The Only 4 Chest and Arms Exercises You Need for the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge

Our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge chest and arm workout will add some new moves to your upper-body routine.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

The 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge builds strength from head to toe. Get all the details on the challenge here.

Let's face it: Push-ups get boring after a while. And even though they're the best body-weight exercise you can do for your chest and arms, if you have a pair of dumbbells handy, you can take your upper-body workouts to the next level.

Advertisement

"Dumbbell chest exercises will be much more beneficial, because when working with dumbbells, we are able to recruit more muscle fibers, leading to a greater activation of muscle groups," says Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness on the NEOU App.

Advertisement

The weights allow you to isolate your biceps, triceps and chest muscles (called your pectorals) more than you would with push-ups, leading to more targeted size and strength gains. And since you can choose a weight based on your fitness level, it's easier to progress without having to add endless reps.

Advertisement

Forzaglia, our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge host, demos two exercises for your chest and two for your arms below. You'll do this workout every time our challenge calendar says "Chest and Arms." (You can also do this workout anytime outside of the challenge!)

Every six days, the rep scheme changes so you're doing the following:

Advertisement

Sets and Reps per Exercise

Round

Sets

Reps

1

2

10

2

2

12

3

2

15

4

3

10

5

3

12

Try This Dumbbell Workout for Chest and Arms

For this workout, you'll need a set of dumbbells. If you don't have one, try one of these creative alternatives to dumbbells.

First, start with a quick warm-up: Walk briskly for 5 minutes or jog in place for 3 minutes to get your chest and arm muscles ready to work. You can also try these upper-body activation exercises.

1. Dumbbell Chest Press

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Chest
  1. Lie on the floor (or on a bench if you have one) on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand about shoulder-width apart at chest height. Your arms should be bent at 90-degree angles with your elbows on the floor (or your upper arms parallel to the floor if you're on a bench).
  3. Engage your abs to keep your lower back on the floor. This is the starting position.
  4. With palms facing away from your face, press the dumbbells up and over your chest until your arms are straight. The ends of your dumbbells should lightly touch.
  5. Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells to the starting position at the sides of your chest. If you're on the floor, try not to let your triceps touch the ground.

2. Dumbbell Chest Fly

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Chest
  1. Lie on the floor (or on an exercise bench) on your back, holding a dumbbell in each hand directly over your chest with your palms facing each other and the dumbbells lightly touching.
  2. Engage your abs to keep your lower back on the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. With your elbows slightly bent, lower your weights down and out to the sides of your chest. Your arms will form a wide U shape.
  4. Contract your chest muscles to bring the dumbbells to starting position over your chest.

3. Dumbbell Curl to Press

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Start kneeling (or standing or sitting) with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other and in front of your thighs.
  2. Contract your biceps to bring the weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows locked to your sides.
  3. Flip your wrists so your palms face outward and the weights are at shoulder height.
  4. Press the weights up over your head, avoiding shrugging your shoulders up toward your ears.
  5. Lower the dumbbells back down to your shoulders with control.
  6. Flip your wrists back around, then lower the weights to the fronts of your thighs. That's 1 rep.

4. Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Arms
  1. Start standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Hinge your hips back and bend your upper body at a 45-degree angle to the floor, maintaining a straight back. Pull your elbows up to your sides, weights hanging down toward the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. With your elbows locked to your sides, extend your arms straight back with control and squeeze your triceps at the top.
  4. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your weights back toward your chest.

Follow Along With the Challenge

Use the calendar below to help you stay on track with the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge. Do the workout (or rest day) listed, then check off each day as you complete it. (Get a printer-friendly version here.)

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Back to the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge

Advertisement