This Chest Workout Will Help You Add Mass

Using only dumbbells and your own body weight, these chest exercises will help you add mass.

If you want to build a bigger chest, you need a high-intensity workout with a variety of reps and planes of motion. For these chest workouts for mass, all you need are your own body weight and dumbbells. Check out the video player above for a demonstration of each exercise.

Dumbbell Isometric Chest Press

Dumbbell Isometric Chest Press

Building your chest doesn't always require an Olympic bar. This exercise uses dumbbells to build size, while keeping good flexibility. Dumbbells provide a good stretch to your muscles and allow for greater range of motion than a barbell. The isometric portion of this exercise builds stability and strength in your muscles and tendons, and engages your central nervous system.

RELATED: 8-Exercise Advanced Bodyweight Chest and Back Workout

  • Lie on your back with your feet shoulder-width apart and your heels down.
  • Hold both dumbbells with a pronated (palms-down) grip and bring them up over your chest with your elbows slightly bent.
  • Lower one dumbbell to an inch above your chest with your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Keep the other dumbbell stable throughout.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 using your 10-rep max, with two minutes rest between sets; advanced, 3x8-12 using 75 percent of your one rep max, with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Coaching points: Keep your heels firmly on the floor to assist with stabilization. Your lower back might have a slight arch; however, do not excessively curve your lower back. Keep good control of both dumbbells throughout.

Dumbbell Incline Chest Press on Stability Ball

Dumbbell Incline Chest Press on Stability Ball

This exercise builds your shoulder muscles and triceps as well as your chest. Training on the stability ball challenges the entire body, assisting with optimal balance and posture.

RELATED: 3 Dumbbell Chest Exercises to Impress the Rest

  • Place your lower back securely on the stability ball and position your feet shoulder-width apart .
  • Hold each dumbbell with a pronated grip and press both upward.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent at the top.
  • Bring the dumbbells down with control, keeping our elbows bent at 90 degrees.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 using your 10-rep max, with two minutes rest between sets; advanced, 3x8-12 using 75 percent of your one-rep max, with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Coaching points: Your feet should feel stable on the floor to assist with stabilization. Keep good control of both dumbbells throughout, especially while you're on the stability ball. Keep your neck tucked down and relax your upper trapezius muscles throughout.

Pronated One-Hand Dumbbell Row with Bench

Pronated One-Hand Dumbbell Row with Bench

Many athletes have shoulders that are rotated forward and over-active (tight) chest muscles, a result of working their anterior chain too much without performing exercises that engage their posterior chain. This exercise strengthens the middle of the back muscles, including the rhomboids and scapulae. The latissimus dorsi muscles are also engaged, helping create equal symmetry in the front and back of the body.

RELATED: 7 Dumbbell Chest Press Variations for a Stronger Chest

  • Bend one knee and place it on a flat bench.
  • Plant your other foot firmly on the floor. If your left knee is on the flat bench, row the dumbbell with your palm down in your right hand.
  • Row the dumbbell up underneath your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower slowly with control to the starting position.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 using your 10-rep max, with two minutes rest between sets; advanced, 3x8-12 using 75 percent of your one rep max, with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Coaching points: Relax your upper back and do not round your scapulae. Maintain a slight arch to your lower back. Do not elevate your upper trapezius, since these muscles will only assist for added strength. With each repetition, "draw" your abdominals toward your spine for added stability.

Push-Ups with Alternating Legs

Push-Ups with Alternating Legs

This is an advanced Push-Up because it engages more core muscles (e..g, the rectus abdominis), and you are in motion during this exercise. Besides building hypertrophy in your chest, shoulders and triceps, you engage your gluteal muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings.

  • Position your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise one leg extended at the knee a few inches above the floor.
  • Perform a Push-Up by lowering your nose gently to the floor and bending your elbows 90 degrees.
  • Continuously lower down and rise up in a controlled manner, switching legs at the top of each Push-Up.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 with two minutes rest between sets; more advanced athletes, 3x24, with two minutes rest between sets.

Coaching points: Do not lean, hike your hips or raise your leg more than a few inches above the floor. Maintain a neutral spine position. Draw your abdominals in toward your spine for added stability. Your upper trapezius muscles should remain down with your neck muscles relaxed during the pushing motion.

Rear Deltoid Raise

Rear Deltoid Raise

This lateral movement helps engage the rear deltoids, which are typically under-active (weak) on athletes who perform mostly chest and anterior deltoid movements. This exercise helps create better symmetry between the front and back of the body.

  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
  • Lean forward with your upper back flat (not rounded; keep a slight arch in your lower back.
  • Keep your anterior deltoids stable as you hold both dumbbells in a neutral grip.
  • Lift the dumbbells back to your sides at a 30-degree angle.

Sets/Reps: Beginners, 3x10 with two minutes rest between sets; advanced, 3x8 -12 and two minutes rest between sets.

Coaching points: It's crucial to keep your lower back slightly arched throughout the movement to avoid possible injury to your back. Keep your body as horizontal as possible to engage your rear deltoids (not other muscle groups). Keep bending your knees, which will help keep you horizontal and help your lower back maintain the optimal arch.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | WORKOUTS | EXERCISE | BENCH | PRESS | DUMBBELLS | LOWER BACK | SPINE | STABILITY BALL