HomePowerliftingDumbbell Bench Press vs Barbell Bench Press: Variations, Execs, Cons

Dumbbell Bench Press vs Barbell Bench Press: Variations, Execs, Cons


dumbbell bench press vs barbell bench press differences, pros, cons

The bench press is likely one of the hottest workouts whether or not you are attempting to extend muscle mass in your pecs or improve higher physique power. The dumbbell bench press is a standard various or addition to the barbell bench press in individuals’s exercises.

However what are the variations between the dumbbell bench press vs the barbell bench press?  The dumbbell bench press hundreds all sides of your physique with two unbiased hundreds, has a stronger demand for stability, and probably extra vary of movement. The barbell bench press permits you to have the ability to transfer extra general weight by your chest and triceps.

On this article, I’ll undergo precisely what the variations are between the workouts, methods to greatest carry out them, and key factors relating to what the professionals and cons are. By the tip, you’ll be capable of decide which train shall be extra useful so as to add to your coaching routine.

The Variations Between a Dumbbell Bench Press vs Barbell Bench Press

the differences between a dumbbell bench press vs barbell bench press

There are 4 foremost variations between the dumbbell bench press vs. the barbell bench press:

  • Gear you have to use
  • The best way to carry out the workouts
  • Emphasis on the muscle teams
  • Train vary of movement

1. Gear You Must Use

Each the dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press use a flat free weight bench. Nevertheless, a barbell bench press could require you to both be in an influence cage or use a bench with a barbell rack.

The dumbbell bench press depends on utilizing a pair of dumbbells whereas the common bench press makes use of a barbell.

2. The best way to Carry out the Workout routines

Whereas the general motion of the dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press is analogous, how the arms transfer differs barely. Each require you to maintain your shoulder blades pinched again whereas the load is pressed up and down.

With the dumbbell bench press, there’s extra of an arch with the bar path. Because the dumbbells are lowered, the forearms are introduced outwards and away from one another. Because the dumbbells are pressed upwards, the forearms are introduced nearer in in the direction of one another.

With the barbell bench press, there’s extra of a straight-up and downward movement of the forearms, with the palms staying a constant distance away from one another.

Questioning if it’s higher to maintain your palms vast within the bench press? Take a look at Large Grip Bench Press: Is It Higher?

3. Emphasis on the Muscle Teams

The dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press each goal the pecs (the muscle mass within the chest), deltoids (the shoulder muscle mass), and tricep muscle mass.

Nevertheless, analysis has proven that the dumbbell bench press targets the pectoralis main muscle (the biggest muscle within the chest) considerably greater than the barbell bench press. Moreover, in keeping with that very same research, the barbell bench press prompts the triceps greater than the dumbbell bench press.

Questioning if the bench press is sufficient to practice the chest? Take a look at Is Bench Press Good Sufficient For Chest? (Professional Opinion).

4. Train Vary of Movement

The vary of movement within the dumbbell bench press could be greater than the barbell bench press, though this may fluctuate from individual to individual relating to how a lot.

The dumbbell bench press has the next vary of movement as a result of while you decrease the load, you shouldn’t have a barbell to impede the descent of your arms. This implies you may stretch your pec muscle mass extra. Additionally, while you press the dumbbells upwards, you additionally carry your arms nearer collectively, which will increase how a lot your pec muscle mass contract.

Regardless that the dumbbell bench press gained’t make a big distinction in a lot weight you should utilize to your barbell bench press, it’s nonetheless a useful train to incorporate in your routine. Study extra in Does Dumbbell Bench Press Assist Your Barbell Bench Press?

Dumbbell Bench Press: How To, Ideas, Frequent Errors, Muscle tissues Used, Execs and Cons

The best way to do a Dumbbell Bench Press (6 Steps)

Step 1: Sit down on the finish of a flat bench and relaxation the flat sides of a pair of dumbbells in your knees

Sit on the fringe of a free-weight bench whereas holding onto a pair of dumbbells by your knees.

Step 2: Kick the dumbbells as much as your shoulders and lie down on the bench

As you lie down onto the bench, kick the dumbbells again in the direction of your self. Maintain them above your shoulders together with your arms prolonged and shoulder blades pinched again.

Step 3: Maintain the dumbbells together with your palms dealing with ahead whereas maintaining your shoulders down and again

Be sure that your palms are dealing with your decrease physique and that your shoulders are evenly depressed.

