How to do a Dumbbell Bench Press Correctly
The dumbbell bench press is a great exercise, but you need to do it the right way. Find out how to perfect your form to get optimal results.
How to do This Variation of the Traditional Bench Press Correctly
Building an impressive set of pecs can be done in a variety of ways. You can perform the bench press using a barbell. You can do this exercise with the Smith Machine or you can use dumbbells. Using a barbell or the Smith Machine is pretty straightforward, but using dumbbells requires a different technique. This article will explain how to do a dumbbell bench press correctly.
Why Should You Do the Dumbbell Bench Press?
As opposed to the traditional bench press that uses barbells or the Smith Machine, the dumbbell bench press gives you more freedom of motion so that you can target different parts of your chest muscle. This exercise also forces you to use supporting muscles to a greater extent. This will help you develop your chest muscles even more.
The dumbbell bench press primary works the pectoralis major and minor. Other muscles worked to a lesser degree are the clavicular head of the pecs, the front deltoids, and triceps. Your rotator cuffs and biceps are used as stabilizers in this exercise as well, so with this one exercise your body will be doing a lot of work.
Dumbbell Bench Press Starting Position
When you are about to begin this exercise, you should be seated on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground. If this is the first time you are performing this exercise, you should choose relatively light weights and rest them on your thighs with your palms facing each other.
Lifting the Weight
After getting yourself into the starting position, you can proceed in a few ways. You can use your thighs to help you lift the weights so you can prepare to do your first rep. If you are using this method, you begin in the starting position with your elbows bent, your head lowered so your chin is on your chest and your back slightly rounded.
With the dumbbells on your thighs, thrust your thighs and lean back on the back onto the bench so that you can get the barbells up. Your feet should be flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart and your elbows should be slightly bent. The dumbbells should be lined up with the lower part of your chest.
Before you get ready to lower the dumbbells, you should check a few things. First, your back should be slightly arched and your abdominal muscles should be held in tight. Your scapulas (shoulder blades) should be retracted as well (as if you were trying to squeeze them together). In addition to this, make sure that your weight is on your heels and your butt is firmly on the bench.
If you have someone to assist you while doing this exercise, you can change your starting position by lying on the bench with your arms upraised and having your assistant hand you the dumbbells. This is the preferred way to do it if you are lifting heavy weight.
Lowering the Weight
As you lower the weights, make sure your elbow and shoulder joints are at a 90-degree angle. Don’t lower the weight so far down that it causes discomfort. If you are doing the exercise properly, you should feel it in your chest muscles primarily and slightly in your shoulders and triceps.
Another important thing to consider is breathing techniques. As you lower the weight you should inhale deeply and as you raise the weights you should exhale. After you have completed one rep, continue with the exercise until you have completed the desired number of repetitions.
Dumbbell Bench Press Precautions
Although this exercise allows you a greater range of motion, it’s advised not to lower the weights too much. This could result in shoulder pain and torn ligaments and tendons.
Another thing to consider when performing the dumbbell bench press is the number of repetitions you perform. Unless you have a spotter, it is inadvisable to go to failure while doing the dumbbell bench press. This could cause you to drop the weight incorrectly and cause injury.
When you feel like your arms are giving out, stop the exercise and lower the weight. If you have gotten overzealous and just can’t do another rep, it’s better to just drop the weight, make noise and just do fewer repetitions on the next set.
Build that Chest!
When you know how to properly perform the dumbbell bench press, you can focus on building your chest muscles. If you adhere to proper form in all three phases of the exercise (the start of the exercise, lifting the weight and lowering the weight) you’ll have a fine set of pecs in no time.