My goals are to get bigger. I also have a shoulder problem. I am thinking about permanently switching to dumbells for life. Is the barbell bench /better/ then dumbells? I know both are good, But the question remains. If you can go heavier with barbell, yet dumbell stresses the stabilizer muscles, what technique can offer overall the most benefits. On a personal note, does permanently switching sound like a good plan?
putting blinders on and sticking to one form of anything is probably not a great idea, But do what works best for you.
I never barbell bench anymore. It does nothing but hurt my shoulders. I don't feel it in my chest. I don't powerlift, I don't care about bragging my bench numbers, I see no reason to do it if it doesn't work for me.
Remember, training is an individual thing. If it works for you, do it.
I keep hearing about d-bells using stabilizers and barbells not. I think there's a benefit w/ d-bells as far as knowing if you have one side stronger than the other, but I would think a barbell bench also uses stabilizer muscles.
Even if it doesn't use the stabilizing muscles as much (I mean, how much more can it be?), I wonder if the extra weight that you're able to do with a barbell makes up for it.
Anyway, I agree that you should use both and don't stick to any one exercise for too long.
Be sure to work the back of your shoulder and your upper back as much as, if not more than your pushing exercises.
I had terrible pain in my right shoulder, benching all the time, but once I started adding more rows AND deadlifts, along with switching up my pressing exercises, I was able to get rid of the shoulder pain completely and now I'm benching a whole lot more weight.
Sorry about the run-on sentances and all the commas.
Oh, and to reitterate (or is it just iterate) what I was saying about deadlifts, one of the coaches here (I think it was Charles Staley) suggested that the only true way to row with the same intensity (as far as the load) that we're naturally able to press is to do deadlifts.
Or something like that, I'm sure he says it better than me.
I find the best results with constantly changing. Trying to out smart your bodies adaptative abilities leads to gains, sticking with own process leads to stagnation.
See a chiropractor(preferably ART practitioner) and get your shoulder fixed. Good luck.