intense chest workout at home with light dumbbells

Intense Chest Workout at Home with Light Dumbbells

You want to train chest at home but you don’t have heavy dumbbells. And you’re wondering ‘Can I still get a good workout with light weight?’

Yes, you can! In this post, I’m going to give you the most intense chest workout you can do at home with light dumbbells.

In fact, you’re going to be struggling to finish that last set, even using lighter dumbbells. And your chest is going to be pumped in a way it’s never been pumped before.

The key to getting a good chest workout is intensity. I’m going to take you through some techniques that make your muscles work harder. So keep reading…

I’m writing this during the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak when 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.

Many do not have heavier weights at home, and buying weights can be expensive. So this workout shows you how to use what you have to get an intense workout (or you can buy a pair of lighter dumbbells, which aren’t so expensive; I also include a buying guide below).

Equipment Needed

bench and dumbbells - workouts at home

Now, you can do this workout with minimal equipment. But there are 2 things you’ll need to train chest at home, for this specific workout:

  • A pair of dumbbells
  • A bench, preferably an adjustable one

**Skip down to the next section ‘Methods to Increase Workout Intensity‘ if you already have this equipment at home!

As I mentioned above, not everyone can afford to buy an entire gym to put in their home. That’s okay because you don’t need to.

Weights are expensive but there’s no need to buy super heavy dumbbells to workout at home. I’m going to show you how to use a pair of light dumbbells to exhaust your chest muscles.

If you already have light dumbbells, I encourage you to just use what you have for now. If not, you can go buy a light pair of dumbbells for a reasonable price. Again, there’s no need to spend money on heavy weights.

You also need a bench, and it’s best if have or have the means to get an adjustable bench. This is for the incline exercises you’ll be doing (I’ll explain the importance of working upper chest later during the workout).

Buying Guide for Working Out At Home

Here are some tips to getting gym equipment for home workouts:

  • Check local used gym equipment stores (like Play It Again Sports)
  • Search online for used dumbbells and a bench on places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace
  • Some pawnshops may have weight, but call around first
  • You can always buy new, but that’s the most expensive route

Methods to Increase Workout Intensity

There are some specific ways you’ll perform these exercises to make your chest workout more intense. Although you’re using lighter weights, the dumbbells are going to feel much heavier throughout each set.

Your goal is to make lighter weights feel heavy by forcing your muscles to work harder.

You’ll see 4 methods below. You’ll also be combining these methods to work together. To put it in simple terms, your chest workout is going to be intense enough to build muscle, even with lighter weights.

  1. Pre-exhausting Your Chest: You normally start your chest workout with a press but not this time. Instead, you’re going to start with dumbbell flyes. This is going to pre-exhaust your chest muscles and force your pecs to work harder when you go to dumbbell presses.
  2. Supersets and Giant Sets: You’ll be supersetting your first 2 exercises. As stated above, your first exercise will be an isolation movement, flyes. Then you’ll move on to presses. But you won’t stop there; you’ll rest for a few seconds and add another exercise, making it a giant set (you’re essentially using supersets within a giant set).
  3. Controlled Reps + Pump Reps: This is where the workout gets even more interesting. Your first exercise will be done with controlled reps. This means taking your time and really working our pecs with slower reps, contracting your muscles throughout each rep. Then, for the superset, you’ll pump out more reps for dumbbell press. These are faster reps and will pump more blood into your muscles.
  4. Rest-Pause Sets: You’ll end the circuit of chest exercises with a rest-pause set. This is taking 10-15 seconds of rest from your last set and pumping out more reps using the same weight. Here, you’ll do another press but with a slight variation in your grip that you’re working your chest from a different angle. You can read more about working your chest from different angles in my post: How to Define and Shape Your Chest: Working Chest from All Angles.

Dumbbell Chest Exercises

Before we get into your chest routine, here are the exercises you’ll want to be familiar with. There’s a video below the workout that you can watch to show you how to do each exercise:

  • Dumbbell press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Dumbbell flyes
  • Incline dumbbell flyes
  • Dumbbell pullovers
  • Incline push-ups

Intense Chest Workout (at Home)

Dumbbells - chest - flyes2

Now it’s time for your chest workout with light dumbbells. There are 3 parts to this workout, and each is a circuit of exercises.

Here’s the flow of the workout:

Circuit 1

  • Incline flyes: 10 controlled reps
  • Superset with incline press: 10 ‘pump’ reps
  • Rest-pause (10-15 seconds) with a palms-facing incline press: 10 reps
ExercisesReps & Methods
Incline Flyes10 controlled reps
superset with below exercise:
Incine Press10 pump reps
rest-pause for 10-15 seconds:
Neutral Grip Incline10 pump reps

*This first round focuses on your upper chest. I have another helpful post explaining why you need to focus more on this part of your pecs here: Upper Chest Workout

After this circuit, you’ll rest for about 20-30 seconds and repeat this same pattern but with the bench in the regular (flat) position:

Circuit 2

  • Flat flyes: 10 controlled reps
  • Superset with a flat press: 10 ‘pump’ reps
  • Rest-pause (10-15 seconds) with a palms-facing flat press: 10 reps
ExercisesReps & Methods
Dumbbell Flyes10 controlled reps
superset with below exercise:
Dumbbell Press10 pump reps
rest-pause for 10-15 seconds:
Neutral Grip Press10 pump reps

Now, you’ll rest for another 20-30 seconds and finished with the below superset:

Circuit 3

  • Dumbbell pullovers: 10 controlled reps
  • Superset with incline push ups: 10 controlled reps
ExercisesReps & Methods
Dumbbell Pullovers10 controlled reps
superset with below exercise:
Incline Push-ups10 controlled reps

Once you’ve completed all 3 circuits, you can repeat this entire process again and even for a 3rd time if you want to make it more intense.

VIDEO: Intense Chest Workout at Home with Dumbbells

Below is the video showing you the intense chest workout with light dumbbells:

*I also have a full dumbbell workout plan you can do at home in this post: Muscle Building Workout at Home with Dumbbells

Building Chest with Light Dumbbells

If you’re like, you initially hesitate at the idea that you can build your chest muscles using light dumbbells. And training at home? That’s not the gym atmosphere we’re used to. We’re used to that big weight on the bench with our bro spotting us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching against lifting heavy. But remember, this workout is for those times where for whatever reason the gym is unavailable to you. This post has taught you how to use what you have at home and make the most of it.

And now, you can clearly see that it’s possible to get an intense chest workout with minimal equipment. And yes, even with lighter weights.

And now you know the methods you need to use to make your workouts more effective. You have to force your pecs to work harder.

You also have to tap into that mind-to-muscle connection and concentrate on your chest muscles throughout each rep. Make every rep count. Don’t just go through the motions.
*All of my premium programs have a mindset module included.

Lastly, here are some additional tips to take your chest workouts to the next level:

  • Try a natural test booster to maximize your gains like TestoFuel
  • Take creatine monohydrate before and after you train like ON Creatine
  • For gym workouts, try one of my Premium Programs

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


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