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Bench press question! (Dumbbell)4381

siddon41 private msg quote post Address this user
So, we all know the difference between a barbell and a dumbbell, and hopefully we have the knowledge of knowing the difference between bench presses when using the 2 different methods. My question though, is what is the difference in weight that you should use when switching between the two. It is quite harder to press dumbbells than it is to press a barbell. I do not know if I am wording this quite correctly.

I'll throw out a scenario. Say I am benching 170 pounds on the barbell press (which includes the 45 lb bar). What set of dumbbells should one use. Would it be the same for the dumbells? Just half in each hand? Or is it a significantly lower number such as maybe using 80 lb dumbbells which would be 160 pounds?

The reason that I am asking is because my chest is starting to plateau a tad bit from what It was and I want to switch from barbell to dumbbell since it has a larger range of motion for your chest, but I also know pressing with dumbbells is more difficult because of form.

Thanks!!!!!
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brian12 private msg quote post Address this user
Hey man,

For me, my dumbbell weight is about 20% less than my barbell weight. You usually cant lift the same weight because it takes a lot more strength to stabilize dumbbells vs barbell.

I usually switch from the one to the other every 3 months or so, or when I feel things are getting 'stale'
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siddon41 private msg quote post Address this user
alright cool, thanks man that was helpful! I wanna get going to dumbbells on flat for now on. I use dumbbells for incline, but I've been watching a ton of motivational videos before I lift, ya know, and I ALWAYS see flat dumbbell in the vids and not barbell!
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brian12 private msg quote post Address this user
Yeah - I actually prefer dumbbells. I feel a much better contraction. I usually put the bench up one notch at a very low angle (feels better on my shoulders)
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siddon41 private msg quote post Address this user
Have you seen better results with dumbbells at all. (On Flat)
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brian12 private msg quote post Address this user
Ahhh. I would be lying if I said I knew. When I started training I used dumbbells exclusively for about 4 years, which is where most of my chest growth took place. These days I switch between the two. I believe that EMG testing shows that Flat Dumbbell Press recruits more muscle fibers that barbell flat press. BUT, it's not going to make much of a difference. I think the main benefit in switching between the two, is simply to change things up when you feel you aren't progressing ^^
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siddon41 private msg quote post Address this user
Very good info. I'll leave it at that! Gonna try it dumbbells next chest day. I'll keep ya updated on what I think. It's aimed at being this Sunday.
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brian12 private msg quote post Address this user
Cool - enjoy!
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Zyzzst private msg quote post Address this user
I feel i get the most growth from barbell bench press...but that is just me. I use dumbbells for incline bench press tho because the stretch is far greater and i feel more of the muscle working and contracting. The reason I feel barbell works better is the amount of weight I can use....but be careful because barbell puts unneeded stress on your shoulders and you can injure yourself if you go to crazy with it. (learned that from personal experience)
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AKK private msg quote post Address this user
its all going to deal with the form you use with flat bench to go to dumbbell flat bench

If you flare your elbows out hardcore on flat bench then I can only assume your flat dumbbell will be pretty close. so if 150 is your 5rep max on flat bench then you possibly could do 65/70's.


If your form matches (position of elbows) then weight shouldnt be fluxating that much, unless your dumbbells have fatter grips then the barbell. Then of course you will see a decrease in weight.


just my 2cents
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nastyraccoon private msg quote post Address this user
i find myself more efficient in dumbbells and have seen more gains from it too. i can bench 60kg for only 3 reps but i find myself being able to do dumbbell bench press with 30kg dumbbells for more than 5 reps. Funny thing is that i have done much more barbell bench work than dumbbell bench. Should i utilise this fact and work more on dumbbells? or have a balanced routine with equal weightage of both?
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igg private msg quote post Address this user
I'm otherway round, never trained bb and when I try I can hardly lift it, yet I do 45kg dbs for 8-10 reps. I think its because people don't realise weightlifting is a skill and not just fact that you're getting stronger
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MrMailliw private msg quote post Address this user
I bench less on the bar at my gym because the thickness of the barbells is that of a squat bar.
Makes it really hard to hold the bar properly.

Even if they were the right size I would stick with DBs.
DB bench press for life
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haole private msg quote post Address this user
I'm surprised nobody has has mentioned rep ranges yet. How many reps and sets do you usually do?

You can also add weighted dips and incline or decline bench.
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siddon41 private msg quote post Address this user
The question was Only for flat. I already use dumbbells for incline. Always.
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haole private msg quote post Address this user
what rep ranges do you do? Using a spotter helps too to go to failure. Or try hitting chest twice a week.

You can also change the order of your routine, like if you always start with flat bench before inclines then try switching them around and you will be able to hit inclines harder etc...
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Dragonian private msg quote post Address this user
Anyone bench with death grip? i stay the hell away from it but i know alot of people use it
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