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Chest Press: Barbell, Dumbbells or Machine?

When it comes to chest press, I know dumbbells are best. However I’m following a program from here that calls for 6 reps on dumbbell press, but I can do more than that with highest weighted dumbbells at my gym. Do you guys suggest sticking to the dumbbells and adding reps, switching to barbell, or using a plate loaded machine that closely mimiks the dumbbell pread (handles come together at end of rep)?

How about making the DB press harder? Pause at the bottom, slower eccentric, add bands, etc.


Good suggestions. I’ve been slowing down the eccentric movement and adding a pause, but I didn’t think about adding hands. They never come to mind with dumbbells for some reasons. Thanks!

Time for a new gym?

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Maybe pre exhaust the chest with flys first?

How are your dips?

Which program? The context of the exercise within the overall plan could indicate the better substitution. In general, I’d probably go with the plate-loaded machine.

based on what? It’s been literally years since I benched dumbbells, at all. I MUCH prefer barbell bench pressing for most goals, and if I’m going to do something other than that, machines are nice because you don’t risk injury getting set up for the exercise. I fucking hate dumbbell pressing.

I have Olympic dumbbell handles for my home gym - can’t agree with you enough. The added length makes them a nightmare to get into place to the point I’ve thought about investing in powerblocks. Probably won’t though, just don’t use them enough to be worth it right now.

I do like doing some unilateral stuff now and then, though that’s a totally different animal.

agreed. I really wasn’t talking about this at all. I do 1 arm overhead presses to work on core stability and unilateral strength for specific strongman events (like circus dumbbell). I would never, however, claim that this was a ‘superior’ lift to, say, the barbell version.