T Nation

DB or BB Bench?

Quick question:

I’m working through this book called “Scrawny to Brawny” by JB and Mike Mejia and in phase 2 they really stress bench presses, squats and deadlifts. This is all understandable but my problem with the bench press is that I have no one spotting me since I go to the gym solo. Is it OK to do the bench press with dumbells instead or is that unacceptable? Thanks a lot!!


Hell yes! DB bench presses are a totally acceptable replacement for BB bench presses.

Yeah, DB bench pressing is perfectly acceptable, and mixing in DBs in general is a good idea for balance and building stabilizers.

That said, you should be able to bench press with a BB even by yourself. I’ve been doing so for a year without a problem. It’s just a matter of never going to failure - and thus being able to gauge whether or not you have 1 more rep left in you or not.

You can still do BB work, you just have to avoid failure. I don’t know what the specific prescriptions are for the workouts in the book, but if they don’t require training to failure all the time (my guess is they don’t) do a little of both. Incorporating both DB and BB work will help a lot with gains, at least in my experience.

[quote]Norweige wrote:
You can still do BB work, you just have to avoid failure.[/quote]

I also think if you’re going to do barbel chest presses without a spotter or power cage, then having a slight incline in your bench (not flat or decline) is another useful safety strategy - you can always roll the barbell down to your waist if you do get stuck. Somtimes failure can creep up faster than we reckoned. :slight_smile:

I also agree with other postings - Dumbbells are great for bench press - I rarely use the barbell even though I have a power cage: if nothing else, I prefer the movement of the db’s as they seem to be easier on my shoulder.