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Dumbbell Press Reps and Sets: Max Out or Back Off?

I start out my dumbell press (after warmup) maxing out with 11-12 reps, then I can only get the same amount of weight (200 lbs) up the next set about 4-5x. After that I’ve been backing off to 180 in sets 3-4 approx. 5 reps with a drop set of 90 lbs x 7-8 reps.

Would it be better to not max out on reps on the first set in order to lift more on the next sets?

IMO, it’s personal preference unless your goal is mostly strength.

Your method is similar to mine.

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It doesn’t need to be an either or scenario. Do what you are doing until your progression slows then swap in a different method and progress on that.

You have loads of options, on-top of the ones you listed:

  • Ramp up to your top set slower (2x12x180; 2x12x190: 1x12x200)
  • Drop the reps after the top set
  • Do your sets as clusters
  • Do the remaining sets as drop sets
  • Drop weight and change tempo
  • After the first set, do a similar movement where you have a mechanical advantage(eg. Shoulder press --> Incline press)
  • loads more

Your gym has 200lb dumbells?

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I think he means 2 100’s. Otherwise, he’s a gorilla :slightly_smiling_face:

Lol correct, two 100 lb dumbbells, that’s the heaviest dumbbell available.

Thanks on the other advice, I will try to switch it up a bit. I do like ending with the drop sets though, seems like that really exhausts the muscle and burns the most.