T Nation

Dumbbell Bench Pressing

I had to give up Barbell Bench Pressing a few years ago due to a shoulder injury. I cannot do dips for the same reason. Fortunately, I am able to do Dumbbell Bench Pressing (and dumb. flys) with no problem.

My question is this: I seem to be stalled out at a pair of 100’s for 7 reps. I have tried everything I can think of to surpass this and have been unable.

Here is what my typical Dumbbell Bench Work Out looks like: Warm up-60’s-12
70’s-10 80’s-8 90’s-6 100’s-7 (max)

Occasionally, I have simply tried to warm up and then hit the 100’s. This did not help as they felt like 1000’s!

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

What if you skip the 70’s and go 80’s up to 100’s also what is the rest period like in between sets?

Try overshooting your working weight on your warm ups. This might be harder with dumbbells but I’ll give you an example using the bench press.

If your planned working weight is 225, then your last warm up would be approx. 250 for a single. Then you’d go to your 225 and start your workout.

As well, the reps in your warmup are too high. You’re building up residual fatigue in your warm ups. Keep your reps in the 3-5 range on your warm up sets. High rep warm ups serve no purpose and are counter productive

Work in a lower rep range. Use heavier weights.

Whats wrong with your shoulder? Have you tried active release yet?

At what point do you stall? Can you isolate an ancillary with another movement to overcome this weakness?

As to the set/rep scheme, I’d try something like this:

50 - 12 (fastest possible concentric; really try)
70 - 6 (same)
90 - 4 (same)
105 - 4
110 - 3
115 - 2

150 seconds rest, 11X0 tempo.

Do that for two workouts, 5 days apart. Attempt to add a rep to every set the second time. Then go back to what you did before. I’ll be you do better than 7.

DI

Try cutting back on the warmup reps.

For example try:

50 5
70 3
80 2
90 1
100 ?

give yourself 2 minutes between warmup sets and 5 before the 100 pound set.

beefcakemdphd

You know, I have to say that there is no law that states you need to do 70’s, then 80’s, then 90’s, finally getting to the 100’s.

You can perform a set of 70’s, then the 90’s…and then the 100’s.

But, what’s your primary goal with this particular training scheme? Why so many reps?

I like what beefcake has outlined: cut down on the reps. And let me add, begin alternating the max effort sessions with dynamic effort. Some sessions perform the 1RM and the other, increase reps.

Which brings to mind, how long have you been following this particular training?

I appreciate all of the positive feedback regarding my question. Lets see if I can give you more details as you have asked for:

TheCuda, I usually rest just under 2 min. between sets.

Thunder, isnt what you are refering similar to “wave loading”?

ryno, My left shoulder hurts when ever I barbell bench or do dips. It used to hurt quite a bit more but I invested in one of those “delt therapy” bars. You know those funny looking things you loop both your arms around and use two small dumbbells with.

Knight, I alwasys stall just before lock out. This is odd too as my Triceps are very strong.

beefcakemdphd, I always worry about injury so I probably over do the warm ups.

You cant tell where your weak point is, based on a lift for reps. I remember an old article in MM2K, where the author stated, that your would fail in the top, if you pushed for reps. Perhaps because you had been figthing to get through the sticking point for many reps.
Have you considered buying a pair of power hooks? These let you lift heavier dumbells as you don`t have to struggle getting them into position. I find that to be the most stressfull part of the lift, and the reason I only use barbells.

ZEB:

It’s entirely mental. You’re attempting to lock out with pecs, and they just don’t have the strength at that part of the motion.

If you’re tapping the weights together above your chest, stop. Mirror the same slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width range of motion you’d perform with a bench press. Make an honest attempt to flex the triceps after each rep; eventually, it ought to be second nature.

Why does this sound like the advice you gave me? ;~)

DI

Kind of in the sense that both wave loading and overshooting are based on the principle of post-tetanic facilitation. Oveshooting your working weight is the EASIEST way to notice immediate strength gains because your nervous system will be potentiated/excited. Your body will only recruit the minimum amount of motor units to accomplish a given task, so by overshooting you ‘activate’ more motor units. When you actually start your working sets with, they’ll be easier. Trust me.

try dumbbell floor presses. This will help recruit your triceps more and will spare your shoulders any rotation (damage). Also, your warmup reps are too high, as has been mentioned.

But doing very low reps in the d.bench press just doesnt sound practically possible to me. You have to hit the bottom position very precisely with the dumbells when you lay down on the bench, othervise I find I cant get them up at all. The risc of getting your shoulders hurt would also be very high IMHO.
Try focusing on incline d.presses for a while. Your nervous system may be very used to your doing flat benches every time.