The barbell bench press is very likely the most popular exercise for weight trainers to perform. Dumbbell bench presses are usually saved for later in a chest workout. However, in certain circumstances, bench pressing with dumbbells has its advantages.
If you want to work out at home, but don’t have a barbell at this time, you can still get an excellent bench workout with a pair of dumbbells. It would be preferable to have adjustable dumbbells, but some heavy fixed ones will certainly do the job. As long as you have something to work with, you can get a good workout in.
One great thing about bench pressing with dumbbells is that you can get a deeper stretch at the bottom of each rep. When you bench with a barbell, you are limited in how deep you can go because the bar will hit your chest. With dumbbells, you can get a nice deep stretch on every rep. You can also move the dumbbells closer together as you lift them, which will help you get a strong contraction in the muscles. When you do dumbbell bench presses, you are certainly less limited and one side can’t overcompensate for the other.
A good dumbbell bench press routine can be set up by doing flat dumbbell bench presses, followed by inclines and dumbbell flyes. The amount of reps you should do depends on the amount of weight you have available. If you have enough weight, do some heavier sets of 8-12 reps. If you have lighter weights, do high reps. Either way you’ll get the benefits of weight training. Do enough sets to get a good workout without overdoing it, and make sure to be fully recovered before your next dumbbell bench press workout.
The vast majority of weight trainers love the bench press. It’s a great test of upper body strength and it will help you build thick and powerful looking pecs. It’s also a relatively easy exercise to perform and won’t take as much out of you as heavy squats and deadlifts do. However, sometimes you may want to find bench press alternatives if you don’t have the required equipment available to do the exercise with or want to make some changes to your routine to kick start your body for more strength and size gains. You may also want some other exercises to do after benching.
The most obvious alternative to flat and incline benching with a barbell is to use dumbbells instead. Benching with dumbbells will allow you to get a deeper stretch at the bottom of each rep unlike a barbell which will stop when it hits your pecs. You can also move the dumbbells closer to each other as you complete a repetition, which you can’t do while barbell benching.
Another great bench press alternative is to perform the exercise (with dumbbells) while lying on a core ball. Dumbbell bench pressing on a core ball will force many small muscles to stabilize your body on the ball. You’ll activate many rarely used muscles by doing this. Just be sure not to use too much weight.
Dips are one of the best bench press alternatives. If you perform dips the right way, you can hit your pecs hard. Place your hands on dip bars (preferably wider apart) and tilt your body so you will use your pecs to do the exercise before lowering and raising your body. You can use a belt that allows you to add weight to it for a great strength training exercise.
Another one of the best bench press alternatives is the classic push-up. You can do normal push-ups or put your feet on a bench to make them more like an incline bench press. This is a great exercise for getting a lot of reps on and makes for a great finisher to a chest workout.
All of these exercises make for excellent bench press alternatives. At some point you will likely want to go back to the classic barbell bench press. However, if you only have so much equipment to lift with, you can get a great bench workout without doing normal bench presses.