A strong chest adds power to your upper body and keeps your upper-body muscles in balance, improving your posture and reducing the likelihood of injury. You don't need a gym membership to build a strong chest. If all you have is a set of dumbbells, you can perform dumbbell chest exercises — without a bench — at home.
Perform eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Work up to three sets in a row before increasing the weight of your dumbbells.
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1. Dumbbell Floor Press
Include the dumbbell floor press in your chest workouts without a bench.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and position them next to your shoulders while your elbows rest on the floor.
- Push straight up, so the dumbbells move toward the ceiling.
- Pause for a moment at the top, and then return to the starting position.
2. Svend Press
Although the Svend press is typically done with a weight plate, you can also do it as part of your dumbbell workouts without a bench.
- While standing up, hold a dumbbell at chest height.
- Raise your elbows out to the side so your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Push the weight forward, extending your arms.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
3. Stability Ball Incline Dumbbell Pull-Over
Use a stability ball to perform dumbbell chest exercises without a bench at home. Traditionally done on a bench, incline dumbbell pull-overs done on a stability ball makes you work a little bit harder to steady yourself.
- Position a stability ball under your upper back. Your head should be supported by the ball. Pull your hips up so they're in line with your torso and knees, forming a bridge position.
- Hold one dumbbell with both your hands and reach it up toward the ceiling. Keep your elbows straight.
- Slowly extend your arms back over and behind your head until the dumbbell is pointing toward the wall behind you.
- Raise the dumbbell back up and over your head to the starting position.
Read more: Incline Bench vs. Military Press
4. Stability Ball Incline Flyes
Use the stability ball in place of an incline bench to perform incline flyes.
- Position a stability ball under your middle back, so that you're at a slight incline.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms upward. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Rotate your hands so that the palms are facing you, with the pinky fingers next to you.
- Keeping your arms extended, slowly lower the weights until your arms are perpendicular to your body. While going down, rotate your wrists so the palms face the ceiling at the bottom position.
- Slowly bring the dumbbells back up to the starting position, again rotating the wrists so when the hands meet each other, the palms are facing each other.