Dumbbell bench press
This is considered a strength exercise that mainly targets the chest muscles (pecs), and also the shoulder muscles (deltoids) and triceps – to a lesser degree. It is great for beginners and you only need a bench and dumbbells to do it. It’s a multi-purpose exercise that can be used for adding size, and muscle toning, depending on the reps and technique.
- Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Place your hands on top of your thighs so the palms are facing each other. (Beginners can start with a light weight and gradually increase the weight under trainer supervision)
- Using your thighs for support, simultaneously lift both dumbbells to directly face your chest at shoulder width. Do not distance your hands.
- Rotate your wrists forward so that your palms are facing away from your body with the dumbbells on either side of your chest and your arms making a right angle. (Make sure you are in control of the weights. Do not lift too much weight that you might lose control of)
- This is your starting position. Lower the dumbbells to chest level, breathing in while doing so. As you breathe out, use your chest muscles to push the dumbbells upwards and when you reach the top, squeeze your chest and hold this position for two seconds, not fully locking out the arms. Then slowly lower the dumbbells and repeat.
- Lowering the dumbbells should ideally last longer than lifting them and you need to focus on keeping your arms at the same distance and timing your lifts regularly with your breath, returning every time to your original starting position.
When you finish this exercise, do not suddenly drop the dumbbells to your sides and try to save time. This could cause shoulder injury if the weight is too heavy. Try to focus on the squeeze in the chest muscles at the top of the movement.
Beginners should normally repeat for 10 reps and three sets. Take short breaks for recovery only (less than a minute).
Fewer reps and heavier weight can be used for those people trying to gain strength, although this should be done on a progressive basis with the lifter slowly introducing more weight as their program develops.
Do not do this exercise if you have any shoulder injury or pain while working out.