Step 4: Deliver the dumbbells down as little as you may with out letting your shoulders rise from the bench

Inhale as you decrease the dumbbells in the direction of decrease chest stage as little as you may with out popping your shoulders off the bench.

Step 5: Push the dumbbells up and in the direction of one another

Exhale as you press the dumbbells upwards and towards one another

Step 6: Repeat for the specified variety of reps and safely carry the dumbbells again down with out dropping them

Repeat for the specified variety of repetitions. When you find yourself performed, carry your knees towards the dumbbells and rock ahead till you rise up and off the bench. Alternatively, you may carry your dumbbells right down to your chest and put the dumbbells onto the ground. 

Wanting so as to add dumbbells to your private home gymnasium that may be dropped? Take a look at these 7 dumbbells you can drop with out damaging them.

Ideas for Performing the Dumbbell Bench Press

tips for performing the dumbbell bench press

Listed below are 3 high ideas for performing the dumbbell bench press:

  • Keep away from going to failure if in case you have asymmetries. If you already know one aspect is stronger than the opposite or you already know you progress your proper or left arm barely otherwise than the opposite, coaching to failure or no less than near it is going to fatigue one arm earlier than the opposite. This can imply that your method will break down because the weaker arm struggles. Coaching with method breaking down might reinforce these asymmetries. This might exacerbate the stress going by the weaker shoulder and probably injure you.
  • Rotate the forearms as you press up. For those who attain a stage of power the place the dumbbells are massive when it comes to weight and dimensions, the ends of the dumbbells can limit the vary of movement on the high. Rotate your arms in order that your palms face one another and you’ll carry the dumbbells nearer collectively to offer your pecs a detailed contraction.
  • Tuck the elbows to maneuver stress away from the shoulder joints or pecs. If you wish to transfer the stress away from the shoulder joint or pecs, you may tuck your elbows nearer to your torso through the descent. This can transfer the main focus extra on the triceps and entrance deltoid muscle versus the pecs. This is able to be helpful for anybody who has had shoulder points from bench urgent actions.

One option to additional tackle muscle imbalances is to do the single-arm dumbbell bench press. I talk about methods to do it and the professionals and cons of the train in Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press: How To, Execs, Cons.

Frequent Errors With Dumbbell Bench Press

The most typical errors I see with the dumbbell bench press are:

  • Flaring the elbows out an excessive amount of. You wish to flare the elbows so you may maximize how a lot you stretch the pecs out, however you don’t want to flare an excessive amount of as you may injure your shoulder joint. The dumbbells must be stage together with your decrease chest stage.
  • Dishonest the vary of movement. It’s onerous to visually inform how low you’re going while you carry the dumbbells down. You will have to really feel the place of your arms to inform the place your backside finish vary of movement is. This makes it simple to cheat the vary of movement by not going as little as you progress by the set.
  • Not maintaining your shoulder blades again. Holding the shoulder blades again shall be an vital a part of maintaining your shoulders wholesome through the dumbbell bench press. It can naturally be tough to maneuver your shoulder blades when they’re held down on the bench whereas holding onto dumbbells. To attenuate stress going by the stabilizer muscle mass round your shoulder, you have to hold them pinched again.

Muscle tissues Used Throughout Dumbbell Bench Press

The muscle mass which might be used through the dumbbell bench press are:

  • Pectoralis Main – These are the principle chest muscle mass you can visually see. They assist carry your higher arm in the direction of the center of your physique.
  • Deltoids – These are the principle shoulder muscle mass. The entrance and aspect deltoids are those which might be most energetic within the dumbbell bench press.
  • Triceps brachii – These are the muscle mass behind your arms that stretch your elbows while you press.

All bench press variations will activate all of those muscle teams, however because of the additional motion vary you get within the dumbbell bench press, the pectoralis main is activated extra on this variation.

Advantages of a Dumbbell Bench Press

benefits of a dumbbell bench press

Three of the largest advantages of the dumbbell bench press are:

  • Impartial loading on every arm. Every of your arms holds onto a person weight that’s not related to the opposite aspect. Subsequently, every arm might want to contribute the identical quantity of effort when performing the train. That is nice for individuals who are inclined to have one arm stronger than the opposite.
  • Extra vary of movement by the pecs. In case your objectives are to focus extra on rising your chest muscle mass, chances are you’ll wish to select a dumbbell bench press over the barbell bench press.
  • Instability of the train elicits the necessity to management the descent. As a result of nature of the train, there’s a larger sense of instability when holding onto the weights. This instability encourages you to concentrate to controlling the weights extra and slowing the motion down. This slowing of the repetition motion will increase time below rigidity within the muscle mass, which is useful for exciting muscle acquire.

