The Dumbbell Bench Press
Written by Cody Burgener
Why do you workout? Is it because you want to live healthier lives, help release stress after a long day work, or to increase your strength and cardio? For me, I just want to look good naked. Most of you might not admit it, but come on, who doesn’t want to look good naked? Being able to walk around naked comfortably is like taking your first steps as a baby; it is just an exciting moment in your life.
One body part that is a must for a sexy, naked body is the chest. Some common exercises you might see people performing for their chest are the bench press and push-ups, but the exercises I want to focus on today is the Dumbbell Bench Press. There are a couple variations for the DB bench that you will see when watching people perform this movement: palms facing your feet while pressing, palms facing each other while pressing, or palm start facing each and then rotating them as your perform the movement. Today I want to talk about each one of these variations of the DB bench press.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of using dumbbells over a barbell. By using dumbbells, you are giving the bench press a greater range of motion. In other words, you are putting your muscles on a longer period of tension. You have a greater range of motion in a DB bench rather than barbell bench. Your chest stops you during a barbell bench, and dumbbell bench can get your range of motion lower than your chest. The longer the tension; the more your muscles work and the stronger they will get. Another positive about DB bench press is that it recruits other muscles that you wouldn’t use in a standard barbell bench. Dumbbells can move a lot more than a barbell, so your body has to recruit a lot of other muscles to help stabilize the dumbbells over your head. In a barbell bench, you don’t have to worry about trying to stabilize the weight.
Dumbbell bench with palms facing forward towards your feet is very similar to the standard barbell bench. When performing this exercise, you are using more of the anterior portion of your shoulder and your pec muscles, giving you those massive pecs that you have been looking for. One of the reason why it works more of you pecs and anterior shoulders is because your shoulders are internally rotated more than they would be if palms are facing each other.
Dumbbell bench with palms facing each other is more beneficial when it comes to holding weights up over your head. The reason for this is because your shoulders are more externally rotated, so you are working more of the muscles that help stabilize weight up over your head. The palm facing DB bench still works your pec muscles, but not as much as palms facing your feet. This exercise works more of your lats and triceps. I believe while being externally rotated you are also working more of your whole shoulder to help stabilize the dumbbell, rather than just anterior portion of your shoulder like it does in the palms facing feet DB bench.
Sometimes at the gym you will see people start with palms facing each other, but at the top they will end with palms facing their feet. This movement is pretty much a combination of both combined, but you are recruiting and losing different muscles throughout the movement.
In conclusion, there is no wrong way to perform a DB bench press, but which one do you perform is the true question. The best way to decide is to ask yourself what your weaknesses are; if you already have a strong chest, but a weak overhead position, then I would choose palm facing DB bench. (Then vice versa if you have a weak chest.) Just remember, whichever one that will help you look good naked, you should probably perform that type of DB bench.