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Chest and Triceps Workout at Home with Dumbbells

by Jason Stallworth

April 29, 2020

Training chest and triceps together is almost like a spiritual experience. These muscles work in perfect unison when trained in the same workout.

But can you get a good chest and triceps workout at home? And what if all you have is a pair of light dumbbells?

In this post, you’re going to get an awesome workout for your chest and triceps. And it’s not going to matter how much weight you’re lifting.

I’m going to show you some ways to make your workout more intense. Even with lighter dumbbells.

I’m writing this post during the time when we’re all under quarantine and most gyms around the world are closed.

This post is not intended to knock lifting heavy weight. Rather, it’s intended for those times when you can’t make it to the gym or your gym is closed for whatever reason.

If you already train at home, this is an awesome workout to add to your training routine.

Your Chest and Triceps Workout at Home

Dumbbells - chest - flyes2

Let’s get into the meat and potatoes right away – your workout. Naturally, you’ll start with chest and finish with triceps.

Here are some important notes about the workout:

  • You need 2 pieces of equipment – dumbbells and a bench
  • A rep range is listed for each exercise as this will depend on the amount of weight you’re using (for ‘at home workouts’ I’m assuming you may not have access to heavier dumbbells)
  • Rest about 1 minute between each set
  • You’ll be using some specific training methods for some exercises – I’ll explain these below…

Training Methods You’ll Use for Increased Intensity

Here’s what makes the workout interesting and more intense. And this is going to help you build muscle even with using light dumbbells.

Ending your last 5 reps with concentrated reps – For your first two exercises, dumbbell flyes and dumbbell press, you’ll do the last 5 reps as concentrated reps. This means…

  • Doing these last few reps slower
  • Focusing on the negative part of the rep, taking 3-5 seconds to lower the weight
  • Holding a squeeze at the peak of those reps for 2-3 seconds

Unilateral reps – Your 3rd and final chest exercise will be unilateral dumbbell press. This gives your pecs more time under tension, which leads to muscle growth.

  • Lower one dumbbell while holding the other up
  • Don’t lock out the extended arm; have a slight bend in that elbow to keep the tension on the muscle, not your joints
  • Once you press the dumbbell up, repeat with the opposite arm

Focused reps for triceps – There’s no ‘special’ technique or methods for your tricep exercises. But you do need to be 100% focused on forcing those muscles to work harder. Don’t just go through the motions.

  • Contract/flex your triceps at the peak of each rep
  • Force your triceps to work harder by slowing down the reps; don’t speed through these exercises
  • Get a full range of motion for triceps

**Be sure to continue reading after the workout. I’m going to give you more tips for each exercise and show you ways to make these movements for effective for building muscle.

The Workout

ExerciseSets x Reps
Dumbbell Flyes4 x 20-25
Dumbbell Press4 x 25-30
Unilateral Press4 x 12-20
Lying Dumbbell Extensions3 x 12-20
Overhead Dumbbell Extensions3 x 12-20

Video: Training Chest and Triceps at Home

***In the video, I mentioned the pre-workout supplement I’m taking. You can read my full PreFIERCE review here.

Dumbbell Exercises for Chest and Triceps

Now, let’s go through each exercise in more depth. You’ll find images and a description of each exercise below. And I’ll share some best practices on how you can make each chest and triceps exercise more effective for building muscle at home.

Dumbbell Flyes

This is a standard dumbbell flye exercise but there are some ways to make this target your pecs more. And remember, this is one of the exercises you’re ending with concentrated reps.

  • Make sure you get a deep stretch at the bottom of the movement; you don’t have to over-exaggerate here, but you want to feel that stretch
  • Flex those pecs at the top of the movement; this is where you get the maximum muscle-building benefits
  • If you rush through this exercise, you’ll miss the muscle building benefits; just going through the motions is not going to grant you the results you’re looking for

Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell press is an excellent chest-building exercise. It’s basic, but remember, you’re also ending with concentrated reps for dumbbell press.

  • When you press the dumbbells up, focus on forcing your chest muscles to move the weight
  • Also, concentrate on making your chest muscles feel the tension on the negative part of the press

Unilateral Dumbbell Press

If you want to take your chest workout to the next level, do unilateral dumbbell press. This is going to build more muscle because you’re keeping constant tension on your pecs throughout the entire set. And we all know that time under tension is what builds muscle.

  • Start as if you’re doing a normal dumbbell press
  • Only bring one dumbbell down towards your chest while holding the other up
  • Don’t lockout that other arm; keep a slight bend in your elbow as I mentioned earlier as this will keep tension on your muscle, not your joints
  • Get a nice contraction at the peak of each rep before lowering the other dumbbell

Lying Tricep Extensions

This exercise is a great mass builder for your triceps. And doing them with both dumbbells simultaneously places more tension on the muscle as you have to balance the dumbbells.

  • Start by pressing the dumbbells directly above you, like a dumbbell chest press
  • Turn your grip so that your palms are facing one another
  • Keeping your elbows in the same position, bend your arms to lower the dumbbells towards your head
  • You can go as low as the dumbbells being beside your head, a little deeper than 90 degrees
  • As you press the dumbbells back up, make sure you’re forcing your triceps to do the work by keeping strict form
  • At the top of the movement, you can rotate your wrists outward a little to get that extra contraction in your triceps

Overhead Single-Arm Tricep Extensions

You can do these standing or seated. Or you can alternate how you do them each workout for variety, which is always a good thing.

  • Extend one arm holding the dumbbell above your head
  • Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head
  • Use strict form and keep your elbow in that same position so that your triceps are forced to do the work
  • Flex that muscle once you get to the top of the movement

**One additional tip is to start with the opposite arm every other workout. This helps even out the strength in both arms.

If you’d like more chest and arms workouts you can do at home with light dumbbells, check out these posts below:

Intense Chest Workout with Dumbbells at Home
Arm Circuit Workout at Home

Training Chest and Triceps at Home

Training at home is quite different than going to the gym. At the gym, you have an array of equipment and machines and access to different exercises.

At home, you may be limited. And in this case, we’re assuming you only have a pair of light dumbbells.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip your workouts. As you can see in this workout, there are techniques and methods you can use to increase your intensity.

Also, with the right mindset, you can build just as much muscle at home as you can in the gym. Don’t get me wrong – I’m an avid fan of lifting heavy. But it’s really not about how much weight you lift. It’s how hard you’re making your muscles work.

Part of having the ability to train harder is having 100% focus during your workouts. And there’s a specific pre-workout supplement that helps me with that, and can help you as well. So be sure to read my full review and experience on the pre-workout PreFIERC here.

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,

Jason