Forget push-ups – Build chest muscles with this 4-move dumbbell workout instead

Don't waste your time trying to master press-ups; we have a better solution

Girl exercising with dumbbells lying on the floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

People have mixed feelings about push-ups. Those who haven't quite got the core and arm strength think they are impossibly hard to master. Those who can do them believe they don't provide enough resistance to build pecs big enough to match 70s Arnie's. Both groups will be delighted to hear that this chest workout uses no press-ups yet helps build bugger pecs using only dumbbells.

Having big chest muscles – or pecs, as they're often called in bodybuilding circles – is often the ultimate goal for men, although improving them can also benefit women. Northside Hospital says, "Contrary to the popular belief that chest exercises will make breasts smaller, doing pectoral exercises will do the opposite. Building muscle around the breast tissue helps to provide more lift and support."

This interesting, modular workout lets you choose any four moves from the list below. Whichever ones you pick, do 10-12 reps of each for 3-4 rounds, allowing some time between each exercise to rest before moving on to the next one. Focus on slow, controlled movement, and finish all rounds of one exercise before starting a new one. Your exercise options are:

  • Kneeling front press
  • Narrow to standard chest press
  • Bus drivers
  • Alternating chest fly
  • Single/single/double chest press
  • Low chest fly
  • Banded chest press
  • Single-arm banded chest press

You will need a pair of dumbbells for this workout, and we have guides to the best dumbbells and best adjustable dumbbells if you're interested. You can also learn more about Arnold Schwarzenegger's favourite chest exercise or check out our advice on how to get bigger pecs. Once you have your dumbbells, try this double-dumbbell upper-body workout for bigger arms and pecs.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.