You only need one dumbbell and these 5 exercises to grow a bigger chest

Get a chest like 70s Arnie with this workout that won't take you hours

Man with chest out and holding a dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty)

If you’re looking to grow pecs big enough to match 70s Arnie, then you’ve come to the right place. This workout not only targets the inner, upper and middle muscles of your chest, but it only requires one humble dumbbell, making it easy to do at home. If you don’t own a pair of dumbbells, then an adjustable dumbbell is ideal for this workout, so you can change the weight accordingly for the different exercises.

Growing bigger pecs has always been a goal favoured by men over women. However, Northside Hospital says doing chest exercises has a variety of benefits for both parties including improved posture and better breathing. Another reason women are (usually) keen to turn a blind eye to this area is because they’re worried the exercises will shrink their breasts. But, actually, it strengthens the muscles around this area, giving them more of a lift. Today’s takeaway: everyone should be training their chest.

This workout is best performed with a weight bench, as two of the exercises do require you to be on an incline (which helps develop the upper area of your pecs). You’ve got five exercises to do and, as we’re focusing on growing muscle mass, you’re going to do three sets and aim for eight to 12 reps on each movement. Here’s what you’re going to do: 

  • Close grip incline dumbbell press
  • One arm dumbbell press 
  • Dumbbell close grip push up (alternatively you can do regular push ups)
  • Single arm incline dumbbell press
  • Dumbbell pull over

As we previously mentioned, an adjustable dumbbell is perfect for this workout, but if you want to continue doing more dumbbell sessions, then it may be worth investing in a pair from our best dumbbells guide. Plus, if you are keen to know how Arnie got his award-winning pecs, we’ve got his exact Golden Era chest and back workout

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.