The bench press is surely the most popular exercise in the world of fitness. It is not surprising since there is nothing more aesthetic than large and well-developed pecs and the bench press is the exercise that comes to mind when we all think of chest training.
Performing this exercise with a barbell is the most common, but today I suggest that you incorporate the dumbbell bench press.
I’m not going to tell you in this post to ditch the barbell bench press as it has its positives, but the dumbbell variant offers other benefits that a barbell can’t. Therefore my message today is that you should see these two exercises as complementary since both have benefits over the other and doing both will make your pectoral routine much more complete.
Benefits of dumbbells compared to the bar
It is true that by training the barbell bench press we achieve greater stability thanks to which we can move greater loads and that this ability to move heavy weights is beneficial to produce greater muscle hypertrophy. However, performing the dumbbell bench press gives us the possibility of a greater range of motion while getting more involvement of the stabilizer muscles.
This range of motion gain is really important for pec development. If you check the chest tension throughout the range of motion that a bench press would involve, you’ll find that the greatest tension occurs when the arm is fully extended forward.
This point can be reached if we work with dumbbells but not with a barbell, since in the latter case the distance between the hands is fixed.
Another benefit of working with dumbbells is the elimination of asymmetries. The independence of the dumbbells at one o’clock means that the work of both pectorals must be the same, so their development will also be symmetrical. This might not happen with the bar as your dominant arm might be exerting more effort than the other in moving the total weight.
The conclusion is that despite the fact that the bench press is considered by all as a fundamental exercise when it comes to training the chest, the dumbbell variant offers us greater benefits if your goals are simply aesthetic. This is why starting today you should include the dumbbell bench press in your chest routine.
Image via Flickr