T Nation

DB Bench Carry Over

Hey everybody! I have been taking a break from barbell pressing movements for the most part and sticking to dumbbell incline/flat pressing 2-3 x week. Mostly in the 12-15 rep range. Im decent at them, but my strength with a barbell is much greater since that’s what I have been training most of my lifting life. Question is, how much carry over to barbell do you guys feel there is when you increase your dumbbell pressing strength? And do you feel that dumbbell incline or flat carries over more to flat bench with a barbell?

You know how one can usually decline bench a few more pounds than flat? well that’s how I am when I go from a 45 deg incline to flat bench. I don’t have some exact ratio or none of that silliness but for me, When my incline improves so does my flat bench. To feel that effect I described I have to ONLY do incline benching for 4-6 weeks. Then when I go back flat my weights feel easier so I get more reps, or can do more weight on the bar. I hope this makes sense.

A few years ago I had a mild elbow injury and to work around it I switched entirely to DB pressing for three months. And After coming back to the barbell I found that I got quite a bit of carry over. Especially in power at the bottom. Note: I was using a lower rep range 3 to 8. And I would do Flat/Incline only one day per week and do some DB overheads on a separate day if it were me.

I have a separate day where I do seated barbell OHP, and DB incline and Ive noticed strength off my chest is better and I feel more confident handling heavy weights on flat bench.

I personally think that dumbell press both incline and flat increase the strength off your chest on barbell bench quite a lot but don’t help the lockout as much, mainly cos the movement for dumbells you tend to use chest and delts more and triceps less, well as least I seem too. I never used to do barbell bench and since adding it in I’ve found that I never have a problem getting a weight off my chest but its when the weight goes past half way and your triceps have to work harder is when I sitll fail. I don’t have a view on whether incline of flat db press will benefit your flat bb bench more but I suppose theoretically flat dumbell is closer to the bench movement so maybe that, but if you’re dumbell pressing 2-3 times a week then I’d suggest mixing it up and doing both!

Personally I’ve noticed that DB benching does not increase my BB strength, but BB benching seems to increase my DB strength. That said, when I use DBs to bench, I like to set the bench at a really low incline (30 degrees or slightly less). Its the most comfortable position for me and it allows me to use more weight than a full 45 degree incline while still hitting my upper chest.

Thanks for your response everybody! I have been doing some barbell pressing movements too like standing overhead press and a bit of close grip bench and barbell incline too so that when I switch back to barbell bench I am still neurologically familiar with the barbell. That being said I am eager to see if there is any carry over.

I would at least think there would be greater strength potential because doing this type of training I have added one complete inch to my chest measurement in about 6 weeks. More muscle=greater strength potential, since mass moves mass. I am for sure a delt dominant bench presser so the DB work should be bringing up a weak area. So anyway, I am overthinking this like a PMSing 17 yr old girl haha!!! I guess time will tell and that’s why its called ‘training.’ :stuck_out_tongue: