T Nation

Barbell vs Dumbell Bench Press Conversion

Due to some elbow problems I bench with dumbbells rather than a barbell. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know a conversion factor from dumbbell weight to barbell weight for a bench press?

I know doing 80 lb reps with 2 dumbbells for example is harder than doing reps with a 160 lb barbell, but what’s the factor?

It doesn’t really matter what the factor is, but if you want to get technical, here’s the equation:

BB weight = (DB weight+43/4.365)-86

I think it depends on the individual. There are too many factors to take into account to determine a ratio.

lol there is no factor. It’s pretty much based on your nueral learning curve, and accessory muscles.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
lol there is no factor. It’s pretty much based on your nueral learning curve, and accessory muscles. [/quote]

Agreed.

If you want to find out how much you can lift with a barbell, why not just try it and find out. Then, you can figure out a hypothetical conversion factor and try it out with your other lifts.

Keep in mind though that as Airtruth (and several others have stated) that DB exercises generally require more strength in your stabilizer muscles, but don’t necessarily produce more strength gains (or at least not significantly more) in your prime movers.

Good training,

Sentoguy