The concept of dumbbells dates back nearly 2000 years when the ancient Greeks created crescent-shaped stones with handles to lift as weights. Conditioning your body to lift heavier items is a simple task, and it can be done very effectively with very little equipment. When you hit the gym, it’s almost guaranteed that some dumbbells will be available, even if all the fancy workout equipment has a long line to use. For your at-home workouts, equipment is more limited, but with dumbbells alone, you can achieve a thorough strength training session.
We’re going to tell you about the best home dumbbell workout you can complete without a bench. This workout is simplicity at its finest, using only limited equipment for a full-body regime. If you don’t have much space at home, dumbbells can be easily stored without inconvenience. A workout bench takes up a lot of space, but luckily, you don’t need one to get shredded! Read on to find out about our full-body workout with no bench. You don’t need the bench press when you have these fantastic exercises.
The bench press is one of the most iconic workout exercises in existence, and one of the most reliable ways to build up impressive pectoral muscles. Of course, you can’t bench press without a bench, but we’re going to tell you about three dumbbell exercises which are just as effective. Build up your chest muscles without any additional equipment with these dumbbell chest exercises.
The dumbbell floor press is a simple alternative to the bench press that you can easily complete at home. This fantastic chest exercise is also great for the upper arms, primarily hitting the triceps and anterior shoulder muscles. The floor press isn’t as hard on your pecs or back because the movement ends when your elbows hit the floor, whereas a dumbbell bench press would allow for a larger range of motion. However, doing a dumbbell floor press is actually more difficult than a bench press because you can't use any lower body muscles. This means you need to start with a lower weight than usual. It also means it’s even more effective at building huge triceps. This explosive movement definitely needs to be in your at-home dumbbell workout.
How to do a dumbbell floor press:
Perform 3 sets of 6-12 reps of this exercise, starting with a lower weight than your usual bench press. If you complete the first set of reps easily, you can raise the weight of the dumbbells.
The Svend Press is a type of standing chest press, it’s generally done using a weight plate but a dumbbell is just as effective. This upper body exercise focuses heavily on the lower pectorals, hitting your upper pecs, anterior delts, and triceps too. Adding the Svend press to your workout is good for the pectoral mind-muscle connection, building the muscles which allow you to squeeze your pecs together. We all know that squeezing your impressive pecs is an excellent way to make everyone in the gym jealous, so keep building those manly muscles with this exercise.
How to do a Svend Press:
When completing the Svend press, focus on squeezing your muscles, particularly your pecs, as tight as possible throughout the movement. Perform 10-15 reps using a high weight to get the most out of this exercise.
The dumbbell chest fly is another exercise usually completed using a bench or stability ball. Transferring this exercise to the floor so you can more easily complete it at your home gym limits the range of motion, so it’s slightly less effective. However, performing the chest fly on the floor actually makes it safer as it prevents overextension and possible injury. The dumbbell chest fly is a chest opening exercise, it’s a fantastic one to include in your workout. Even performing this exercise with no weights at all has huge benefits, relieving upper back pain, reducing tightness, and improving mobility. If you want to make this exercise more difficult, just increase the weight or number of reps.
How to do a Dumbbell chest fly:
Classic weight exercises such as the bicep curl are done using a dumbbell and no other equipment. Next, we’re going to take you through a range of upper body dumbbell workouts without a bench, so you can work on getting shredded no matter where you are. These fantastic workouts can be completed at home, at the gym, anywhere you can get your hands on a dumbbell.
Dumbbell Pullovers use most of the muscles on your upper body, hitting several of the largest muscle groups. As well as building those all-important chest muscles, this exercise is great for the latissimus dorsi in your back, upper arm and triceps, and core. It’s also great for improving shoulder mobility as well as flexibility, an all-round workout that definitely needs to be included in your routine. This at-home dumbbell workout is exactly what you need to build huge muscle mass in your chest and back.
