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7 Must-Do Dumbbell Chest Exercises Without Bench (For Chiseled Chest)

The fitness industry is quite extensive, and there are plenty of new technologies in every aspect – whether you are doing strength training or cardio.

That has also seen the rise of many premium training facilities, which leads many people to believe they must join a gym to get their chest workouts done and get the bodies they have longed for.

However, the truth is that you do not need to join a gym for you to live a fit lifestyle and keep your body in check. Many of these technologies use certain principles, which mean you can still do them at home.

Dumbbells are among the easiest ways to do so, and they always remain timeless and versatile enough for all circumstances. 

While it seems deceptively simple, you can use variations of the exercise methods – in fact, they are more than 5,000, and can target every muscle in your body and correct any imbalances in the muscles.

If you do not have a bench, then you do not need to worry too much about it either – it is still possible to maximize the use of your dumbbells. 

Chest exercises to do using dumbbells without bench

Here are some seven exercises that you can do with this simple tool, and will not even need you to use a bench.

However, make sure that you pay close attention to the exact method, as you want to avoid getting injuries as much as possible.

You can find these exercises in this full guide >>>

1) Dumbbell-T push ups

If you want an exercise routine that tests your stamina and strength, then this is the perfect place to begin.

You will need to know several elements about it, which require considerable body strength and stability – which is why you cannot do it if you are a beginner in the fitness world, as it easily results in injuries.

Dumbbell-T push ups

You get into position through lying on the ground and gripping dumbbells in both hands, and they should be directly below your shoulders.

The palms must always face inward. When the position is correct, start doing pushups slowly, and make sure your arms are perfectly straight when you get beck up. When you straighten the arms completely, lift one dumbbell off the ground, and rotate your body to form a “T” shape.

Every repetition must always consist of a twist and pushup of your body.

In addition, it is best to do it in alternating position – right to left and vice versa.

However, always be careful not to go too deep down, since this can hurt the shoulder muscles.

2) Standing upward chest fly

If you think of a front raise exercise routine that works for the shoulders, then that is the basic premise for this specific routine.

However, it becomes a chest exercise as well, because you twist your wrists as you do it. To accomplish it, you will need a dumbbell for each hand.

Standing upward chest fly

You simply stand in a grounded and neutral position, and the dumbbells need to be at both your sides, with the palms facing in a forward direction.

Bend the elbows slightly, and then raise both arms on your sides until they are perfectly in line with your chest, and then move them down slowly.

Repeat this for five to ten times, always ensuring that each rep is slow and you are controlling the speed.

You must be careful about which body parts you are engaging though – it must always be your core.

Always watch out for momentum that is not necessary, which makes you move your arms in a ‘swinging’ motion instead of lifting. That can lead to long term injuries.

As a pro tip: consider doing this routine as a unilateral exercise – meaning you do one arm at a time, or alternating between both arms for the greatest impact.

3) Standing chest press

When you perform a press in a standing position, you are working the pectoral muscles in significant ways, and this stimulates them to start growing and become stronger.

The best part about it is that you do not need complex equipment to do this exercise; you just need one dumbbell.

Begin by standing in position, and the distance between your feet should be shoulder width. Take the dumbbell and squeeze it with the palms of your hands, in order to activate through your chest.

You then extend your arms by pushing the dumbbell away from your body and return to the starting position.

Repeat this for five to ten times. (Recommended Supplements For Beast Mode)

One thing you need to watch out for is fatigue, especially during the first days as you perform the exercise.

Always make sure to keep the arms as straight as possible, and never drop them – they need to always remain in line with the chest.

Another common mistake is engaging your lower back instead of your core; this is dangerous because it leads to stress and pain in the lower back, so make sure to do it correctly.

4) Reverse dumbbell chest press

The major parts you should pay attention to are the positioning of your wrists and hands.

This is because the standard chest press that uses a dumbbell will involve you gripping the dumbbells with forward-facing palms that are away from you.

