Strengthen your chest in just six moves with this dumbbell workout

Build chest, shoulder, and back muscle with a set of dumbbells and these six moves

Man performing dumbbell presses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most upper body workout routines focus on a single area, like your arms, shoulders, or back. But if you want to strengthen your chest and build practical, lean muscle, all you need is this six-move dumbbell routine.

If you're training at home, it's worth investing in a set of the best adjustable dumbbells. These are space-saving weight rack alternatives and help you use the progressive overload technique to gradually increase the load as you get stronger.

Then you can get started with this six-move chest workout, designed by Luke Zocchi (opens in new tab)—Head Trainer at workout app Centr (opens in new tab) and Chris Hemsworth's trainer—as a "chest and back workout for people who can't get to the gym."

The aim is to help you build muscle with minimal equipment, but that doesn't mean you can't do it at the gym—just use these beginner strength training tips to find a weight that'll challenge you but won't impact your form.

Zocchi also recommends having a slam ball to hand to place under your upper back for incline presses. Don't worry if you don't have one; just choose another flexible support like a tightly rolled yoga mat or switch to flat presses instead.

Watch Luke Zocchi's six-move dumbbell workout

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The workout is arranged as three super sets, where you perform two exercises back-to-back without a break. You'll do 10 repetitions of the first super set repeated four times, eight of the second for four rounds, and 15 of the third, which you repeat three times.

The routine includes staple dumbbell moves like incline presses, bent-over rows, and incline flys to help you develop strength in your chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms. To get the most from your workout, it's essential to focus on the technique.

Zocchi demonstrates each exercise, so it's worth practicing your form before you start. If you're new to this type of training or could use a refresher, you can bring yourself up to speed by learning how to deadlift with dumbbells.

It's an effective routine for when you're after a traditional strength-focused workout. However, when you have a busy schedule, or you're tight on time, it's worth considering a high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) workout instead.

These often include compound exercises, Zocchi's favorite style of training, which works multiple muscles simultaneously. This includes high-intensity kettlebell swings, which work your whole body, strengthen your core, and boost your metabolism.

James Frew
Staff Writer

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.