STOP Doing Dumbbell Press Like This (5 Mistakes Slowing Your Chest Gains)

As far as chest exercises go, the dumbbell bench press is arguably the most effective choice you could use to build your chest. Compared to the barbell bench press, it allows you to train through a greater range of motion, and can help prevent one side from becoming more developed than the other. That said, the DB bench press isn’t as simple as pressing the weight up and down. If you don’t do it correctly, rather than working your chest you’ll end up working other muscles like the front of your shoulders and your triceps. There are 5 dumbbell bench press form mistakes in particular that cause this to happen. Let’s start with mistake number 1 most people tend to commit during their chest workout.

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The first DB bench press form mistake has to do with your arm path. Typically people use a very wide arm path and press the dumbbells straight up and down. Not only has this form been shown to have a greater risk for shoulder injury, but it also just doesn’t stimulate the chest very well. To maximize chest activation, you want your arm path to line up in the same direction that the chest fibres pull. You can do so by tucking your elbows to about 45 to 60 degree angle away from the body and allowing your grip to turn in slightly with your elbow.

Mistake #2 you’re probably making on the dumbbell bench press has to do with your forearms. Make sure you’re not bending them inwards. This is because by bending the forearms inwards, you’re shortening the lever which makes the movement easier by taking some of the load off of the chest. It also gets the triceps more involved to take on some of the load as well. So lighten the weight, keep your forearm vertical over your elbow throughout each rep, and you’ll feel the difference right away.

The third dumbbell bench press form mistake typically results from your daily posture. Given that many of us are already stuck in a hunched over posture, we have the tendency to round our shoulders forward whenever we press. This can lead to the front of the shoulders experiencing most of the growth. To avoid this, I’d first suggest extending your back over a foam roller, and then performing over-and-backs and band pull aparts with a band to promote chest activation. Then, when you actually go into the movement, on the way down think about using your back muscles to pull the weight down towards your chest by pinching your shoulder blades together. Then on the way up, avoid letting your shoulders forward. Keep your chest up and think about squeezing your biceps into the sides of your chest.

It’s important to avoid this next mistake at the top position as well to build your chest in an optimal manner. The main function of the chest is horizontal adduction. Knowing this, you might think that bringing your arms in as close as possible at the top would better engage the chest. Some people even touch the dumbbells together at the top. However, since we’re using dumbbells, the line of force is straight down because of gravity. This means that once your arms are straight over your shoulders, there’s actually no more tension placed on the chest. Going further than this doesn’t stimulate the chest any further and is wasting energy that could otherwise be used towards your next reps. So instead, to keep constant tension on the chest, stop each rep once your arms end up straight over your shoulders.

The last mistake doesn’t actually relate to form and instead has to do with the angle of the bench. The flat dumbbell press is great, but most of the growth you get from this exercise will be in the middle portion of your chest which can lead to the upper and lower portions of your chest underdeveloped. So in addition to doing just the flat dumbbell bench press, I’d also recommend doing an incline dumbbell press once a week as well. Now as for the lower portion of your chest, for most people the flat dumbbell press will already hit this region quite well. Some studies however suggest that a slight decline can help activate this region even more effectively.

After you apply these various fixes to your chest workout, you’ll notice that you won’t be able to lift nearly as much as you used to. It might hurt the ego but it means that your chest is now doing most of the work. You’ll very quickly feel and see the difference this makes to your chest development.


  1. Bro I went from 60s each arm down to 45. I actually hate this but no point in doing them wrong.

  2. I’ve had elbow joint pains while doing dumbell chest press. Can you make a video to help with elbow joint pains?

  3. Is there a problem if I’m doing the incline press the exact way here but I don’t feel it in my chest as I’m doing it

  4. Just started working out for 2 months now and i really noticed and realised how important your basics and forms are. The key is to train the right muscles in the right way, not to feel satisfied after lifting heavy weights that do not apply to your current level 😂.

  5. Haven't felt my chest on fire to this level till seeing this. Jeremy's videos are incredible . Form makes a huge impact.

