Dumbbell Chest Workout (INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THIS!)

Build a ripped, athletic chest doing the best exercises the right way

The typical dumbbell chest workout includes plenty of flat bench presses, incline dumbbell presses and maybe even flies. The problem with this workout and exercise selection? If you’re not including dumbbell pullovers, then you are missing out on one of the best chest mass building options available to you.

In this video, I show you how to properly perform a dumbbell chest pullover to target your chest (and upper chest specifically) much more than the lats. With a few tweaks of how you initiate the movement as well as the depth that you lower the dumbbell over your head during the exercise, you’ll be able to turn this into a great chest developer.

To build a bigger chest with dumbbells you need to be sure that you are using heavy enough weight to stimulate overload. Most of the time, the old standby exercises of flat and incline bench presses are therefore used. That being said, the dumbbell pullover can also be done with a single heavy dumbbell. Because of the movement pattern being used, you are still ending up in the traditional pressing finish position. You get to the end of this press contraction in a unique way however.

Start by holding the dumbbell with both hands on one end. Slowly lower the weight behind your head until it is level with your head. There is no need to lower the dumbbell any further as this can compromise a vulnerable shoulder joint and cause unnecessary damage. When doing this as a lat exercise, the stretch becomes more important. For the chest however, the real benefit of the move comes from the execution of the squeeze or contraction of the pecs at the top.

That said, you will initiate the concentric part of this chest workout staple by squeezing your hands together. Of course, your hands won’t be able to move any closer together since they are bound by the dumbbell. You will however be able to heighten the contraction of the chest by doing this. This horizontal adduction is one of the key functions of the pecs and is responsible for the effectiveness of this move in your chest workout.

If you are looking to build a bigger chest and train at home or the gym with dumbbells, you will definitely want to consider putting the dumbbell pullover back in your chest workout routine. If you want to build an athletic chest then head to and check out the ATHLEAN-X Training System. Elite pro athletes are using these exact workouts to build impressive and powerful pecs.

For more chest workout videos and exercises to build a bigger chest at home or at the gym, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at

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30 comments
  1. ATHLEAN-X™ / March 2, 2015

    Is your dumbbell chest workout is missing this powerful chest building
    exercise? See why it needs to be part of your chest building arsenal and
    how to do it correctly.

    #chestworkout #dumbbells #chestexercise #fitness #workout 

    • MAHADEV MANDOL / March 5, 2015
    • Barkurot / March 5, 2015

      How heavy should you go on this? Isn’t the purpose of this exercise for the
      stretch and to expand the rib cage long term? Or is this a new alternative
      on executing this lift for a different burn? Thanks for your help! Look
      forward to watching your next video!

    • nameunselected / April 12, 2015

      Hey Jeff what is your opinion on the Olympic lifts? The clean and jerk and
      the snatch for shoulder health. I know you are avidly against upright
      rowing so I thought I’d ask. Thanks! And God bless

    • gunslinger No.1 / April 12, 2015

      +ATHLEAN-X™ hello Sir jeff thinking about getting ur ATHLEAN-X Program i
      am basically obese can i get the ripped physique as i want buy using it i
      am 5’10 and 250 lbs can get it buy using athlean x program i am working out
      for 1 years but not seeing promising result so will i get it and i am ready
      to go through hell get my body is shape please reply Sir, Thanks in advance

    • Derrick GW / December 22, 2015

      +gunslinger No.1 Did you get it? What’s your progress?

  2. MD-PersonalFitness / October 14, 2015

    Hello Jeff, nice video again but i have one question for you.
    About 3 years ago i got a pacemaker and since that time its hard to stretch
    my armes so far over my head or in the back because the pacemaker is in a
    bag of my chest muscle and is very uncomfortable when i stretch my chest to
    far. Any advices what to do with your excercise in my situation?
    Hopefully you will answer me, i am really interested what you think about
    this.

    Greetings

  3. Tiago Campos / November 25, 2015

    I was having doubts about the pullover. When I wanna get into the details,
    I always come back to athlean x

  4. hadyanth / November 29, 2015

    I was questioning the effectiveness of this exercise as my litmus test for
    any movement is if I feel pressure/burn in the target muscle. Two things I
    was doing wrong were exactly what was described in this video. I went down
    too far and didn’t squeeze together on the return. Can’t wait for gym
    tomorrow to try this properly. Thanks man appreciate your vid and
    subscribing now!

  5. Shabaz Khan / December 1, 2015

    Thanks man ur videos are of gr8 help

  6. gug z / January 4, 2016

    is it okay if my triceps work while pulling back up..??

    • Tmapples Gaming / January 6, 2016

      Try focus on your chest my keeping your arms straight, not locked out
      straight just a small bend in them

    • gug z / January 11, 2016

      thanks …will try

    • Frank Chen / March 31, 2016

      +gug z yes, it is okay because the longhead of the triceps attaches to the
      shoulder. don’t worry about it. keep pullin’!

  7. Jack Murdock / January 18, 2016

    Is it possible to do this without a bench?

    • MrMetra101 / January 19, 2016

      +Jack Murdock yes, just much less comfortable, id recommend using a
      bed/couch at the least

    • theR0nin / April 9, 2016

      +Jack Murdock Why not? You can do it laying flat on the floor, if you want.
      Doesn’t change the position at all.

  8. ToTheSpace 2 / April 8, 2016

    hello everybody!
    I heard you can damage shoulder cuffs with this excercise. How can you not
    damags them, is there any tip on positioning your ahoulders different or
    what?

  9. Vaibhav Dogra / April 24, 2016

    between my pecs there is like a centimetre’s gap at the lower end. Can u
    tell me how to improve it

  10. Justin Sung / April 24, 2016

    Should you have your shoulders back and lats contracted while doing this
    (like in a bench press)? Or let my scapulae protract?

  11. Rob La / May 26, 2016

    damn this made the pullover feel relevant when it felt useless.

  12. Melitzana GR / June 6, 2016

    can’t one do this lying normally on a flat bench ?

  13. Max / June 21, 2016

    I just join gym …can i do pull over ?

  14. AQ Majali (28-1) / June 23, 2016

    is it for upper or lower chest ?

  15. jmcsquared18 / July 1, 2016

    I wonder why I always feel it more in the long head of my triceps. I love
    that, and it’s my favorite triceps long head finisher on chest/tricep day,
    but obviously that isn’t the norm.

  16. Travis Mathis / July 22, 2016

    I find these videos very helpful! I do all home workouts along with Whey
    Protein supplements and Six Star supplements. Some of these are so damn
    hard to do with a shoulder separation, but just have to push through! I can
    definitely feel progress! I’m 6’3″ 284lbs and I can see definition starting
    to show through!

  17. Travis Mathis / July 22, 2016

    I find these videos very helpful! I do all home workouts along with Whey
    Protein supplements and Six Star supplements. Some of these are so damn
    hard to do with a shoulder separation, but just have to push through! I can
    definitely feel progress! I’m 6’3″ 284lbs and I can see definition starting
    to show through!

  18. brewedathome / July 29, 2016

    Can’t do this exercise without shoulder pain. Should I avoid it or can it
    be modified in some way? Thanks

  19. Cascade / August 7, 2016

    I been doing wrong for weeks and even it hurts my lateral delt,ah I feel
    terrible for myself right now,

    thanks JK,

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