9 Best Pushup Exercises You Can Do With Dumbbells

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Pushups with dumbbells

Photo CreditsMan photo created by serhii_bobyk – www.freepik.com

There are so many exercises you can do with dumbbells like dumbbell bench press, shoulder press, and curls. But do you know, you can use dumbbells to do various kinds of pushups.

In this article, I will share with you some of the best pushups you can do with dumbbells, which will not only strengthen your major muscles like chest, shoulder, and back, but will also strengthen your abs and other core muscles.

You can also do these exercises at home as it requires no fancy equipments. You just need a pair of dumbbells and you are good to go.

Benefits of Pushups With Dumbbells

1. Works the entire body

Dumbbell pushups are an awesome full-body exercise you can do to build not only strength but can also be used to burn more fat. You can mix dumbbell pushups with burpees and can make it a full-body exercise that not only increases your strength but also burns more calories.

2. Increases core strength

All push-up exercises with dumbbells are great in building enormous core strength. Your abs, lower back, and other stabilizer muscles have to activate to perform dumbbell push-ups. So your core will get stronger with these exercises.

3. Increases upper body strength

Push-up is a great way to build massive upper body strength. It primarily activates your chest and arms which is a major muscle of your upper body. Dumbbells allow you to activate more muscles like the back, by performing renegade rows and push-up rows.

4. Improves balance and stability

If you want to improve your balance and stability, then you should do push-ups with dumbbells. There are so many exercises like dumbbell T pushups which require a lot of balance to perform the movement. Also, many stabilizer muscles like mid and lower traps, transverse abdominis, and lower back are activated when you perform different pushups with dumbbells.

Best Dumbbell Pushup Exercises

Some of the best pushups you can do with dumbbells are T pushup, renegade row, and dumbbell push-ups to rows. Let’s discuss each of them along with some more effective exercises here.

1. Dumbbell T Pushup

If you would like to train the whole body, then this exercise is for you. Here your whole body will work together making it a more athletic compound exercise.

This will activate your core and other stabilizer muscles which will improve your strength and performance during heavy lifts.

Targeted muscles- Pectoralis major and minor, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, abs

Level- Intermediate

How to do

1. Place two dumbbells on the floor, both at about shoulder-width apart.

2. Grab both the dumbbells and take your legs backward to set your body in a push-up position. Keep your arms straight and abs engaged. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by lowering your body with your elbows flexed. Keep your back straight and don’t drop your hips. Stay neutral.

4. Pause at the bottom when your chest is just above the floor and then push with your arms to bring the body back to the starting position.

5. Now raise one hand to the side while keeping your arms straight making it look like a ‘T’. Hold that position for a second and then return to the starting position and then repeat from the other side.

Choose lighter dumbbells at the beginning as it is difficult to lift the dumbbells from the pushup position. Your core should be strong enough to perform this exercise.

2. Dumbbell Deficit Pushups

Deficit pushups help to improve posture and make your pushups more safe and effective. This exercise strengthens your scapular muscles and hits the mid and lower traps.

Shoulder retraction is very important during pushups or any other pushing movements because it engages all stabilizing muscles sitting at the back of the shoulder joint. This stabilizes your scapula and puts it in a safe position. This exercise will teach you how to retract your shoulders during pushups.

Targeted muscles- Mid and lower traps, chest, triceps, abs

Level- Beginner to intermediate

How to do

1. Place both dumbbells on the floor at about shoulder-width apart.

2. Get down on the floor and hold the dumbbell. Move both feet back and extend your knees. Keep your back flat and this will be your starting position.

3. Start by retracting your shoulders by moving your shoulders back and then lower your chest and stop until the chest is almost touching the floor.

4. Push with your arms and bring your body up and protract your shoulders at the top as shown in the video.

3. Renegade Row

This is another great exercise to work on your core and balance. Here, you have to hold your body in a pushup position which requires enormous core strength and balance. Apart from that, rowing will target your lats and rhomboids, making it the best strength exercise.

Targeted muscles- latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, abs

Level- Intermediate

How to do

1. Get down on a pushup position by holding both dumbbells which are placed at about shoulder-width apart.

2. Keep your chest up and shoulders retracted. Keep your knees straight and back stable. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by bringing one arm up like a row where your elbow is at a 90° angle and squeeze your lats at the top.

4. Bring the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat the same with the other arm.

There are some challenging variations you can do which you will find below. Many of them are advanced exercises so make sure that you can do renegade rows properly before jumping into difficult stuff!

4. Dumbbell Pushup Front Raise

This is another variation you can use to hit your shoulders along with the chest. You must try this exercise if you are looking to try something new.

Targeted muscles- Pectoralis major and minor, deltoids, abs

Level- intermediate

How to do

1. Get down on the floor and place your body in a push-up position by holding the dumbbells.

2. Keep your chest up and shoulders retracted. This will be your starting position.

3. Perform a push-up while keeping your back straight and core engaged.

4. After the push-up, raise one arm to the front without moving your body and then return to the starting position.

During this exercise, there is a chance of hitting the face on the floor if you lose balance. Therefore having a yoga or exercise mat is always helpful and recommended.

5. Dumbbell Pushup With Side Toe-Tap

Another great pushup exercise with dumbbells. Here, you will move your legs instead of your arms. You can do this exercise at the beginning of the workout to charge up the entire body.