How to do dumbbell pullovers:
If you don’t feel this exercise hitting your chest and back hard, you’re performing it incorrectly. Perform 10-12 highly controlled reps, starting with a weight of 20 pounds. This exercise can also be performed with a single dumbbell instead of a pair.
No at-home dumbbell workout would be complete without a few sets of bicep curls. This popular exercise is a classic for a reason; it’s fantastic at building muscle in the triceps and biceps. The bicep curl is all about control. Many people complete this exercise with a weight too high, using their back muscles to make up for the strain. This is terrible for your spine and can lead to injury if you continue to do the exercise with imperfect form. Start with low weight and focus on keeping your back completely straight, using only your arm muscles to complete the movement. Once you achieve perfect form, you can start increasing the weight to build huge arm muscles!
How to do a bicep curl:
If you’re just starting out with bicep curls, or want to re-learn with perfect form, you can alternate arms instead of curling both at the same time. This will allow you to focus fully on isolating your biceps and triceps, and will also give your arms a few seconds of extra rest between each repetition. Add three sets of bicep curls into your workout, with 8-10 reps.
The dumbbell shoulder press, also known as the overhead press, is a classic exercise known for building strong, broad shoulders. This workout is an amazing choice if you’re working on your look, as the visual results are very appealing. The shoulder press can help you build significant muscle mass in your deltoids, triceps, traps, and upper chest. It’s a fantastic overall upper body workout, and all the equipment you need is a pair of dumbbells.
How to do a dumbbell shoulder press:
Make sure you start with a low weight for the dumbbell shoulder press. It may seem easy at the start, but this exercise will seriously tire your muscles after a few repetitions. Incorporate 3 sets of 6-10 reps into your regular at-home workout for seriously impressive shoulders.
While dumbbells are classically more of an upper-body weight, there are a few full-body dumbbell exercises that are highly effective. Use these workouts to complete your at-home dumbbell training session without a bench or any other equipment.
The kettlebell swing is an explosive movement with huge benefits, and with a few alterations, you can use a dumbbell instead. The one-arm swing is a simple movement that yields visible results, great for both strength training and cardio. As well as working those shoulder muscles, this full-body exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps. This straight-forward exercise is an easy way to work out your whole body with just a single dumbbell.
How to do a one-arm swing:
Lunges are a classic exercise which most people learn in high school gym class. This classic bodyweight exercise can be made more difficult by adding dumbbells, which gives it more potential as a muscle-building workout. You need a decent area of space to do lunges at home, but the only other thing needed is a pair of dumbbells for a thorough hip, glute, hamstring, and quad workout. This exercise also helps to strengthen your calves, abs, and lower back.
How to do dumbbell lunges:
Take your time through your repetitions of the dumbbell lunge, focusing on balance and squeezing your muscles. Don’t rush through the sets, as moving slowly will help you to achieve proper form and optimal muscle activation. We recommend 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions of the dumbbell lunge.
The glute bridge is another classic bodyweight exercise that, just like the lunge, can yield much-improved results when you bring a dumbbell into the equation. You might feel a little strange doing glute bridges with a weight on your belly, but trust us when we say it’s incredibly effective, especially after loading up on some Ultimate Mass Stack. As well as helping you to build up your glutes and hamstrings, this non-isolated exercise also hits the calves, core, and abdominal muscles. Dumbbell glute bridges can help you on your way to totally shredded abs.
How to do a dumbbell glute bridge:
We recommend using a relatively heavy weight for this exercise, you can start out by trying a 20-pound dumbbell. This full-body dumbbell workout targets a number of large muscle groups without a bench or any other equipment, helping with both muscle mass and definition.
It’s easy to get a full-body workout at home using only dumbbells. You can complete a routine of these exercises three days a week, with at least one rest day in between. You can create the perfect dumbbell workout by selecting one chest exercise, several upper body movements, and at least two of the full-body exercises we listed. To create variation in your routine, swap out the upper body and chest movements from day to day, which will also ensure no muscle group is missed throughout the week. Check out this article for even more dumbbell exercises.
Here’s a recommendation for a thorough full-body routine: