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Dumbbell Bench Press 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench Press

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level











The Dumbbell Bench Press is a fundamental strength-training exercise that primarily targets the chest muscles while also engaging the shoulders and triceps as secondary muscle groups. This versatile compound movement requires only dumbbells, making it accessible for various fitness levels. To execute the exercise, one lies on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand at chest level with palms facing forward. The movement involves pressing the dumbbells upward until the arms are fully extended, then lowering them back down to the chest in a controlled manner. The Dumbbell Bench Press not only promotes chest development but also enhances shoulder and tricep strength. Adjusting the dumbbell weight allows for customization, catering to individual fitness levels and goals. Incorporating this exercise into a comprehensive strength-training routine contributes to overall upper body muscular development and endurance.

How to Perform

  1. Lift the dumbbells off the floor with a neutral grip, ensuring your palms are facing inward. Position the dumbbell ends in your hip crease and proceed to sit on the bench.

  2. While lying back, keep the dumbbells close to your chest to establish the starting position. Once comfortably positioned, take a deep breath and press the dumbbells upward to a full lockout at the top, engaging the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

  3. Lower the dumbbells under control, aiming for a comfortable depth, with the handles reaching approximately chest level. This controlled descent maximizes muscle engagement and minimizes the risk of strain.

  4. Contract the chest muscles and push the dumbbells back up to the starting position, emphasizing the importance of controlled movements for optimal results.

  5. Repeat the sequence for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form and focusing on the targeted muscle groups.

  6. Discourage dropping the dumbbells to the side, particularly for those less experienced or when using heavy weights. Instead, consider twisting the dumbbells back to a neutral position (palms facing each other), bringing your knees up to touch the dumbbell ends, and using their weight to rock back into an upright, seated position. This controlled maneuver aids in preventing injury and ensures a safer conclusion to the exercise.


  1. To optimize tension on the pecs, refrain from fully locking out the elbows at the top of each repetition, maintaining a slight bend to sustain continuous engagement.

  2. Angle the dumbbells at approximately 45 degrees to retain a neutral elbow position, promoting efficient muscle activation and minimizing unnecessary strain on the joints.

  3. Avoid allowing the dumbbells to collide at the peak of each repetition, as bouncing them together can compromise shoulder stability, leading to potential injury. Prioritize controlled movements for safety and effectiveness.

  4. Enhance shoulder stability by gripping the dumbbells tightly, employing the concept of "irradiation" to improve overall control and muscle engagement during the Dumbbell Bench Press.

  5. Ensure the shoulder blades are pinched together throughout the exercise to maintain a safe shoulder position and prevent undue stress on the joint.

  6. Conceptualize the movement as pushing yourself away from the weights rather than pushing the weights away from yourself, promoting a more focused and controlled pressing action.

  7. If experiencing discomfort in the front of the shoulder joint, retract the shoulder blades slightly and aim to keep the shoulder girdle "packed" for better joint alignment and reduced strain.

  8. Engage the core by maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles and avoid excessive arching of the lower back, ensuring stability and protecting the spine during the Dumbbell Bench Press.

  9. Keep the feet flat on the floor throughout the set, preventing any movement in the lower body to maintain a stable base and optimize the transfer of force through the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

How Not to Perform