Targeted muscles- chest, front delts, hip flexors, abs

Level- Intermediate

How to do

1. Get down on a pushup position by holding both dumbbells placed at about shoulder-width apart.

2. Keep both feet together. The dumbbell should be just below your chest. This will be your starting position.

3. Lower the body down while breathing in and stop until the chest almost touches the floor.

4. Push the floor and bring the body up with the help of your arms and extend the elbows at the top.

5. Now move the right leg forward and bring the toe close to the arm as shown in the above video. Return to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Make sure that your back is straight and your hip stays up during the movement. Many people try to bring their hips down instead of the torso. This makes the exercise less effective so avoid making such mistakes.

6. Push-up to Rows

Another awesome exercise to strengthen your upper body. This exercise will help you in building amazing strength. This is a combination of a push-up and a row that will target your chest and back together. Your abs, arms, and oblique will also become strong with this exercise.

Targeted muscles- Pecs, latissimus dorsi, traps, abs

Level- Advanced

How to do

1. Get down on a pushup position by holding both dumbbells which are placed at about shoulder-width apart.

2. Keep your chest up and shoulders retracted. Keep your knees straight and back stable. This will be your starting position.

3. Start by bringing your torso down while keeping your back straight and stop until the chest is almost touching the ground.

4. Push from the bottom position with your arms and return to the starting position.

5. Then perform the row by moving dumbbells up while keeping your elbows close to the body. Repeat the same with the other arm to complete one rep.

If you are a beginner then try to do renegade row which we discussed above. Once you master it, then try this exercise. Renegade row will help you in building the foundational strength which is required to perform these difficult versions of pushups.

All the exercises you saw above were at an intermediate level. But now you will see some advanced push-up exercises. Let’s explored them.

7. Dumbbell Push up Rows with Burpees

Now here comes the advanced exercise. This exercise is the combination of a pushup, row, and burpee which is a great fat burner workout you can do at home. This will work engage the whole body and will help you burn more calories. You can add this to your fat burner program.

Targeted muscles- chest, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, abs, and legs

Level- advanced

How to do

1. Get down on a pushup position by holding both dumbbells placed at about shoulder-width apart. Keep your abs tight and back straight and this will be your starting position.

2. Start by bringing your torso down while keeping your back straight and stop until the chest is almost touching the ground.

3. Push from the bottom position with the help of your arms and return to the starting position.Now start rowing by lifting the dumbbell while keeping your elbows at a 90° angle.

4. Repeat the same with the other hand and then jump forward with your feet and then stand up for a burpee.

5. Jump by holding the dumbbell and keeping your arms straight. Then keep the dumbbells on the floor and then jump back to be in a push up position and then repeat.

You might feel that it’s complex in the beginning but when you start performing the exercise, you will get used to it. You can include this exercise at the end of your workout program after a heavy workout session for conditioning.

8. Close grip Dumbbell Pushups

This is another challenging exercise that you can try at home. If you have dumbbells, then you can do all of these exercises at home. So it’s better to invest in dumbbells.

This exercise requires a lot of balance and core strength. So if you are a beginner, then stick with the regular pushups instead of this. But if you are in an advanced stage and want to challenge yourself, then go for it.

Targeted muscles- pectoralis major and minor, triceps brachii, abs

Level- Advanced

How to do

1. Place one dumbbell on the floor and bend down to hold the top plate of the dumbbell with your hands. The chest should be just below the dumbbell

2. Move both feet back and keep your knees extended. Keep the back straight and abs engaged. This will be your starting position.

3. Start the exercise by lowering your chest and bring it close to the dumbbell. Maintain balance and pause at the bottom.

4. From the bottom position, push the dumbbell with your hands and bring the body back to the starting position.

There are chances of dumbbell falling during the exercise therefore do slowly and concentrate on balancing both the body and the dumbbell.

9. Lopsided Single Dumbbell Pushup

Another challenging exercise to strengthen your arms and chest. This exercise also requires good core strength and balance.

Here, you can focus on each side of the chest separately. So if your one side is weaker, then consider doing this exercise.

Targeted muscles- chest, triceps, abs

Level- intermediate to advanced

How to do

1. Place a dumbbell on the floor and place one hand on the dumbbell and another hand on the floor. Keep your back straight. This will be your starting position.

2. Start the exercise by lowering the body by breathing in and stop until the chest is fully stretched. Focus on your chest during a decent.

3. Now push with your hands and bring your body back to the starting position. Engage your core throughout the exercise.

4. Switch the sides by placing the other hand on a dumbbell and then repeat.

Always remember to focus on the muscles you want to target. For example in this exercise, concentrate on your chest muscles during the pushup. Your exercise becomes highly effective when you are completely focused on the exercise.

Final Thoughts

So we discussed some great pushup exercises with dumbbells. You can do all these exercises according to your fitness level. If you are a beginner, then it might be better to do a regular push-up without dumbbells. This will increase your upper body strength and balance. After that, you can try these dumbbell pushups.

Many of these exercises can be done easily at home. You only need dumbbells to do this which makes it more convenient.

If you found this article helpful, then please share it with your friends and family. Also if you want me to make an article on any other related topics, then please share it in the comment section below.

People Also Reading


Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!