For those who’re searching for extra methods to focus on the chest muscle mass, take a look at 12 Dumbbell Chest Workout routines With out A Bench (With Footage).

Cons of a Dumbbell Bench Press

Three cons of the dumbbell bench press are:

  • Asymmetries can come by. For those who naturally have dangerous asymmetries when it comes to power on all sides, they’re inclined to return by in the event you push the problem on the train. Which means that somebody in your place mustn’t go for heavy hundreds and low reps or push near failure in every set. 
  • Troublesome to arrange when trying heavy weights. In case your purpose is to extend power, you usually wish to be uncovered to heavy weights. The dumbbell bench press shouldn’t be the only option if you wish to go heavy relative to your power ranges. It may be tough and considerably dangerous when attempting to arrange this train by getting the dumbbells into the beginning place, and the chance of failing or dropping the weights is increased.
  • You can not standardize the vary of movement throughout reps. As it’s common to cheat the vary of movement on this train, you can’t standardize the standard of the repetitions throughout the reps. This makes it tough to reliably monitor whether or not your efficiency has actually improved or you might be simply lifting heavier however shifting by a shorter vary of movement.

Barbell Bench Press: How To, Ideas, Frequent Errors, Muscle tissues Used, Execs And Cons

The best way to do a Barbell Bench Press (6 Steps)

Step 1: Alter an influence cage or bench press station to a stage the place you may simply unrack the bar and cargo your required weight

Set the barbell to be at a stage at which you’ll be able to unrack it simply and cargo it together with your desired weight.

Step 2: Lie on the bench and place your self so your eyes are beneath the barbell

Lie down onto the bench together with your eyes beneath the barbell, and hold your shoulder blades pinched backward and downward.

Step 3: Grip the barbell together with your palms positioned a good distance other than one another and unrack it

Seize onto the barbell together with your palms spaced evenly aside, unrack it, and maintain it above your shoulders.

Step 4: Inhale and produce the barbell down in the direction of your chest

Inhale and decrease the barbell in the direction of the decrease chest stage.

Step 5: Exhale and press the barbell again up

Exhale as you press the barbell upwards and in the direction of the unique place to begin above the shoulders.

Step 6: Full all reps and re-rack the bar while you’re performed

Repeat for the specified variety of repetitions. When you find yourself performed, rack the barbell into the J hooks.

Ideas for Performing the Barbell Bench Press

tips for performing the barbell bench press

Listed below are 3 high ideas for performing the barbell bench press:

  • Use the cue “meet the chest to the barbell” on the descent. This can be a actually good cue to assist keep a powerful and secure retraction of your shoulder blades. Secure shoulder blades will mean you can maximize effort within the urgent movement.
  • Use leg drive to maintain your shoulder blades pinched down. When you could have a barbell that retains your shoulder blades fastened to the bench, utilizing leg drive to kick your self again will assist hold your ribcage upwards, which can even assist hold your shoulder blades pinched again and down.
  • Use wrist wraps to maintain a secure maintain on the barbell. For those who wrestle with this train as a result of your wrists roll loads, you may attempt utilizing wrist wraps so you may pay much less consideration to instability and extra consideration to urgent tougher together with your chest and tricep muscle mass. This can consequently assist enhance your efficiency.

Questioning in the event you ought to arch your again within the barbell bench press? Take a look at The Bench Press Arch (How To Do It, Advantages, Is It Secure).

Frequent Errors With Barbell Bench Press

The most typical errors I see with the barbell bench press are:

  • Not going by the complete vary of movement. The barbell bench press must be an train that’s simple to standardize the vary of movement. It’s because the underside of the vary of movement is when the barbell can contact your chest. Not assembly this level is decreasing your vary of movement, which reduces your stimulus for muscle mass and power. A great barbell touchpoint within the bench press is someplace between the sternum and decrease pecs.
  • Permitting the chest to break down while you carry the barbell down. Permitting the chest to break down will put your shoulders in a weaker place to have the ability to press. In case your chest collapses, your shoulder blades are more likely to roll out of the unique place. This may put undue stress in your shoulders and improve the chance of straining or damage.
  • Overly tucking the elbows while you carry out the train. Once you overly tuck your elbows, you set much less stress in your pecs, however you set extra demand in your elbows and triceps, which may make it much less environment friendly.

