T Nation

Dumbbell Press, Too Much Flare?



Was wondering if my elbows are too flared / shoulders internally rotated.

I tend to do the movement like that naturally and trying to tuck in the elbows makes it feel unnatural to me.

Is it okay to do the db press like this for chest engagement? I read that by rotating the shoulders internally you get more pec involvement, but how much is too much?


So your elbows are above the plane that your shoulders are on. I know some people don’t think that’s bad, but I have had rotator cuff problems for a while, and I think that’s bad. Have your elbows at least in line with your shoulders, and preferably a bit more of an elbow tuck. In terms of chest development, DB press > BB, in my opinion, but I like to rotate my wrists during the press and end up almost completely underhand at the top.

There are a ton of things that don’t hurt and feel natural when you’re 17 or 18, but it doesn’t last that way forever, trust me.

If someone else thinks I’m completely wrong and what you’re doing is perfect, I’d welcome the dissenting opinion, but I never like to see elbows higher than shoulders .


I haven’t seen the video so this may be irrelevant but think of it more like an upside down push up - should put your elbows in the right place.


I don’t have a problem with your form, but why did you cut the set so short? Was it a warm up?


I’m transitioning from a cut back to a program and ramping up the volume and intensity. I figured I’d do it over 2 “break in” weeks, and I’m at the end of the second.

I’ve got another workout then I’ll start pushing the envelope (this also accounts for a sort of deload week, which I haven’t had in months).


Where did you come across that?


Mostly agree with this, I wouldn’t bring your elbows above the plane of your shoulders. Aside from that, anything that doesn’t hurt is (mostly) fine. If pressing with your elbows that wide doesn’t hurt, then by all means, continue. If it starts to hurt then adjust your form until it doesn’t - never do a weight movement that hurts just because you read that it stimulates more muscle or whatever. While that position may aggravate flappinit’s shoulders (or mine), if you are not feeling any pain then there’s nothing wrong with it. Everyone is built differently, what wrecks one guy’s shoulders may build another.


If you take a look at the chest paragraph, there’s a mention to that


Awesome cue!

I tried visualizing it today, and although I didn’t quite manage to tuck them in as much as you would for a pushup, this is how it looks now.

I think the elbows are now positioned better, right?


It looks better, in my opinion. @boatguy made a very good point - you may just feel more comfortable with a wider flare. That’s fine. Subtle adjustments for the win. Good stuff.