Build a Bigger Chest With Dumbbells

Workout to Isolate Pectoral Muscles

An excellent way to develop the pectoral muscle group is through proper isolation. While power movements like the traditional bench press are foundationally important, dumbbell exercises performed with isolation are equally beneficial in the development of the pectoral muscles. Dumbbells provide the opportunity to approach different angles that affect the pectorals from origin to insertion in a way that places precise stress on the muscles. It is also a way to engage the pecs while working around shoulder injuries because of the flexibility of the positioning of the dumbbells grips.

Dumbbell Presses and Flyes

Dumbbell presses mimic the overall motion of a traditional bench press while allowing hand variations that alter the contraction of the muscle as the pressing motion is executed. Dumbbell flyes give the pecs a deep stretch, pulling the muscle’s attachments from the sternum, creating the microtears that provide growth for the muscle as it recovers during rest and recovery. The movements of presses and flyes with dumbbells can also be performed at different bench angles such as flat bench, decline bench and incline bench. This also alters the stress on the muscles and tendons, addressing multiple areas of the pectoral muscles. Every repetition should be performed slowly, feeling the contraction of the muscle in the positive, static and negative motions. That is, you should feel the contraction as you press and ascend the dumbbells, then as you hold the executed press for a brief second, and finally as you descend the dumbbells downward, allowing the pecs to open up and stretch. Another way of altering the positive motion is to turn your hands to an inverted hand position at the top of the press. So, as you press, your palms are facing away from your head until you reach the top and twist your hands inward with your palms facing toward your head.

Pectoral Dumbbell Workout

Here is an example of a pectoral dumbbell workout that I would perform for excellent isolation of the pecs using a weight in which I am able to handle cleanly for 10 repetitions, with the 10th rep approaching the brink of failure:

Decline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets x 10 reps

Flat Bench Dumbbell Press – 3 sets x 10 reps

Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets x 10 reps

Decline Dumbbell Flye – 3 sets x 10 reps

Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye – 3 sets x 10 reps

Incline Dumbbell Flye – 3 sets x 10 reps

John M. DiFazio II

John M. Di Fazio II is a nutrition consultant, a personal trainer, and a massage therapist and has over 25 of experience working in the fitness industry. He was employed by Gold's Gym for 13 years and in 2005 co-founded Remedy Fitness, a unique fitness establishment located in East Setauket, New York. While in the employ of Gold’s Gym, he was recruited into Nutritionalysis, a nutrition company based in Venice Beach, California that specialized in individualized nutrition programs, and received his certification. Excelling in the field, his clientele grew by thousands. While establishing such a full clientele in nutrition and personal training, John also graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and also graduated from the New School for Holistic Health & Research in Long Island, New York with a degree and a New York State license for massage therapy. For more information, visit

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