At-Home Chest Workout For Women (No Push-Ups!)

Fitness, Upper Body Workouts, Workouts

By: // November 15, 2021


When it comes to chest exercises, push-ups often come to mind. But if you struggle with push-ups or really would rather just skip them, this at-home dumbbell chest workout for women is a great option.

Dumbbell chest exercises are some of the most underrated moves in fitness. We turn to push-ups because they work and use barbells for the same reason.

But the truth is that dumbbells give you an equally good and completely unique at-home chest workout with a lot more variety and some amazing benefits. You don’t need endless push-ups or a bulky bench press machine to get a solid chest workout at home.

Use the links below to quickly navigate this article:

Benefits of Chest Exercises for Women

Working on your chest muscles with dumbbells is part of a well-balanced strength program. The pushing and pulling actions used in a dumbbell chest workout are part and parcel to things you do in everyday life like lifting things onto high shelves overhead, pushing a sofa or chair so you can clean around it, or even lifting a car seat with a child.

Additionally, a chest workout for women help protect shoulder joints from injury during all of these activities as well as improve the balance of your whole body for better posture.

So why should you use those convenient at home dumbbells to strengthen the chest? Let’s look at some reasons chest exercises for women are essential to your strength routine.

1. More Variety

A barbell chest press is a pretty limited exercise. You pull the bar to your chest and press it up. It’s a fixed activity. Similarly, aside from moving your hand positions, push-ups do a fairly fixed movement.

A chest workout using dumbbells, on the other hand, give you a variety of ways to focus on all of your chest muscles. You can begin with a basic chest press and then by simply turning your palms inward change the focus of the muscles used.

Just as quickly you can draw your arms close to your side and turn it into a tricep-focused chest press. Now switch to a dumbbell chest fly adding more dimension to the smaller chest muscles that might otherwise be ignored.

Dumbbells simply give more variety for an at-home chest workout.

2. Easier On The Joints

Push-ups are THE go-to exercise for most people, and for good reason. They work! The problem is that many people are unable to do push-ups due to overuse and joint injuries, usually in the shoulder. When done improperly push-ups can lead to shoulder injuries very quickly.

On the other hand, pressing a barbell up and down has risks of its own. If one side of your body is weaker than the other (which is true for most people) your strong side will subtly but certainly kick-in as needed to bear the extra weight. This means you are at risk for problems with that side over time.

Having a dumbbell in each hand keeps both sides equally accountable. Plus, it means you have to work harder to stabilize the weights giving you not only a more balanced activity but one that also strengthens your core and all the smaller muscles that surround that target chest area.

3. Bigger Range Of Motion

For those of you looking to strengthen the chest more quickly, dumbbells should be your choice. Using similar weight to a barbell bench press, the difference is that the barbell stops at the chest no matter what your flexibility is.

Dumbbells, however, allow you to go farther in your chest workout for women, especially if you have more shoulder flexibility. Just be careful to do them slowly and safely to protect yourself from over-stretching your muscles or injuring yourself.

Pro tip: Go slower on the way down. Lower the weights to a slow 4-count and then press them up.

What Kind of Dumbbells Should You Use For An At-Home Chest Workout?

Young woman laying on the floor with adjustable dumbbells lifted overhead

For our at-home dumbbell chest workout for women, the choise of weight is important. If you already have a good set of dumbbells at home, grab yourself a pair of 10-, 12- or 15-pound dumbbells for this workout. If a 10-pound is too much, go lighter if you’re just starting out and 15-pounds isn’t enough, grab a pair that feels like a challenge!

If on the other hand, you don’t have any dumbbells at home and you’re not sure which ones to buy, check out our beginner’s guide to strength training, where we include all sorts of information from adjustable to fixed and even which shape works better for different purposes.

At Home Dumbbell Chest Workout for Women

We put together this program of chest exercises for women who want something focused yet easy to add to their workout routine.

This at home dumbbell chest workout consists of a short warm-up followed by three rounds of exercises. Each round includes one chest, one back and one core move for a balanced workout.

Depending on your fitness level and the time you have to spend, there are two ways to accomplish it:

10-Minute Beginner/Intermediate Dumbbell Chest Workout

Start at the beginning and perform each round of chest exercises one time with 1 minute in between rounds to rest.

20-Minute Intermediate/Advanced Dumbell Chest Workout

Perform Round 1 and repeat. Rest 1 minute. Perform Round 2 and repeat. Rest 1 minute. Perform Round 3 and repeat. Rest 1 minute.

ADVANCED BONUS: Now go back to the top and perform rounds 1, 2, and 3 without stopping!!! Trust us, you’ll be sore and satisfied the next day!

*Keep in mind that if you have shoulder pain or injury your range of motion should stay smaller.

Chest Workout Women’s Warm-Up

Before the workout, take a few minutes to do these 3 warm-up exercises to prepare your upper body for what is to come. This gets blood flowing and helps prevent injury.

Arm Circles and Figure 8’s:

Young woman performing arm circles for a chest workout warm-up

Stand tall and make big, alternating circles forward with both arms 10 times like you are doing the front crawl standing up. Then 10 times backward like you are doing the backstroke. Then take one arm at a time and make a figure 8, 10 per arm. This prepares the upper body, especially the rotator cuff.

Inchworm

Chris Freytag performing inchworms for a dumbbell chest workout at home warm-up

Stand tall and roll down until your hands reach the floor. Walk your hands forward until you’re one long line in a plank position. Take tiny steps walking your feet forward until they reach your hands. Walk hands out to plank again, and feet back to hands.  Continue repeating this several times.