However, in this one, you will grip the dumbbells with backward-facing palms towards you. This will force the muscles of your pectoral area to engage in unique ways and force them to grow.

The position involves lying down flat, and making sure your knees remain bent throughout the process.

The feet, on the other hand, must remain flat on the floor to ensure stability.

Begin by taking a dumbbell in each hand (use a reverse grip), and lift your arms to a 45-degree angle away from the body.

You then press the weights upwards and downwards, as if you are doing press-ups on the ground, and squeeze your chest muscles as you move.

Something important to note: in case you get distracted as you do your reps, it is important to continuously remain aware of your arm positioning at the end of every rep. Note that the arms can be lower or higher, so maintain the awareness of each set at all times.

You can find these exercises in this full guide >>>

5) Stability ball dumbbell pull-overs

Often times, you will find people doing this exercise using a bench for extra stability.

However, you do not need to do so; even using a stability ball will add some challenging aspects, which helps you adjust to the exercise faster.

Start by holding one dumbbell between your hands, and position your body into a bridge position. 

Allow the stability ball to support your upper back throughout the duration of the exercise.

The position of the body when you begin should be your arms extending upwards above your chest.

As the arms remain in their straight position, lower them towards the back of your head slowly, and you should begin to feel your latissimus dorsi (muscles that connect your back to your upper arms) begin to stretch, then pull them upwards, back to the starting position.

Always think about rotating the arms inwards as you move them up and down, as this will allow the chest muscles to become more active instead of the back. 

The core on the other hand, must remain engaged throughout the exercise routine. This will help your spine to always remain neutral, instead of going into hyper flexion (when the muscle movement goes beyond its normal limit) when you are moving the weight behind the head.

6) Single arm floor chest press

This is among the best exercises you can do, because it encourages your body mass and strength to remain balanced, and the left and right sides of the chest to become equally strong.

Single Arm Floor Chest Press

It will also give you the chance to work on your body stability and core strength, especially since you are adding weight to each side of the body at a time.

You will only need one dumbbell to perform the exercise.

Lie on your back, and maintain the legs in a straight position.

Keep the dumbbell in one hand, and extend the arm 45-degrees away from your body, while keeping the other arm wide away with the palm facing downwards, to give some stability.

For best results, start with your weaker body side (for instance, if you are right handed, begin on your left side).

You then press the dumbbell up and down, maintaining the straightness of your arm.

Unlike the other exercises on this list, you will not need to engage the core – just your arms and chest muscles.

In case you feel some stress in the lower back area, bend the knees and ensure the feet stay flat on the ground. This will help you feel less stress on the core.

7) Dumbbell chest fly exercise using a stability ball 

The best news about this specific exercise is how versatile it is – you can actually do plenty of variations without necessarily using a bench to help you out. You will need a stability ball and two dumbbells.

Dumbbell chest fly exercise using a stability ball 

Use the stability ball as a surface to position your back, then bend your knees and make sure your feet are firmly on the ground.

Move your hips up, and make sure your body is as flat as possible.

Raise the dumbbells above your chest, and allow the elbows to bend very slightly inwards.

You then open the arms outwards, and make sure they are in a parallel position to the floor surface.

Pull the dumbbells back upwards, which activates the pectoral muscles and squeezes them as you move the arms upwards.

Note that if you do it without the stability ball, it will make you use more of your body weight, but using the ball challenges your stability and balance. Consider doing all of them for maximum impact.

A good example of doing a chest-only workout using dumbbells

There are many exercise combinations you can use when working with dumbbells, and the workout below is just an example to guide you through the process.

It works to make the pectoral muscles work extra from every angle, and gives a complete work out of your upper body while increasing its size, shredding fats and increasing strength.

pectoral muscles workout

Note that it is split into three subsets for easier timing and management.

