T Nation

BB Bench


I never thought I would post about barbell bench press..The most prized exercise of people who take up space in the gym... But I just want to get this question out...

I just don't know about dumbells... I dont feel a burn in my pecs.. I know "feeling the burn" does not mean growth, but I have never read about someone "feeling it in their pecs" more on barbell than dumbell bench...
But for some reason, I don't really feel db presses in my pecs.. I actually feel bb bench more because I feel like I can stay tighter and have better form (rather than the dbs swaying all over).

Is it possible that I would get better results from bb bench in my chest? I am worried about shoulder health, what tips do you guys use to keep your shoulders healthy?
(besides arching the back to decrease ROM and squeezing shoulder blades and back tight, along with elbows as far in as possible)

EDIT: this goes for incline and decline press as well!


Dude, it's not that complicated. If your goal is chest growth and you don't feel DB presses, then don't do them. OR, fix technique so that you do.

Bench press is a fine exercise, just don't be dumb about it. Take some tips from PLers and make sure to pull your scapulae back, dig traps into the bench, and have your feet firmly against the floor so you have a good base to press from. A grip on the narrower side and some elbow tuck seems to be enough to keep the shoulders moderately healthy, especially if you take other precautions and do some additional shoulder mobility work.

k good luck.



Especially since most gyms around dont have db's that go above 100lb. You just dont get that same feeling of touching the bar to your chest with db's and you cant do as much weight obviously which is a big deal. You can always do DB bench after bb bench.


Despite the fact that some trainers, coaches, and even pros may eschew BB bench due to physiological issues hampering growth, a fear of tearing a pec, or even just not 'feeling it', countless others have built up their chests with nothing more than heavy barbell benches. The only answer to questions like this is which one do YOU feel works better for YOU.

As you mentioned, soreness isn't an indicator of hypertrophy, but if you can be objective enough about growth as well as strength increases, you can easily decide for yourself. Just don't do something because you think you're supposed to, or because someone else does. Do what works for you.



Too simple that could never work.

Serious though ^^ this is a good point and the man has a chest that makes him worth listening to.

What's to say you can't do both? I think it's king beef loves doing incline DB bench first in his workout, that doesn't mean he won't bench later on, plus his shoulders and pecs will be more thoroughly warmed up.

Think less, lift more,


I'm the opposite. I feel my chest much more with DB's and HS Machines. Less stress on my shoulders (but that's just me, everyone is different) because I can angle the db's as needed.

In the big scheme, I've only recently even started BB benching heavyish and regularly the past few years, and even then mostly in the lower rep ranges (ie for limit strength vs. development). I don't think it's been unproductive, but it's not my primary pressing preference for producing perfect pecs (+1 for alliteration).

I agree that you just need to find what works for you and milk it for what you can for however long you can and change movements in/out as you need. Someday you may come to find that db's help in addition to bench.

There is no rule against doing them both!

Good luck.




DB press are a pain in the butt. I feel my shoulder working extra hard to stabilize the weight. Getting them up by yourself is brutal on your rotator cuff. A lot of people don't even use full ROM with DB because unlike the barbell you the bar doesnt touch your chest and they end up doing the top portion only.


Don't do dumbbell presses because someone on the internet told you to if you don't feel them like you're supposed to.

The same pretty much applies to any exercise... ever.


for me dumbbell presses have no benefit other than making me tired and wasting energy