A weight bench serves as the the stable base for most dumbbell chest exercises. But weight benches can be expensive; all but a few models retail for over $100. Most weight benches are also too large and sturdy to store; they must become permanent fixtures in some part of your home. If you have dumbbells but not the space or money for a weight bench, you can still do dumbbell chest exercises from improvised platforms around your home.
Stability Ball Chest Press
You can substitute a stability ball, readily available for as little as $20, in place of a bench for most dumbbell chest exercises. Not only is the stability ball less expensive than a weight lifting bench, keeping your body steady on the ball will challenge your core.
To do a stability ball chest press, sit down on the ball with a dumbbell in each hand. Walk yourself forward off the ball, leaning back until the ball supports your upper back. Extend your arms, palms facing down toward your feet, until both weights are directly above your chest. Keep the dumbbells horizontal as you bend your arms, lowering the dumbbells down and out until your elbows are level with your shoulders. Straighten your arms, pushing the dumbbells back up to the starting position.
Dumbbell flys isolate your pecs. If you don’t have a weight bench at your disposal, you can do dumbbell flys on your bed.
To do dumbbell flyes on the bed lie down faceup, one dumbbell in each hand. Your elbows should be slightly bent as you bring your hands together above your chest, palms facing in, elbows pointing out as if you were hugging a very skinny tree. Spread both arms apart as if they were the covers of a book, maintaining the very slight bend in your elbows. Stop just as your elbows contact the bed, then reverse the motion back to the starting position.
The dumbbell pullover is a complete exercise that works not just your chest but your lats, shoulders and arms, too. Ideally you’d do a pullover lying across a weight bench, but lacking that apparatus you can do it lying on the floor. If possible, stack a few pillows up to elevate your shoulders slightly.
Lie down with your shoulders across the pillows. Hold one dumbbell in both hands. Extend the dumbbell straight overhead, then, keeping your arms straight but not locked, lower the dumbbell behind your head. Stop when your elbows are level with your head or just before the dumbbell contacts the floor, whichever happens first. Reverse the motion back to the starting position. Repeat.