Bench exercises are a staple in many commercial and educational gym facilities around the world. While they may not be as popular as other weight training equipment, such as barbells, machines, and cable stations, they remain a necessary piece of equipment for those serious about staying fit and healthy. This article will provide you with insight on some of the best dumbbell bench exercises that you should include into your workout routine.
Here are 7 bench exercises using dumbbells:
Dumbbell Bench Press
A dumbbell bench press is one of the best chest exercises, as it boosts your upper body growth. It offers variety and safety to chest muscles, and with the right technique, you will get more out of it. This exercise also works your forearms and deltoids.
How to do a dumbbell bench press:
- Lie flat on your back on a bench press bench, with your feet flat on the floor.
- Grasp two dumbbells and lift them to shoulder height, with your palms facing your torso.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest, keeping your back pressed against the bench and your feet flat on the floor.
- Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement, then press the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Dumbbell bench pressing is a great way to build mass and strength in the chest. It is more difficult than using a barbell but also much more effective.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The dumbbell shoulder press is a great exercise if you want to focus on developing your pressing muscles in the shoulders. This exercise can be undertaken using either one arm at a time or with both arms simultaneously.
Here is how you do a dumbbell shoulder press:
- Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward, and arms extended straight overhead.
- Lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor and press the weights overhead.
- Pause, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
To complete the dumbbell shoulder press routine, it is necessary to start with a lightweight, then increase as you go along. Dumbbell Shoulder Press workout routine is truly ideal for people of any age because it helps develop strength and shape your body in a very simple way.
The dumbbell row is a great exercise that uses many of the muscles in your back. You can do this exercise anywhere with the dumbbells you have at home or the ones you can find at a gym. Dumbbell rows help strengthen your upper and lower back, along with your biceps and forearms.
To do a dumbbell row:
- Sit on the edge of a bench with your feet flat on the floor, holding a light- to a medium-weight dumbbell in your left hand with your palm facing your thigh.
- Place your right hand and right knee on the bench for support.
- Lift your left arm straight up toward the ceiling, keeping your back pressed firmly against the bench and your elbow close to your side.
- Bend your elbow and pull the weight up toward your chest, pause, and then slowly lower the weight to the start position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch hands and repeat.
The dumbbell row is a challenging back exercise that targets the rhomboids, lower and middle trapezius, and biceps. It can be performed in the gym on a flat bench or even at home with a sturdy table. Focus on contracting your back muscles to lift the weight, not your arms.
The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise for working your pectoral muscles. It employs several of different muscle groups, although most of the focus will be on the chest and upper back muscles. In addition to targeting muscle groups, the dumbbell pullover also improves shoulder, triceps, and biceps strength. You will quickly notice an improvement in your sports performance and overall fitness level after adding this exercise to your workout routine.
Let’s look at how to perform the dumbbell pullover properly.
- Lie flat on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell above your chest with your palms facing forward.
- Keeping your back pressed against the bench, slowly lower the weight down the front of your body.
- When the weight is just below your head, pause and slowly reverse the motion to the starting position.
This exercise is great for strengthening the chest and shoulders, as well as the back. The Dumbbell Pullover is a compound movement (using two joints), in this case a shoulder extension, and a horizontal adduction. This means that your deltoids will be doing the most amount of work, since they’re responsible for both movements, because the arms are only working at one joint.
A preacher curl is a dumbbell exercise that primarily works the biceps, but emphasizes the forearm muscles as well. The preacher curl can be performed with either an EZ-curl bar or a regular straight barbell.
Here is how you do a preacher curl:
- Sit on the preacher bench with a weight in each hand. The bench should be at a height so that when your arms are extended perpendicular to your body, your elbows are resting on the padded bench.
- Position your hands at shoulder width with your palms facing forward.
- Curl the weights towards your shoulder, keeping your elbows stationary on the bench.
- Pause briefly and then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
Preacher Curl is a great upper body exercise for developing the biceps, but it is a very difficult exercise to get right. The name preacher’s curl came from the fact that preacher curl aka free barbell curl is performed on a preacher bench; this machine helps the trainer to perform preacher curls with greater ease and comfort.
An Arnold press, also known as a military press, is an overhead shoulder press using dumbbells. This exercise strengthens the shoulders and triceps, and works your core while standing.
Let’s look at how to perform the Arnold press properly
- Begin by sitting on the edge of a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward.
- Lean back slightly and press the dumbbells overhead, extending your arms fully.
- Hold for a moment, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
Arnold Presses can be used by strength trainers and bodybuilders to improve their upper bodies, though there are also quite a few Arnold Press variations for targeting the posterior in general.
The dumbbell flys is a great exercise to strengthen the muscles of the upper middle back, the erector spinae. The erector spinae are the group of muscles that run down the back and extend farther down than muscles of the lower back. These muscles originate in four different places, and work together to extend, laterally rotate and bend your spine from side to side. If you really focus on just using these muscles to do each rep of a one arm dumbbell fly you will be able to feel them working in your upper middle back closely similar to how we target the lats with a pull-up or row type movement.
To do a dumbbell fly:
- Lie flat on a bench, holding a weight in each hand with your palms facing your feet
- Stretch your arms out to the sides and slowly lower them down to the level of your chest
- Hold for a second before slowly raising them back to the starting position
One of the common issues with dumbbell flys is that people tend to do them way too high, meaning that the actual exercise target almost exclusively the shoulders. If you want to focus more on the chest, you’re better off doing them closer to your body. In this case, you still need a bit of space in between your arms and torso to perform the movement correctly, but if you have them too close together your elbows will end up hurting.
Bench exercises are ideal for anyone looking to develop a well-rounded workout plan. Bench exercises can work your chest, triceps, and biceps, as well as your back. They are also great for your shoulders, quads, recruiting more muscle fibers than standard pushups. They also help build core strength and stability. With so many benefits, dumbbell bench exercises should be a part of any fitness regime.