T Nation

DBs vs BBs for Chest Press


#1

Hi. I am still relatively a beginner and was wondering what people would recommend I use for flat and incline chest press. I can usually lift a little more if I use the BBs since I don't have to stablize the weights as much. Is there a benefit to one over the other (BBs or DBs)?

Thanks!


#2

Is that a chest or bench press? I don't think you can do a chest press with DB/BBs? Anyway, DB means both sides develop at same speed, BB can cause imbalance. But BB is better for lifting big. Oh, and DB is safer probably, because (if you've got a good floor) you can jetison them :wink:


#3

BB use more weight so you can build muscle better that way, but DB help with stabilizers and and can hit more pecs. They both can help to build gigantic chests though. Switch it up using these. There really isnt a better one of the two because both of them work in relatively the same way, but also each have their own benefits to them. I think that you should do a fairly even ratio with DB's and BB's as well.


#4

DB's are awesome. Most likely, you won't let yourself cheat (If you BB without a spotter, you will most likely cheat), it takes a lot of stabilizers, and it is safer than the bb, although you can screw up your shoulders setting up with large weights.

I would focus on DB of both flat and incline, and would do BB every so often for the ego boost of pounding out PR's (and to keep some variety in).


#5

Well IMO, there's benefits to both, and try to include both in your routines.

You're right, with BB's you may be able to lift a little bit more. You're using both arms simultaneously. With DB's you get both arms having to "do" the work, no cheating if one arm's stronger than the other! Also DB's will give you balance work.

For me, the most important difference is that you can get a bigger range of motion with the DB's at the bottom of the lift.
I feel the effects of the workout more when I've incorporated both DBs and BBs; that's when I get the sorest.


#6

I was going to say that there is a realizable benefit to db press, up to a point. The bb press is a great exercise, but you have to realize that even though the barbell has mass, that mass when you lift it is exerting stablizing force on the weight (probably equal to its mass, but I'm not a physics-head, sorry). In the db press, you have to provide that stabilization force. Most people are quite a bit better at the bb press than the db press, but the amount to which they are better differs from person to person. I've been doing db presses so much more than bb presses that my db press is much more impressive than my bb press, and probably isnt too far behind what I could actually do with a bb press (speaking about the actual lifted weight, not the standard difficulty of the feat).


#7

Its been debated a bit but if your looking for hypertrophy for the chest then I prefer the DBs. I really ever do the straight bench press anymore,only rarely. DBs are better directed to my goals


#8

I prefer bb for flat and db for incline. You'll use less weight on incline anyway, and db's for flat are hard to mount.


#9

Since you say you're a beginner, I suggest swapping the use of DB's with BB every other week. Like what has already been said, the DB's will help strengthen your stabilizers and the BB will allow for maximum weight movement.

You may want to train with the DB's for a few weeks exclusively. This will allow you to really get the hang of the movement and will prepare you for the BB.


#10

I work out alone so to go heavy it is dumbells only. I recently got power hooks so that when I do incline or decline I dont have to horse them into position and kill my wrists. I can get them into position by myself on the flat and Im up to 110lbs for reps(last week of 1 lift a day) for my heavy set of 2.


#11

We are all different. Try both. I am not saying a barbell bench is useless, but I really don't feel it in my chest. It puts a lot of strain on my shoulders, and after I go heavy, I hurt. Dumbells, I feel in my chest.
Consider using both. If you do flat and incline presses, for example, week one use flat dumbell press followed by incline barbell press. Week two, do barbell bench followed by dumbell incline.
We are conditioned from the begining of our training to believe that the bench is king, and unless you have a big bench, you aren't shit. I don't buy this for a second. Unless you specifically powerlift, you don't need to focus on your bench. It is often an ego lift, and if it is not the best option for you, use something else.


#12

Huh. Since I start my chest workout with inclines, I use more weight than the flat. If you want a more "shelf" look, you'd do inclines more. Your upper chest development accentuates shoulder development.

So, you see, whatever you start with, you'll do more weight than your next exercise.

As to db vs. bb... do what you like to do. Let me say, it's a lot more impressive seeing (and doing) 125# db presses than 315# bb presses IMO. It also saves my shoulders. Plus, getting a bench for bb isn't as easy as getting the 125's. Who do you see using those? Almost no one. How many people do you see waiting for a bench? Alot. Simple economics.


#13

As most have said above BOTH. Why limit it to one. DB's generally working more stabilizing musculature, giving further ROM, also giving balance and the same attention to each side. Then the BB press allows that LARGE(er) load that is alos great for growth, strength, progression. Just loading a LOT of relative weight on you.

So swap them up do em all.
Phill


#14

I like to switch them up in the same workout. Doing flat on a barbell and then incline db's or the other way around. Hit the flat with db's and incline with a bar. The bench is a compound lift, hitting multiple muscles, and I have found using compounds are the best way to get your whole body to develop and get it working in unison. I have always kept a barbell chest exercise in my workout.


#15

Thanks for all your replies! Right now I'm doing 2 upper body days a week, one with flat bench and the other with incline...I guess I'll try BB for one and DB for the other and then switch after a few weeks.