  6. Jeremy i belive in you thanks for all videos you make for us 🤟👋🤚 from Albania 🇦🇱

  7. Phenomenal video. Last night made changes 1-3 in my chest workout, using 15 pounds lighter than normal, but my chest was absolutely working a LOT more than usual. Sore today in a good way, like I have not been in a while. Thank you!

  8. I’m so glad I watched this video, also subscribing. He made it so clear

  9. This video covers everything I could ever have asked for.
    Today at the gym I was working on my chest and did the dumbell press. After my first set was finished there was this big guy who had been working out for 10 years who came up to me and started talking about my form. He told me literally everything that was covered in this video. And I could already tell the difference in my chest meanwhile I was doing this exercise.
    Right now I've been working out for approximately 7 months and I couldn't see any difference in my chest whatsoever. Thanks to both this video and the guy in the gym I probably will start seeing the difference.

  10. Are 55lb dumbbells enough if I use 165lbs during a barbell bench press

  11. Upper chest ✓
    Middle chest✓
    Lower chest ✓
    Inner chest ??????

  12. How do I prevent arching during incline bench press?

  13. Great Content!!! Keep up the Good work Man❤

  14. this is my first video by you. I've always been hesitant of watching how to videos done by boys out of fear of the toxic gym bro attitude. I know that really isnt fair of me to say but ive always been scared that even through a video someone would say oh if youre doing it like this you suck or something. anyways im really glad i watched your video. It was easy to understand and i didnt get the toxic gym bro vibe. Im so new to all of this so this has been extremely helpful. thank you, ill be watching more!

  15. Great video, fixed my dumbbell press form thanks to you. You saved my shoulder. Subscribed!

  16. Great points! I injured a ligament in my upper arm from bench pressing too low. DsB at 45 degrees and reducing ROM at the bottom would have likely prevented this.😊

  17. I've been doing chest as my favorite section of working out for 10 + years. After doing this properly, I've never felt such pain jumping back into the gym having done them correctly….. My god you're a magician.

  18. I am a bit confused, first you mentioned it is good to bring down our arms in a 45 degree to expand chest mussels but then you mentioned to bring them up parallel and not to bring the dumbbells too close, please explain

  19. This will definitely correct my mistakes no wonder my shoulders are the ones feeling the load every time

  20. They are basically doing an overhand grip fly and calling it a press

  21. The instruction in the video is detailed and clear. Good to see someone made this helpful video with science based explanations.

  22. The illustration about chest muscle alignment at 1:05 really helps me understand why the upper arms should be at a angle. I have seen a lot of video about chest exercise, but never does one explained as clearly.

  23. Damn getting in shape is getting impossible now I have to know geometry😂

  24. I always had underdeveloped chest muscles and each tip you gave as I was following along I could see all my mistakes and actually feel my chest starting to do the work.

  25. As it was then, so it is now! I didn't notice any change in your muscles. Another smart guy 🙂

  26. Jeremy, do these tips apply to the incline dumbell press as well?

  27. My chest is fat like boobs. I'm doing exercise to make it flat. Instead it seems like my chest is getting more fat. I dont like fat or muscle chest. I just want it flat. What should i do?

  28. I disagree and your chest compared to mine proves it

  29. I disagree. Benching will always target your front delts too. Benching is around 50% chest, 50% delts so you are gonna feel your shoulders regardless, doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. If your numbers are going up and you have a decent benching form but your chest lacks development, several things might happen. 1. You don't eat enough food, calories might make you fat, but if you lift weights they will also go towards muscle growth. 2. Fat, too high bodyfat percentage might soften the outline of your muscles which in turn will make them look small. 3. Genetics. Muscles have different shapes and sizes like your face does. Not everybody's muscles look the same, so just because some dude you know has a bigger chest doesn't mean you will too. Thr solutions for those problems are self-explanatory, but something else that might work is experimentation with different number of sets, reps, different rest periods, weight, exercises and so on.

  30. Ronnie Coleman lifting dumbbells that weigh as much as Jeremy 😂

  31. Top-shelf content, my man. Look out, Cavaliere!

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