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When you should bench press with dumbbells [Article, Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Why you should bench press with dumbbells 

When you should bench press with dumbbells

With training and chest day, there always remains the question of what to do exactly to develop your chest. There are dumbbell bench presses, barbell bench presses and for some even multi-grip and duffalo bar bench presses to choose from. But how to decide on what is best for you and especially when to use the dumbbell bench press.

 Bench press calculator


Some people argue for the dumbbell or flat bench press depending on their background and their goal set. I personally think that is where the debate starts, your training history and your goals. The main points that the dumbbell bench press has going for itself are:

  • Wider range of motion
  • Better motor activation
  • Lesser imbalances during the movement

If you compare it to the flat barbell bench press its disadvantages are:

  • Lesser weight being used
  • Less safe as it is more challenging to balance weights
  • Can be cumbersome when you go very heavy
  • Not relevant to powerlifting competitions

And here it t is wise to take a step back and look at your own experience, strength levels and goals. There are two main goal sets when you are lifting weights:

  • Strength gains
  • Muscle gains

All in all, there is a good bit of advice out there that suggests that the dumbbell bench press is superior for chest development in terms of size rather than strength. Adjustable dumbbells are also a good way of safing space at home, when you can not have a rack and barbell setup. The barbell bench press is supposed to be better for strength athletes, especially powerlifters. This one dimension to consider besides training experience. Here I would personally say that the barbell bench press is more suited to beginner's as it takes out the thinking around balancing weights. Once you progress to a 60-80kg bench press and your primary goal is chest development I think you can start trying out dumbbell variations. For very experienced bench pressers the dumbbell bench press can be a good option to push through plateaus with the barbell bench press, as your progress is stalling and you need to change up the routine a bit. 

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Topics: Lift stronger, bech press, Dumbbell