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Chest and Back Circuit Workout with Dumbbells at Home

March 23, 2020

Chest and back workout with dumbbells at home

Are you ready for a chest and back workout that you can do at home? All you need is a bench and a pair of dumbbells.

In this post, I’m going to take you through an awesome chest and back superset workout that’s effective at building muscle. And you can easily do this workout at home, or really anywhere.

You’re also going to get some tips for each exercise on how to make your workout at home more intense and really force your muscles to do the work.

The workout you’re going to do is based on circuit training. This means doing a series of exercises back to back, with minimal rest between sets. Once you’re finished, you can repeat the circuit.

Dumbbell Workout for Chest and Back

Dumbbells - chest - flyes2

Now it’s time to train chest and back. But first, let’s go over a few notes about the workout.

  • You’re going to do a total of 6 exercises
  • 3 for chest
  • 3 for back
  • You will be alternating back and chest exercises through an entire circuit
  • 15-20 second rest going between each exercise
  • Once you finish the routine you can rest for a minute or so and repeat the circuit (I recommend you repeat at least once; twice is even better!)
  • Going through the circuit twice will take about 15 minutes

Dumbbell Routine

Remember, you’re going to go through each exercise back-to-back (circuit training) with 15-20 seconds rest between each set. Once you finish the routine, rest about a minute and repeat the circuit.

Dumbbell Press10
Bent-over Rows10
Dumbbell Flyes10
Dumbbell Rows10
Dumbbell Pullovers10
Reverse Grip Bent-over Rows10

This workout is based on the push-pull training method. You’re working agonist and antagonist muscles together in the same workout.

If you’d like to see a gym workout you can do using this method, read my post: Push-Pul-Legs Workout: 6-Day Routine for Mass and Strength Gains

Dumbbell Exercises for Chest and Back

Below I’m going to give you some tips that will help you make each exercise for intense and effective. Your goal here is to force the muscles to work harder even if you’re using lighter weights.

Dumbbell Press

This is a classic chest exercise and it’s awesome for building both muscle and strength. The key with the dumbbell press is to get a deeper stretch at the bottom than you would with a barbell.

You also want to get a good squeeze at the top of the movement. Extend your arms all the way out and flex your pecs. You can even hold it there for a couple of seconds.

Then lower the dumbbells in a slow and controller manner. This forces your chest muscles to work harder.

Bent-over Rows

There’s no greater muscle-building exercise for building your back than bent-over rows. It’s what every back workout should start with.

You start by leaning forward with a slight arch in your lower back. Letting your arms hang down holding the dumbbells in front of you, pull the weight up towards your stomach area. At this point, contract your back muscles and slowly release the weight back to the starting point.

Dumbbell Flyes

You’re going to add more shape to your chest with dumbbell flyes.

Start out like you’re doing a regular dumbbell press but have your palms facing each other. When you do these just pretend you’re hugging a big tree.

This is an exercise you really want to contract your pecs at the top of the movement.

Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell rows are a single-arm movement and you’ll need the bench for this. Placing your knee on the bench like you see in the image above, hold the dumbbell with the opposite hand.

From the floor, pull the dumbbell up while keeping your elbow close to your side (don’t let your arm flare out). Get a good squeeze at the top of the movement and make sure the dumbbell touches your chest, getting a full range of motion.

Dumbbell Pullovers

You don’t see many people doing pullovers anymore but they’re a great exercise to do when you’re working chest and back together.

Pullovers work those muscles between your chest and lats. They also help bring out your chest muscles.

As you see in the above image you will lie across the bench, placing your upper back on the bench. Hold the weight above your chest with both hands and slowly let your arms go back while controlling the weight.

As you pull the weight up and over our chest, make sure you’re forcing your chest muscles to pull the weight. You’ll feel your lat muscles come contracting too.

Reverse Grip Bent-over Rows

This exercise is essentially the same as the dumbbell bent-over rows you did in the beginning of this workout. The difference is you’re using an underhand grip.

Reverse grip bent-over rows work a different part of your back muscles. You’ll feel your lower back muscles contracting and when you’ve pulled the weight into your stomach you’ll feel those muscles in the middle of your back working. The key is to force those muscles to work harder with concentrated reps.

If you’d like to go through an entire dumbbell workout routine that you can do at home, read my post: Muscle Building Workout at Home with Dumbbells

How to Make Your Chest and Back Workouts More Effective

Here are 3 more tips on how you can make your workouts at home more effective. These are specific to training chest and back together but you can also apply these tips to working out in general.

  1. This is an obvious one but be sure to have your equipment set up before your workout. Because when it’s time to train you want to focus 100% on that, not setting up.
  2. Since you’re training at home you may not go as heavy as you would in a gym. This being the case, make sure that you’re using controlled reps, forcing your muscles to the work.
  3. Keep moving throughout your workout. Since you’re not training as heavy, reduce your rest between sets.

VIDEO: Chest and Back Dumbbell Workout

Here’s the workout video I made for this post. You can watch this to see exactly how I do the chest and back exercises. And you can actually do the workout along with me.

**Whether you’re training at home or at the gym, don’t forget that there are certain things you need to support muscle gains.

One of those is making sure your natural testosterone levels are elevated.

Be sure to read about my top recommended natural testosterone booster here.

Chest and Back at Home

Home workouts can be just as good as going to the gym. It all depends on how hard you work. Or rather, how hard you force your muscles to work.

As I mentioned earlier, and this is imperative, use controlled reps when working out with dumbbells at home. Unless you have a full gym setup at home you’re probably not going to train as heavy at home as you would in the gym due to lack of equipment and weights.

For example, you would probably bench press far more total weight with the barbell bench press than you would doing dumbbell press. However, with dumbbells, you have to have more balance and control. The same goes for barbell rows vs. dumbbell bent-over rows with dumbbells.

Dumbbells also give you a greater range of motion for chest and back exercises. I’m not saying they’re better. I just want to encourage you that you can indeed build muscle and get into awesome shape training at home.

**Be sure to check out all of the premium training programs and more here at The Muscle Program Shop.

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


About the author

Jason Stallworth

Hi, I'm Jason Stallworth and I created The Muscle Program in 2010 for the purpose of helping you build muscle. I know first-hand how weight training and being in the gym has shaped my life in more way than one. And here is where I share that experience with you so that you can continue pushing yourself and becoming the best version of yourself each day!