How to perform a dumbbell bench press with one arm with an animated image showing the move. Click on the picture to see the full sized animation.

  1. Lay back on a flat bench.
  2. Grasp two dumbbells next to your chest with your palms facing in.
  3. Press one of the dumbbells up above your chest.
  4. As your arm reaches full extension, twist the dumbbell so that your palm is facing forward.
  5. Do not lock your elbow.
  6. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell. Reverse the twisting motion so that your palm is facing inward when you reach the lowest point.
  7. The dumbbells should be level with your chest, with your elbows hanging below the bench.
  8. Variations for this exercise:
    1. Do the number of repititions in the set with one arm, and then do the same number of repititions with the other arm.
    2. Alternate arms. Once one arm reaches the lowest point, begine raising the other arm.
    3. Alternate arms. As you lower one dumbbell, begin raising the other dumbbell. The dumbbells will be at the same level when they are halfway up and down.

Using dumbbells instead of a barbell allows your arms to work independantly of one another so that you do not take the majority of the weight on one arm. It will also allow you to descend further and to turn your arms. This will give you a slightly different workout than if you were doing a normal bench press with a barbell. A variation on this workout is the dumbbell bench press with both arms done in a similar fashion as if there were a barbell. Using one arm at a time further isolates each arm. Doing the exercise with variation 3 (above), alternating your arms by one going up and one going down, is generally easier than doing a full repitition with no motion from the opposite arm.