Dumbbell Bench Press

working muscles of dumbbell bench press

Dumbbell bench press is perhaps the best exercise for working out the pectoral muscles. When doing dumbbell bench press, the front deltoids and triceps are also included in the work. This exercise has two important differences from the bench press. Firstly, the amplitude in this exercise is much larger. This allows your chest muscles to get more stretching, which is beneficial for their growth. Secondly, when doing dumbbell bench press, more stabilizer muscles work, that means that the neuromuscular junction (brain – nervous system – muscles) increases. This improves the response of the muscles to the received load.

Varieties and technique of dumbbell bench press

There are only three types of dumbbell bench press. Their differences are in the angle of inclination of the back of the bench, on which the athlete is located during the exercise. By changing this angle, you can shift the load between different parts of the pectoral muscles. Let’s take a closer look at each of the types and analyze the technique.

Classic dumbbell bench press

classic dumbbell bench press

Classic dumbbell bench press is performed on a horizontal bench. Everything does in the same way as the bench press, but instead of the barbell you use dumbbells. Sit on a bench, take dumbbells in your hands, then, with dumbbells in your hands, take a lying position and begin performing the exercise by pushing the dumbbells until your arms become straight. Hands at the top point of the amplitude should be left slightly bent at the elbows in order to relieve unwanted stress on the elbow joints. Then lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

Incline dumbbell bench press

incline dumbbell bench press

The bench press is performed in the same way as the classic one but the bench is placed with a positive angle (20, 30 or 45 degrees). As a result, the upper bundle of the pectoral muscles experiences much more stress.

Decline dumbbell bench press

decline dumbbell bench press

The bench press is performed in the same way as the classic one but the bench is placed with a negative angle. As a result, the lower bundle of the pectoral muscles experiences much more stress.

Dumbbell bench press using girls

dumbbell bench press using girls as weight

There are actually four types of dumbbell bench press. There is also a secret type of bench press, the one on the gif. Just kidding, of course, the athlete on the GIF performs the usual bench press on an incline bench, he just has two girls instead of dumbbells. It should be noted that the athlete is quite prepared, since the weight of the girls is at least 45 kilograms.

Dumbbell bench press tips

1) Do the first warm-up set with a weight of 50-60% of the working one. If you do dumbbell bench press after barbell bench press, then your muscles are already well warmed up, however, the dynamics of the exercises are slightly different. And in order to exclude the possibility of injury, I advise you to do a warm-up rep. Especially if your training program involves performing a dumbbell press with the first exercise when training your chest.

2) Perform the dumbbell press smoothly, without jerking. Keep your back, lower back, and buttocks on the bench. Since the dumbbell bench press stretches your pecs very well, if you do the exercise in jerks, you can easily get serious injury (rupture of the pectoral muscles).

3) Never hold your breath while doing the exercise. Lower the dumbbells as you inhale, and press as you exhale.

animation of dumbbell bench press

4) At the top point of the amplitude, do not knock dumbbells with each other to prevent any inertia. When the dumbbells strike, inertia is created, which springs the dumbbells from each other, at this moment the muscles relax. This can be compared to the moment when you throw the barbell on your chest during the bench press, and it springs upwards by inertia. Therefore, prevent knocking of dumbbells so that the muscles will be in constant tension and control movement.

5) As you can see from the gif above, the athlete (the famous bodybuilder Jay Cutler) at the top of the amplitude does not push the dumbbells to the end. This technique is clearly bodybuilding. The athlete purposefully does this and works in 3/4 of the amplitude. In the article about the bench press, I have already wrote about this, and I repeat it here. This technique allows you to maximally focus the load on the chest muscles, and not on the triceps and front deltoids.

Arnold presents his chest

6) Alternate between the bench press and the barbell bench press. For example, you start one workout with bench press, and only then do dumbbell press. The other workout, on the contrary, you can alternate each 2 trainings, for instance. This will shock your muscles more, as a result, they will have more preconditions for growth.

7) Sometimes include dumbbell press with wrist twists in your workout. When you lower the dumbbells to the lowest point and begin pressing, smoothly turn your wrists so that your palms are facing each other in the top point of amplitude. Eventually, your dumbbells will rotate 90 degrees. This will allow you to get a stronger stress of the lower and middle bundle of the pectoral muscles.

That’s probably all for today. Below you can also watch a detailed video about dumbbell bench press. I say goodbye to you and wish the same pecs like Arnold’s ones!

How to perform dumbbell bench press (video)

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