Try this simple chest routine with just a bench and dumbbells. This had my pecs sore for at least two days, but probably because chest is just one of those muscle groups that I do not like to work. For me, it’s boring. To get myself motivated, I incorporated some new, challenging moves. Not only do we hit chest, but the secondary muscle triceps. These two muscles work together in almost all pressing movements and you will definitely be feeling it after this one!
Dumbbell Chest Press: Lay flat on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand by your chest. Using your chest and tricep muscles, press the weights up together, so your arms are straight but not locked and the weights are directly over the center of your chest. Elbows flare out as you bring the weight down to the outside of your chest again. Key here is to keep those weights centered over your chest, and not your shoulders or belly.
Narrow Press: Hold the dumbbells with palms facing each other and the weights resting on each other, directly over the center of the chest. With elbows flaring out, press the weights directly upwards, really squeezing those inner chest muscles.
Skull Crushers: Hold dumbbells with palms facing each other, lay down on bench. Keep elbows high, moving only at elbow joint to work triceps.
Reverse Grip Chest Press: Start laying flat on bench with dumbbells in each hand, palms facing up in the direction of shoulders and head. With elbows flared out, press the dumbbells up together in a V position, directly over chest. Do not try to get the weights in a straight line, or you will over-rotate that elbow. Remember to position the weights over the chest in the upward movement, not over belly or shoulders.
Off Center One Arm Chest Press: Lay on the bench so your body is halfway off…literally halfway off, including your head! The legs and core will do a lot of stabilizing here, and you might need to use a slightly lighter weight. One dumbbell should be gripped in the hand on the side of the body hanging off the bench. Push the weight up to your center line, as if it were meeting another dumbbell there. The free hand usually rests on my hip or the bench. Sometimes I even cross it over my chest to help stabilize. Not only are we working chest, but all the stabilizing muscles in all parts of our body. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the next.
Tate Press: Lay flat on bench with dumbbells in each hand, palms facing down. Flare those elbows up and out, at almost a 45 degree angle from your chest. Extend the weights outwards and return them centered over your chest. This should really target your triceps, but will also hit the chest and some shoulders. A key here would be to keep those elbows stabilized. You are not at all moving the position of the elbows, just the position of the hands.
Incline Press: Put the bench on an incline. Start the dumbbells on the outside of the chest, then press them up overhead and together. This really hits the upper chest. Be careful to center weights over chest and not go behind head or too far over shoulder. Keep those abs and chest muscles tight.
Incline Chest Fly: Keep that bench at an incline. This time start the weights over the chest with palms facing each other. Fly them carefully out to where you just start feeling a stretch in the chest, then squeeze them back up together. This one specifically targets the inner chest and always gets me sore! The difference between this and flat bench is just a slight angle change to also recruit the upper chest.
Overhead Tricep Extension: Standing tall with abs tight, grip one dumbbell with the “diamond grip” (using both hands, the thumbs and the pointer fingers make a diamond around the bar of the weight). Keep elbows and upper arm in line with ears, keeping the elbows in the same position throughout the movement. Extend weight behind head, then raise it up over head without locking elbows. This targets those tris!