Build chest muscle at home in just 12 minutes using this dumbbell workout

Improve your upper body strength with this short dumbbell and bodyweight routine

Man completing chest presses with two dumbbells
(Image credit: Getty)

Not all chest muscles are built in the gym. You can build, tone, and strengthen your upper body muscle at home with the right kind of exercises that use some form of force to work against. In this 12-minute workout, you will work against your own body weight and a set of dumbbells to train your chest.

The best chest workouts at home save a lot of time and money as it saves you paying for a gym membership and the time you'd spend traveling to and from there for your workouts. This is why owning some of the best adjustable dumbbells is a worthwhile investment. They combine multiple weight sizes into one saving you the need for you to buy a whole rack of separate sized weights.

Chris Heria the creator behind the fitness training YouTube channel, THENX, has put together 10 chest-based exercises that are all home-friendly. Using a pair of light dumbbells combined with different push-up variations you will engage different areas of your chest and give yourself a complete chest workout.

Heria notes that not everyone will necessarily have heavy dumbbells to work with at home so his chest routine uses drop sets (this is when you repeatedly train a muscle until failure) with higher rep ranges and dumbbell exercises leading straight into push-up variations to increase the time under tension and to ensure hypertrophy.

Watch Chris Heria's Home Chest Workout

Heria walks you through the whole workout, providing audio cues and tips on how to reach hypertrophy with each exercise. The first couple of exercises are to be completed for 10 reps and the remaining moves you should aim to complete for 10-15 reps, depending on how many you manage before moving on to the next exercise. Below is a list of each exercise, feel free to adjust the reps to your strength abilities.

  • Dumbbell one arm press
  • Assisted one arm push ups
  • Twisting dumbbell press
  • Elevated diamond squeeze push ups
  • Supinated dumbbell twisting press
  • Decline push ups
  • Dumbbell fly's
  • Diamond push ups
  • Bench dips
  • Explosive push ups

If you don't own a set of weights or just prefer working with less force, you can build muscle without using any. According to research published in the Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, push up training alone can create comparable results for muscle hypertrophy and strength gain as bench press training can. 

The workout above is just one example of how you can effectively build upper body strength and muscle from home. This tricep and chest workout only uses six exercises to tone and define your chest muscle or some of the best chest workouts with with resistance bands will add a little more tension to your training.

Whether you're trying to build muscle with weight, machines, bands, or your own body weight it's really important that you allow your body to rest. Rolling out your muscles with one of the best foam rollers can help to relieve built-up tensions after training. And when it comes to diet, a high protein intake will also help your muscles to repair and grow. If you struggle to pack lots of lean proteins into your meals then you can always add some of the best protein powders for weight loss into a shake or oats.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.