Plank Shoulder Tap

Chris Freytag performing plank shoulder taps in a chest workout for women warm-up

Begin in a plank position with hands direction under shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Hold your center still, squeeze your abs and glutes, and lightly tap the opposite shoulder 16 times total.

At-Home Chest Workout Round 1

It’s time to begin our chest workout for women! Let’s go!

Chest Press

Perform the chest press 10 times as shown. Then alternate pressing arm right and left one at a time for 10 total reps.

Chris Freytag performing a chest press in an at-home chest workout

How to do a chest press:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Elbows are bent and dumbbells start at shoulder height.

2) Extend arms fully pressing away from your chest. Slowly lower to start position.

Straight Arm Press Backs

Perform these slowly; lower for 4 counts lift for 1. Do 12 repetitions.

Chris Freytag performing straight arm press backs in a dumbbell chest workout

How to do straight arm press backs:

1) Start with feet hip-distance apart. Engage your abdominals and sit back into a slight squat. Dumbbells start at the sides of the knees.

2) Keeping the core engaged, press the dumbbells past your hips and return with control. Avoid swinging the arms or bending the elbows.

Plank Shoulder Taps

Perform 20 opposite shoulder taps.

Chris Freytag performing plank shoulder taps in a chest workout for women

How to perform plank shoulder taps:

1) Begin in a plank position with hands direction under shoulders and feet hip-width apart.

2) Hold your center still, squeeze your abs and glutes, and lightly tap the opposite shoulder.

Beginners: rest one minute, then go to round 2.

Advanced: repeat round 1.

At-Home Chest Workout Round 2

Chest Fly

The chest fly is one of the most effective chest exercises. In this workout perform a chest fly 10 times as shown. Then alternate right arm, left arm, one at a time for 10 total reps.

Chris Freytag performing chest flys in a chest workout with dumbbells

How to do chest flys:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on floor and hold dumbbells straight up over chest.

2) With a slight bend in the elbow, slowly open arms wide out to the side. Squeeze your chest as you bring    the weights back together at the top. Repeat for desired number of reps.

Straight Arm Press Backs

Perform 12 slow press backs, squeezing and pausing as you press.

Chris Freytag performing straight arm press backs

How to do straight arm press backs:

1) Start with feet hip-distance apart. Engage your abdominals and sit back into a slight squat. Dumbbells start at the sides of the knees.

2) Keeping the core engaged, press the dumbbells past your hips and return with control. Avoid swinging the arms or bending the elbows.

Sit-Up Press

Slowly curl up with the weights at your chest, then press using chest and arms at the top.

Chris Freytag performing a sit-up press

How to do a sit-up press:

1) Start on back with bent knees and feet on the mat. Elbows are bent and dumbbells are resting above the chest.

2) Bring the head, neck, and shoulders off the mat sitting up, and extend the arms out long pressing the dumbbell forward. Return back to the mat with control.

Beginners: rest one minute then go to round 3.

Advanced: repeat round 2.

At-Home Chest Workout Round 3

Chest Press/Chest Fly

Alternating: Do one chest press then one chest fly as one rep. Perform 10 reps alternating one of each.

Chris Freytag demonstrating how to perform chest flys and chest presses with dumbbells

How to do a chest press:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Elbows are bent and dumbbells start at shoulder height.

2) Extend arms fully pressing away from your chest. Slowly lower to start position.

How to do chest flys:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on floor and hold dumbbells straight up over chest.

2) With a slight bend in the elbow, slowly open arms wide out to the side. Squeeze your chest as you bring    the weights back together at the top. Repeat for desired number of reps.

Reverse Grip Double Arm Row

Pull slowly and squeeze your back as you do so. Perform 12 reps.

Chris Freytag performing reverse grip double arm rows in a chest workout for women

How to do reverse grip double arm rows:

1) Start with legs together and sit back into a slight squat engaging abdominals. Arms are in front of the body holding dumbbells at hip height with palms facing the ceiling.

2) Draw elbows back past hips gently hugging the side body so you feel lats and triceps engage and return forward with control.

Mid-Back Extension

Using your upper back and abdominal muscles perform 12 mid-back extensions lifting up, briefly pausing, then slowly lowering for 4 counts.

Chris Freytag performing mid-back entensions in an at home chest workout

How to do mid-back extensions:

1) Start lying face down on mat. Lift abs away from mat to engage them and slide the shoulders down the back. The head is lifted in a low hover. Your body is one long line.

2) Using your back muscles and core, lift the chest away from the mat into extension as you exhale. Think of lengthening from the crown of the head.

3) Inhale and return back down to the mat slowly getting longer through the spine as you return.

Beginners: you are done with your chest workout!
Advanced: repeat round 3.

BONUS ROUND: after repeating round 3 go back to the beginning and move straight through the whole chest workout.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to build chest with just dumbbells. After this workout, you’ll feel the burn! This roundup of chest exercises for women should be a part of a weekly strength training program. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy either. Monitor your progress weekly and enjoy how your upper body transforms!

Pin This At-Home Chest Workout For Later!

Pin image of dumbbell chest workout

READ THIS NEXT: 10-Minute Bicep Workout For Women


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

1 Comment


on June 18, 2020 at 5:06 AM Reply

I have never had much (any) success building my chest up. I started this a month ago and it hurt so much after the first time I figured I might have actually found something that worked for me. A month of this set and I am seeing massive differences. It's unreal! Thank you so much!!!



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