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7 Dumbbell Chest Exercises Without A Bench

It is easy to come up with dumbbell exercises to grow your chest muscles with a bench but what are some examples of exercises without a bench?

A bench can be a helpful extra piece of fitness equipment for reasons ranging from comfort to performance. However, even if you do not have a bench there are still ways to work out your chest muscles with dumbbells.

You can expect a wide variety of benefits from stronger chest muscles ranging from better exercise performance to a more aesthetically pleasing upper body.

1. Standing chest press

For this first exercise you only need a single dumbbell. To do a standing chest press take the following steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart with the dumbbell you will use right in front of you in a horizontal position.
  2. Reach down by bending your knees while keeping your back straight. Pick up the dumbbell by gripping it between the palms of your hands.
  3. Keep the dumbbell right in front of your chest while standing up.
  4. Push the dumbbell away from you horizontally, so in a straight line forward, in a controlled motion until your arms are stretched.
  5. Return the dumbbell to your chest.

You should make sure that even when you get tired you keep pressing the dumbbell forward in a horizontal line. Also make sure you don’t drop the dumbbell as you get more and more tired.

2. Standing upward chest fly

The next chest exercise without a bench is the standing upward chest fly. To do one repetition take the following steps:

  1. Stand upright with a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should face forward. In starting position your arms are just pointing down. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  2. Slowly move the dumbbells upward and to the center so that they meet in front of your chest.
  3. Move the dumbbells back into starting position in a controlled movement.

3. Stability ball dumbbell pullover

The dumbbell pullover on a stability ball does require an extra piece of equipment besides dumbbells. If you do have a stability ball available this is a great exercise to grow your chest muscles. To do a stability ball dumbbell pullover take the following steps:

  1. Lie with your upper back on a stability ball. Your feet should be flat on the floor for stability and your knees at more or less a 90-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell on one end above your chest with 2 hands. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the exercise.
  2. Slowly move your arms backward so that the weight comes lower to the ground.
  3. Reach back as far as you are comfortable.
  4. At that point start raising the dumbbell again into starting position.

Keep in mind that the dumbbell pullover is an exercise to engage your chest muscles. If you do not feel any strain on these your technique is likely off.

4. Dumbbell pushup

Pushups are one of the most popular exercises there is. Although you can definitely do regular pushups on the ground, by doing them with dumbbells you can implement a neutral grip. This can make it easier to keep your shoulders at a safer angle.

Initially, bodyweight pushups can definitely be enough to build chest muscle. That being said if you are more experienced with resistance training you likely need to do weighted pushups with external weights like a weighted vest to keep building extra muscle mass.

To do a dumbbell pushup take the following steps:

  1. Place the dumbbells at about shoulder-width apart on the ground. For the neutral grip, you want them to face forward.
  2. Get into the position where your face is facing the floor with your hands on the dumbbell grips. Your arms stretched, and your knees on the ground.
  3. Move your feet back until your body is in a straight line.
  4. Slowly fold your arms at your elbows until your face is close to the ground. Your arms should be at an angle of about 45 degrees to your sides. Another way to put it is if someone is looking down at you from above your arms should make an arrow, not a T.
  5. Stretch your arms again until you are back in a straight arm plank position.

If you want to focus more on your chest muscles you can move the dumbbells slightly further apart. You can also consider doing incline or decline pushups to focus more on different parts of your chest.

5. Dumbbell floor press

The dumbbell bench press is one of the most popular ways to work out your chest but you can also do this exercise on the floor. To do a dumbbell floor press take the following steps:

  1. Lie with your back on the ground, feet flat on the ground, and your knees in more or less a 90-degree angle, with a dumbbell at each side.
  2. Pick up the dumbbells and move into a position where the dumbbells are about shoulder-width apart at about chest height. You should have an overhanded grip which means your palms are facing towards your feet. Your arms should be at an angle of about 45 degrees to your sides.
  3. Slowly push up the dumbbells until your arms are slightly less than extended.
  4. Lower the dumbbells in a controlled motion into the position of step 2.

Using a bench for this exercise does allow a bigger range of motion and more retracting of your shoulder blades which can lead to reduced injury risk. Doing this exercise on a bench is also generally more comfortable than on the ground.

That being said the dumbbell floor press is definitely an option if you want to train your chest muscles with dumbbells without a bench.

6. Stability ball dumbbell chest fly

The next exercise does again require a second piece of fitness equipment, the stability ball. To do a stability ball dumbbell chest fly take the following steps:

  1. Lie with your upper back on a stability ball. Your feet should be flat on the floor for stability and your knees at more or less a 90-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms horizontally and slightly less than stretched with your palms facing upward.
  2. While keeping your arms slightly less than stretched slowly move up the dumbbells until your arms are at a 90-degree angle with the ground.
  3. Move the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled movement.

7. Reverse grip floor press

This last dumbbell chest exercise without a bench is very similar to the regular floor press. However, by making a small change you shift the focus on different parts of your chest. To do a reverse grip floor press take the following steps:

  1. Lie with your back on the ground, feet flat on the ground, and your knees in more or less a 90-degree angle, with a dumbbell at each side.
  2. Pick up the dumbbells and move into a position where the dumbbells are about shoulder-width apart at about chest height. You should have a reverse grip which means your palms are facing towards your face. Your arms should be at an angle of about 45 degrees to your sides.
  3. Slowly push up the dumbbells until your arms are slightly less than extended.
  4. Lower the dumbbells in a controlled motion into the position of step 2.

By changing your grip in this exercise you focus more on your upper chest muscles instead of your whole chest.