11 Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises Your Can Do Without Bench

dumbbell chest exercises without bench

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A bench isn’t required to get a killer chest and upper body workout. All you need is a set of dumbbells and some floor space (although a stability ball can increase your options).

Here are the 11 best dumbbell chest exercises without a bench. 

For strength gains, try performing them in sets of 3 with adequate rest. For muscle building, mix and match these exercises as an AB superset (perform the A exercise first, immediately go into the B exercise, then rest).

1.Standing Chest Flys

Targets: Chest, shoulders, core 

  • Start with dumbbells in a neutral grip (palms facing each other) resting by your legs.
  • With straight arms, raise the dumbbells up in front of your body to eye level.
  • Lower slowly, then repeat.

*You can perform the one-arm variation as well or to work on imbalances.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 15 standing chest flys with no bench, or use them as part B of a superset with dumbbell floor press.

2. Dumbbell Floor Press

Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders

  • Lie on your back with your heels flat on the ground; bring the dumbbells up into the bottom of a chest press position. (Your elbows will be resting on the ground.)
  • Press both dumbbells up to a locked out position.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly; only gently touch your elbows to the ground before starting the next repetition.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets to just before failure (2 reps left in the tank) with adequate rest between sets, or use them as part A of a superset with chest flys.

3. One-Arm Dumbbell Floor Press

Targets: Chest, triceps, obliques

  • Lie on your back with your heels flat on the ground; bring one dumbbell up into the bottom of a chest press position.

*You can press your other palm into the floor for balance or put it on your rib cage as a feedback mechanism to prevent your ribs from flaring.

  • Press the dumbbell up to a locked out position.
  • Lower the dumbbell slowly each rep; once you’ve completed the right amount of reps switch hands.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 10 on each side.

4. Close Grip Dumbbell Floor Press

Targets: Triceps, chest, shoulders 

  • Lie on your back with your heels flat on the ground; bring the dumbbells up higher onto your chest than a regular floor press. 

*Your hands should be in a neutral (palms facing) grip.

  • Press both dumbbells up to a locked out position.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly, keeping the dumbbells close to each other or touching; only gently touch your elbows to the ground before starting the next repetition.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 10 to 15, or perform as a superset with dumbbell T push-ups.

5. Dumbbell Decline Floor Press

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, glutes, core

  • Lie on your back with your heels flat on the ground; bring the dumbbells up into the bottom of a chest press position.
  • Perform a glute bridge to elevate your hips off the floor; your body should be in one straight line. 
  • Press both dumbbells up to a locked out position while maintaining the glute bridge.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly; only gently touch your elbows to the ground before starting the next repetition.
  • At the end of your set, lower your hips slowly to the floor.

Dumbbell Chest Workout Without a Bench: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. For an added burn, hold the glute bridge at the end with the dumbbells locked out for 10 to 15 seconds.

6. Dumbbell Floor Press Negatives

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps

Negatives are a great minimal-training technique for getting stronger and adding muscle. Eccentric strength training is a proven way to get results. These can be very taxing on your arms, so perform relatively low-rep sets.

  • Lie on your back with your heels flat on the ground; bring the dumbbells up into the bottom of a chest press position.
  • Press the dumbbells to a lockout; now, slowly lower the bells to the floor on a slow 6-second count.
  • When your elbows touch, press the bells up again, and repeat.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 4 to 6, or do a lower-rep superset with a back exercise.

7. Dumbbell Push-Up to Renegade Row

Targets: Chest, shoulders, lats, biceps, core

  • Start at the top of a dumbbell push-up position with a neutral (palms facing) or 45-degree angle grip. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart for balance.
  • Bend your elbows to lower to the floor; press up.
  • At the top of the push-up, bring the right dumbbell up to your rib cage.

*Avoid opening your body or generating force with your hips to the side to initiate the row. Try to keep your chest facing the ground at all times. If you can’t, use a lighter weight.

  • Lower the dumbbell to the floor, then perform another push-up and repeat on the other side.

No Bench Chest Workout: 3 sets of 16 to 20 (8 to 10 on each side).

8. Close Grip Dumbbell Push-Ups

Targets: Chest, triceps, shoulders, lats, biceps, core

  • Start at the top of a close-grip dumbbell push-up position with a neutral (palms facing) or 45-degree angle grip. The dumbbells should be touching or close to it. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart for balance.
  • Bend your elbows to lower to the floor; press up.
  • Repeat.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets to just-before failure (2 reps left in the tank) with adequate rest in between sets.

9. Dumbbell T Push-Ups

Targets: Chest, shoulders, lats, core

*These are best done with a light (10 to 25lbs) set of dumbbells.

  • Start at the top of a dumbbell push-up position with a neutral (palms facing) or 45-degree angle grip. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart for balance.
  • Bend your elbows to lower to the floor; press up.
  • At the top, open your hips to the right and turn your torso to the wall.
  • Row the right hand dumbbell to your body and seamlessly raise it over your torso; your body should look like a T.
  • Lower the dumbbell then repeat on the other side.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 10 to 15, or do as a superset with dumbbell close grip push-ups.

10. Stability Ball Chest Press

Targets: Chest, shoulder, abs, lower back

*This exercise requires a stability ball or Swiss ball to perform. If you don’t have one, you could use the edge of a stable surface, such as a couch. Be careful and make sure any object you lean against is secure before performing your set.

  • Lie on the stability ball with your heels flat on the ground with the dumbbells resting on your chest; find your balance.
  • Press the dumbbells to a lockout; lower slowly.
  • Repeat.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps with 90 seconds rest in between.

11. Floor Dumbbell Pullovers

Targets: Lats, chest, shoulders, arms

  • Grip the bell portion on both sides of your dumbbell with your hand. Make sure you have a firm grip.
  • Lie on your back; carefully place the dumbbell over the center of your chest.
  • With straight arms, bring the dumbbell behind your head slowly. Go as far as you safely can; your goal is to work your way up to inches from touching the ground.
  • Return the dumbbell to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Chest Workout Without Bench: 3 sets of 10, or do as a superset with any of the floor press exercises.

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About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!

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