As much as I enjoy and rely on the bench press to enhance and strengthen my pecs, it’s the dumbbell bench press that garners much of my attention during the week. The dumbbell bench press (or DBP for short) contains all the muscle and strength enhancing benefits of the regular barbell bench but also gives you a few other perks that your body will thank you for down the road.
Barbell vs Dumbbell
Allow me to establish that compared to the standard barbell, dumbbells allow for a more natural range of motion while pressing in addition to forcing you to distribute the weight-workload equally between the right and left side of your body. You may not even be aware of it, but pressing with a barbell or even a bench press machine allows you to favor your stronger side. No such luck with dumbbells. Each hand is forced to push it’s respective weight and that’s a good thing.
According to exrx.net, using dumbbells for your bench press also increases your sense of balance: you’ll use more of the small stabilizer muscles to help balance and support the weights.
Dumbbell Bench Press
The DBP is not difficult to do. But as I mentioned earlier, you will rely as much on balance as you do strength as your poundage increase:
When I do the DBP I get the weights in hand before I sit down. i go from taking the dumbbells off the rack to laying down in one fluid motion, swinging the weights up as I settle my body down. I know many folks who do just the opposite: they lie on the bench and then have the dumbbells handed to them. It’s not for me to tell you which is better. My preference in general is that I want to handle the weight on my own. If i need someone handing me the weight or helping me push the weight then obviously i am not ready for that poundage.
Once I’m in position I maintain the dumbbells at the sides of chest with a bent arm under each dumbbell.
Press dumbbells up with elbows to sides until arms are extended. Lower weight to sides of upper chest until slight stretch is felt in chest or shoulder.
The dumbbell press is that easy. And as always, I recommend you super-set your DBP’s with push-ups. Anywhere from 25-50 push-ups either elevated or regulated immediately after you complete your DBP’s.
Variety is the key when lifting and by augmenting your chest routine with the dumbbell bench press you can shock your pecs into even better definition and size.