Superset 1

Doing 12 repetitions (on alternating sides) of dumbbell T push-ups.

Stand up, and doing upward chest fly, 15 repetitions.

Rest period of 45 seconds, and then repeat.

Superset 2

Doing a standing chest press, do 12 repetitions.

Incorporate a stability ball chest fly exercise and repeat 10 times. 

Rest period for a minute, then repeat three times.

Superset 3

Doing pull-overs using a dumbbell and stability ball, 12 repetitions for each side.

Press your arm on the ground on a single side, alternate the sides and repeat 8 times.

Rest for a minute and do it again for three times.

Why is it important to carry out chest exercises?

It is hard to ignore the benefits you get from having a strong upper chest.

It will assist the muscles of your entire upper body to remain in balance, which means you reduce the chances of getting injuries while improving your posture.

If you have difficulties in figuring out the last time you did a chest exercise, here are some reasons to convince you to do so.

1) It is beneficial to your heart

Your heart is an organ that does so much for you and keeps you alive, so the least you can do for it is protect it with some bicep curls and strong chest muscles – whether you are a guy or a woman.

Studies from the American Heart Association show that these exercises, such as lifting weights, go a long way in improving your heart health.

The best part is that you do not need to be a regular gym buff or a professional bodybuilder to accomplish this. Even the simplest forms of strength training will do the trick for you, including squats, lunges, and press-ups.

2) It will improve your posture

Posture is one of the things you take for granted, until you get older and realize you cannot stand straight even if you wanted to – because your back and spine are weak.

Prevent this problem from happening in the first place through the chest exercises, which will help you stay stronger for many years to come.

These exercises also prevent the bad habit of slouching, which will in turn, lead to numerous other benefits for your health and self-confidence. 

3) It will reduce your risk of injuries

The upper muscles of your body, which include the arms, shoulders, upper back and chest, are a major defense system of your body against pain and injuries.

In fact, some studies even show that training these muscles and increasing their strength will guard your upper body against the risk of injuries to the musculoskeletal area – and if they unfortunately happen, it will reduce their severity.

You need to be careful though, especially when you are exercising. You do not want to risk injuring yourself in the name of strengthening these muscles or keeping them in shape.

4) They will improve your stamina during a workout

When the focus of your workouts is your upper body, this changes the ease of your other exercises – surprisingly so.

In fact, strength training is even more effective than cardio in many ways, especially because it improves most of your other workouts by a large margin – through improving your stamina.

For instance, if you are a swimmer, you will notice that doing plenty of strength training for your arms and shoulders will improve your performance in swimming competitions, and press-ups and lunges have amazing benefits if you are a dancer.

5) It guards the bones

While following a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D will do wonders for your body in the bone department, you should never underestimate the power that weights such as dumbbells can give you.

This is because your bones will lose their strength after every year, and the small losses eventually lead to a weak body as you grow older.

The good thing about strength training in general, is that it will keep the bones dense for a longer time and maintain their healthy levels, even as you grow older.

You might not use up the energy as you would in your younger years, but you will still have a high level of strength for longer.

6) It always feels good

There is no denying that exercise helps you remain fit, but it also helps you feel good afterwards. The feeling of reaching a new goal of fitness, even if you are exercising ten minutes a day, is enough to keep you physically and emotionally pumped for the rest of your day.

This is due to the release of hormones that lead to relaxation of the mind and body after an exercise session, and it helps you look good even in your clothes – therefore boosting your self-confidence.


Doing a workout for your arm muscles proves to be quite beneficial for your upper body strength, so you should do it as often as possible.

These dumbbell exercises will help you to maximize it as much as possible, even if you do not have a bench.

About the author

Adam is a writer, healthcare professional, and he is always active in sharing recent case studies and breaking the mental and physical limits. He dedicated his life to transforming the lives of the skinny, out of shape, scrawny wimpy guys & skinny girls - helping them become healthier, fitter and more confident in their bodies.