Muscle tissues Used Throughout Barbell Bench Press

The muscle mass which might be used through the barbell bench press are:

  • Pectoralis Main – These are the principle chest muscle mass that you simply see on the entrance of the physique. They work to carry your higher arm throughout your physique.
  • Deltoids – These are the principle shoulder muscle mass. The entrance and aspect deltoids are labored essentially the most within the barbell bench press.
  • Triceps brachii – These are the muscle mass of the arms that stretch your elbows while you press objects away from you.

All bench press variations will activate all of those muscle teams, however research have proven that the barbell bench press appears to activate the triceps greater than the dumbbell bench press.

Study extra about all the muscle mass used within the bench press in Muscle tissues Used In Bench Press (A Full Information).

Advantages of a Barbell Bench Press

benefits of a barbell bench press

Three key advantages of the barbell bench press are:

  • You’ll be able to carry out heavy hundreds to extend power. If you wish to improve power, you have to be lifting increased depth hundreds. The barbell bench press with an acceptable bench setup is a secure and efficient train to carry out heavy hundreds with. The J hooks within the bench press station are helpful for unracking and reracking the bar earlier than and after execution.
  • Standardize efficiency by fixed time below rigidity. The barbell bench press is an effective train to watch enhancements in higher physique power because the vary of movement is standardized by a number of reps.
  • Secure to identify and secure to arrange. The barbell bench press is mostly safer and simple for spotters to have the ability to assist with the lifter throughout execution. When the lifter fails, the spotter can simply seize the barbell. In the course of the dumbbell bench press, the lifter can fail in a number of alternative ways, which could be extra harmful for a spotter.

Cons Of A Barbell Bench Press

Three cons of a barbell bench press are:

  • Unsafe to carry out heavy hundreds alone. There have been many tales of tragic accidents occurring when individuals have failed a barbell bench press. For those who practice alone at residence, it isn’t suggested to carry out the bench press until you could have a security rack that catches the barbell or keep away from utilizing barbell collars so you may enable the plates to slip off.
  • The stronger arm can take over throughout execution. The stronger arm can take over if the load is heavy or if the reps get tougher as you progress by a set. This may reinforce asymmetries.
  • Much less vary of movement. The barbell bench press usually doesn’t present the very best vary of movement for activating the chest muscle mass. It’s because the barbell restricts how low it will possibly go, and the way you maintain onto the barbell also can limit your vary on the high. Dumbbell, cable, and machine various bench press workouts could be higher when it comes to the vary of movement.

Incessantly Requested Questions

It Higher to Bench Press with Dumbbells or a Barbell?

It’s higher to bench press with dumbbells if you wish to prioritize the chest muscle mass, however if you wish to activate the triceps extra, you should utilize the barbell. The bench press with a dumbbell offers extra vary of movement, so in case your purpose is to construct muscle, then select a dumbbell bench press.

Why Is the Dumbbell Bench Press More durable than the Barbell Bench Press?

The dumbbell bench press is tougher than the barbell bench press as a result of it’s tougher to arrange, and the train is inherently much less secure to carry out. As effectively, the stronger arm can not compensate for the weaker arm through the dumbbell bench press.

Is the Dumbbell Press Good for the Chest?

Sure, the dumbbell press is sweet for the chest. It’s superior to many different workouts for concentrating on the chest muscle mass and it means that you can obtain a superb vary of movement.

Different Higher Physique Train Comparisons

Remaining Ideas

So, what’s the decision? Which one is best – the dumbbell bench press or barbell bench press? In truth, each workouts are nice for coaching the chest and tricep muscle mass. The principle distinction between the 2 is that the barbell bench press means that you can carry extra weight and subsequently leads to larger power positive aspects.

If you wish to deal with rising muscle mass and measurement, go along with the dumbbell bench press. You also needs to go along with the dumbbell bench press in the event you’re searching for a lighter possibility that also offers a difficult exercise.


About The Writer: Norman Cheung ASCC, British Powerlifting Group Coach

Norman Cheung

Norman Cheung is a powerlifting coach and an accredited power and conditioning coach below the UKSCA. He has been teaching powerlifting since 2012 and has been an IPF Group GB coach since 2016. He has expertise with teaching quite a lot of lifters from novices to worldwide medallists and worldwide college groups. Alongside aspect teaching, he takes curiosity in serving to powerlifters take their first step into teaching. He at the moment runs his teaching companies at strongambitionscoaching.com



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