and is now a YouTube sensation. He delivers clear information without noise on his ATHLEAN-X YouTube channel.
Watch the full video, or check out the top tips below.
How to build a perfect chest with dumbbells
Read more: 15 chest exercises classified as worst to Best
Tip 1 – Bendrev
When your feet are on the floor when doing dumbbell bench presses, you will want them placed as if you were sliding up the bench. Usually you do this when holding a barbell because you have a hook to leave the barbell at the end of the exercise, but you should try to mimic the movement by running your body with your legs.
Important note: weights must be heavy enough to hold the shoulders firmly on the bench.
Tip 2 – Get more relevant adduction
Try to carry the dumbbells with your thumbs instead of with your pinkies. This way you will squeeze your chest out by bringing your hands close together. That way, your breast will get more contraction and it will pay off rep after repetition.
Tip 3 – Turn the lever
If you do not have an incline bench, you can target your upper chest by simply turning the grip on the dumbbells by performing under hip dumbbell bench press.
Tip 4 – Drop set
Making drop sets are useful for building muscle and increasing its size. Using a barbell will cost you precious seconds to take some weight plates out of the barbell. But with dumbbells, you can just grab a lighter pair and go straight into your drop set.
Jeff Cavaliere goes even further and likes to push a few push-ups out after doing a drop set to tire the muscle to failure.
Tip 5 – Static dumbbell press
Lift one dumbbell at a time when pressing instead of both at the same time. Hold a dumbbell high in the air while slowly lowering one to finish a rep.
This reveals any one-sided weaknesses you may have. You need to correct your muscle imbalances, and this minor adjustment you can make will provide just that.
Finally, hold both dumbbells at the bottom of the isometric position for a few seconds before completing the exercise. You can again do push-ups to failure eventually.
Tip 6 – Static dumbbell press with focus on the bottom of the movement
This is the same idea as tip 5, but this time you keep the dumbbell at the bottom of the exercise when you press one dumbbell at a time.
“The cross works even harder at the bottom position than it would be at the top, and that makes this whole sequence that much more difficult,” Cavaliere says.
Tip 6 – Include these 3 exercises
- Dumbbell pullover – but do this exercise with your elbows close together and run it with your upper chest.
- UCV Elevation – this gets another good contraction in adduction. Lift the dumbbell up and across your body. It is a low to high and transverse movement, which gives you a great contraction of the upper chest.
- Floor breast flye – Use the floor to protect your shoulders as your arms come down along the side. This way you are able to increase the weight of the dumbbells and