Are you seeking a simple, effective dumbbell chest workout without a bench? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s review an effective way to train with dumbbells, modifications you can make, and more.
Let’s dive in.
Is a Dumbbell Chest Workout Without Bench Even Possible?
The gym bench is a solid addition to almost any chest dumbbell workout, so you might wonder if it is possible to train effectively without one.
The truth is that you can enjoy good workouts without a bench, but it can be more challenging to provide an equivalent muscle stimulus. However, you can get very close!
And there are also other options than a bench that can provide a terrific workout, such as a step or exercise ball. An exercise ball takes some practice, but can be an excellent replacement for a bench press.
And the benefit for many is that a step or exercise ball take up less space than a bench. So you can fit these neatly in a closet.
You might consider a step or exercise ball to use as a bench because it elevates your torso off the floor, and allows you to train through a slightly longer range of motion.
But if you have neither, you can still have a great chest workout. And there is not doubt is infinitely better than doing nothing at all!
Chest Workout Without Bench Exercises
The exercises are shown below, and illustrations to help you with proper form.
The first movement is a classic, so there isn’t that much to say about it. The dumbbell chest press is a timeless dumbbell exercise that should be part of any chest workout.
The second exercise is also a staple chest exercise, the dumbbell flye. A good rule of thumb…for each chest workout you do, include at least one press exercise, and one flye exercise.
Like the first movement, lying on a step allows you to train through a slightly longer range of motion and stretch the pectorals better at the bottom.
Note the form on dumbbell flyes. Many, and maybe most people, do not perform this correctly. You do not want to lower your upper arms past horizontal to the floor.
Next is the dumbbell hammer press. This is a variation of the classic dumbbell chest press, and works the chest from a slightly different angle.
Next up, we have the dumbbell push-up. The advantage here is that holding dumbbells allows you to maintain straight wrists and lower yourself slightly more. Use hexagonal dumbbells to prevent instability that can result in an injury.
Svend Chest Press
Finally, we have the Svend Chest Press. This is a much less known, but super effective chest workout without a bench. Make sure to keep this one in your wheelhouse! Not many people know about this secret weapon, and if you don’t have a bench this is a great exercise.
Dumbbell Chest Workout Without Bench
(No bench - No Step - No Exercise Ball)
Dumbbell Chest Workout Without Bench
|Dumbbell Chest Press on Floor||2-3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Chest Flyes||2-3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Hammer Chest Press||2-3||8-12|
|Dumbbell Push Up and Front Raise||2||8-12|
Dumbbell Chest Press From Floor
Dumbbell Chest Flyes on Floor
Performing Dumbbell Flyes on Floor
Proper Form for Dumbbell Flyes From a Bench (or Step)
[down position = upper arms parallel to floor]
Dumbbell Hammer Chest Press
Dumbbell Push Up and Front Raise
Performing Dumbbell Push Up and Front Raise
Dumbbell Svend Press
Dumbbell Chest Workout With Step
If you have a step, you can perform the same group of exercise, except using a step.
The main advantage that a step provides is increasing the range of motion.
|Dumbbell Chest Press (on a step)||3-4|
|Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Chest Press (on a step)||3-4|
|Dumbbell Chest Fly (on a step)||3|
Dumbbell Chest Workout With Exercise Ball
A good exercise ball can also provide a great chest workout without a bench. It takes a bit of practice to get the balance worked out, but after a few days you will have it down like clockwork.
And once you do, a chest workout with an exercise ball will provide a great workout. You can also adjust the angles to allow for working the upper and lower chest as well (incline chest press and incline flyes). This is very hard to do with a step.
Below are some chest exercises with an exercise ball.
Dumbbell Pullover On Exercise Ball
Dumbbell Fly On Exercise Ball
Dumbbell Incline Press On Exercise Ball
Performing Dumbbell Press On Exercise Ball
Workout Recommendations And Tips
One effective way to make your workouts more challenging if you don’t have heavier dumbbells is to slow down the tempo and deliberately contract your abs at the top of each repetition. Doing so would make each rep more difficult and would hopefully result in better growth.
Additionally, consider pairing your chest with shoulder and tricep exercises. The reason is that these three muscle groups work together on many activities, which means you can combine them into ‘push’ workouts.
And keep in mind that you can get very nearly as good a chest workout without a bench. There are many dumbbell chest exercises that you can do without a bench, and of course there are push-ups.
And the variations and angles of push-ups are nearly endless to work your upper and lower chest. Click to check the many push-up variations.
Safety And Final Words
Regardless of where you train and what type of exercises you do, you must always prioritize your safety by warming up correctly, using the appropriate weights, and training with proper form. (1)
First, always begin with a good warm-up sequence consisting of light cardio, dynamic stretching, and a handful of warm-up sets. Second, pick the appropriate weights you can handle and lift without putting yourself at risk. (2)
Finally, always prioritize proper form and make sure to feel the correct muscles activating on every rep.
Here are some additional dumbbell workouts that can be done at home or in the gym:
- Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
- Dumbbell Skull Crushers
- Dumbbell Pullovers
- Tricep Exercises With Dumbbells
- Chest and Tricep Dumbbell Workout
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows
- Stefanov, P. (2022, July 2). The ultimate skinny fat gym workout plan you can use right now. Actionable Information for Extraordinary Results. https://www.thinkinglifter.com/skinny-fat-gym-workout-plan/
- Elizabeth Quinn, M. S. (2020, March 13). Prevent injuries. Verywell Fit.