Has anyone else noticed that dumbells really help with the lockout of any pressing motion? (on a bench or overhead)
They can help with lockouts due to enabling you to use your triceps more. When using a barbell your hands are fixed whereas with dumbells you can accomodate the weaker parts of the movement by moving your hand spacing in or out. Generally most people tend to do dumbell type movements with a closer grip spacing than they would with barbells which stresses the triceps more.
I actually never use any lockouts, especially when using dumbells. I find that locking a joint releases the tension you're applying to the target muscle. I get a much better pump this way, and am left feeling fully fatigued in the muscle where I want it. With shoulder presses especially (concerning avoiding too much tricep involvement), I actually do a circular movement,.. almost like doing a flye, except above your head,.. burns like hell!
Of course I'm not training to see how much I can lift, just develop the muscles.... although I've been doing this for a while now, and have gotten quite strong, while doing everything possible to avoid using heavier weights (got bad joints!).. just gotta be confident enough to not care how much you're lifting, and only increase the weight when is necessary, not when a cute chick walks by.
I think a cute chick walking by should qualify as a necessity to increase weight. I usually try to pin myself on bench with about 100lbs. more than my max, when there is a hottie in the vicinity. After she helps you remove the weight off your chest and your face turns back to its normal color, tell her you were distacted by her beauty and it kept you from repping your 500lb. "warm-up." Who knows it might work, the best women seem to fall for the helpless, pathetic types.