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How To Do The Dumbbell Bench Press

Women's Fitness logo Women's Fitness 12/3/2018 jshannon

Nick Harris-Fry

Monday, March 12, 2018 - 14:40

We don’t want to come over all fitness hipster here, but frankly, the barbell bench press is not an effective enough chest exercise to justify its massive popularity. It’s a great exercise, sure, but its place as a workout staple is perhaps down to the fact that benching a big weight is as good for the ego as it is for your muscles.

If you’re ready to look beyond the bench press, we have suggestions for five chest exercises you should do instead – one of which is the dumbbell bench press. That’s right, all you need to do to improve on the bench press is to switch out the barbell for a brace of dumbbells, especially if you’re looking to bulk up your chest.

Using dumbbells allows a greater range of motion than using a barbell and this in turn means you can work more of the pec muscles during the exercise. Your pecs are the main muscles targeted by the exercise, but as an added bonus it also works your triceps. Opting for dumbbells also trains each side in isolation, so you can’t rely on a stronger side to muscle up the weight like you can when using a barbell. If you do find that one side is struggling when using dumbbells, you can then focus on building your strength on that side to balance your body.

How To Do The Dumbbell Bench Press

© Provided by Dennis Publishing

Lie back on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand just to the sides of your shoulders. Your palms should be facing towards your feet in the starting position, although if you have shoulder issues then switch to a neutral grip, where the palms face each other.

Press the weights above your chest by extending your elbows until your arms are straight, then bring the weights back down slowly. To take advantage of the range of movement offered by using dumbbells rather than a barbell, take the weights down past your shoulders and bring them closer together at the top of the movement. Don’t touch them at the top, though, because that will take some of the strain off your muscles.

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