The Best Upper-Chest Workouts With Dumbbells

Strong and power bodybuilder doing exercises with dumbbell

The best upper-chest workouts with dumbbells emphasize your upper pectoral fibers and stimulate pectoral muscle development to meet your specific training goals. Bodybuilders and strength athletes may benefit most from heavy dumbbell workouts, whereas lighter sets are ideal for general fitness and endurance training. The best exercise movements for upper chest dumbbell workouts include exercises that move your shoulder blades away from your spine, while flexing or internally rotating your shoulders against resistance.

Upper-Chest Exercises

The best upper-chest workouts with dumbbells include exercises that emphasize upper pectoral activation. The pec fly and incline press with dumbbells are among the best exercises, along with workouts that include the incline press and pec flies for targeting upper-chest development. Maximize upper-chest recruitment by positioning the palms of your hands just outside shoulder width for the incline press.

Grow Your Upper Chest

The best dumbbell workouts for stimulating growth in your upper chest involve short and intense sets. The National Federation of Personal Trainers recommends that your workout include six to eight sets targeting your chest. Divide the sets among two exercises that emphasize your upper chest. Select dumbbells that weigh enough to exhaust your muscles within four to six repetitions for each set. Rest up to five minutes between sets, or until your pulse goes down to 100 beats per minute.


Upper-chest workouts that increase stamina help increase contractile strength, and energy stores in your upper pectoral muscle fibers. Stamina supports general fitness enhancement. Athletic activities, such as basketball and boxing, also require upper-chest stamina. The best dumbbell workouts for building upper-chest stamina involve sets with enough weight to exhaust your muscles within 12 to 15 repetitions. Select two or three exercises that emphasize your upper chest, and perform a total of eight to 10 sets to complete your workout. Rest approximately three minutes between sets, or until your pulse reaches 115 beats per minute.


Workouts that enhance endurance in your upper chest help your upper pectoral muscles perform repetitive contractions, or sustain contractions for extended amounts of time. Physical activities, such as swimming and surfing, require substantial upper-chest endurance. The best upper-chest dumbbell workouts for building endurance include sets that exhaust your muscles within 20 to 25 repetitions. This repetition range targets muscle fibers with the highest energy-storing potential. Perform a total of four or five sets that target your upper chest to complete your workout.