T Nation

Figuring DB Pounds to Barbell Pounds


In the gym for my dumbbell bench press workout i go like this:
145 lb dbs x 10 reps
135's x 12 reps
125's x 14 reps and if i still feel like it
115's x 16 reps
My goal is to be able to db press a pair of 175's (my bodyweight)

My questions is if i can press a pair of 145's 10 times what should i be able to do on barbell? How do i convert one to the other?

I havent done barbell in months, the last time i did it i was at 300 lbs for nine reps and when my strength stalled i switched to dumbbells and been there every since. I do however do incline barbell, but since i never do it first i dont know my true strength on it. My best was 250 lbs for eleven reps.


You don't. Start at your old personal best on the barbell lift and work from there.


if you can bench 2 145 lb DBs x10 you shouldnt be in this section.

the only people ive seen put up that much weight are pro BBers or PLers. something doesnt seem right, especially considering MOST gyms dont have DBs that high.


I work out at the original Powerhouse Gym in Highland Park, MI on Woodward. That was the first one founded by Will and Norman Dabish in 1975.

They have dumbbells that go up to 150 pounds. They do have a pair of 200 pound dumbbells as well. But I dont have no reason to lie. Im not trying to impress people who i never met or prolly never will meet who live in other states.


unfortunately dumbell doesnt carry over to barbell, so the only way to detirmine what weight you use on barbell is to actually do it. Most people ive seen have some really shit form in dumbells so there bench is pretty weak.


I agree with steel, I can do fairly well at DB bench press but my barbell number seems weak in comparison. Maybe bc I pause for half a second on my chest before I lift back up, to ensure no bounce. Just start at your old benching numbers you used to do and see how it feels and go from there, like someone else already said.


Well keep in mind I still do incline barbell...


Like Steel wrote, dumbbells do NOT translate to barbell poundages AT ALL. This is also why so many avoid doing dumbbells...because it is a shock to their ego when they suddenly have trouble putting up 120lbs dumbbells in each hand after having finished benching over 300lbs. It takes full body strength just to get two dumbbells weighing over 130lbs each into the air by yourself after picking them of the ground.

Most big bodybuilders will also tell you that the dumbbell press is often considered a better mass builder than the barbell bench.

On the same note, this is why many truly strong lifters eventually move away from dumbbells because it takes half of the energy out of you just getting the dumbbells into position.


Yeah, but your profile lists you as 170lbs. If you can get dumbbells that heavy into the air for several reps without someone moving half of the weight for you at only 170lbs, you need to be getting ready for the fucking Olympics.

I don't actually even care to argue about it though. I don't believe half of the weights I see quoted anyway unless a video is attached.


why don't you load up a barbell and find out.


OP: you may not be lying about your poundages, but I've trained around a lot of very strong people, including a 600 pound raw bencher who uses less weight on DB presses than you do. And he weighs about 275.

If you are pressing 145's for 10 at 170 pounds, you are one of the strongest people pound-for-pound in the world. Congrats.


Shit, first that means actually being able to press 145lbs dumbbells for 10 reps.

Damn it, I did it again.


Well said...

You push 145lb dumbbells for 10 reps but struggle with a bar?

My bullshit detector just broke.


Most people have shit form in any kind of benchpressing. Whether it be dumbell or barbell. :wink:


Ummm...........as long as you're following the same path (say, to midchest) and using the same depth and speed - your BB bench should be at least as high as your DB bench unless youre using a hammer grip on DBs and you just happen to be unnaturally strong with that wrist position.

The main advantage of BB bench is that you can add weight faster and lift heavier........but NOTHING beats DB bench for chest development! You will not get as much for your triceps though depending on your form and how much lighter you go with DBs.

To the OP, I have seen some strong 160 pound guys put up the 100's with shaky form for a couple of reps.......but if youre DB benching 145's at 170 for TEN REPS....you should start competing as a strength athlete.


I found that DB benching taught me the mind-muscle connection for my chest after only a few weeks.. where months of BB benching did nothing for my mind-muscle connection.


On my off days, I do 170's .... with my grandma too.


At 145x10 I would imagine at least a 400lb bb bench. But I'm going to say both are impossible at 170 unless you are like 5' tall.


Well I am 175 not 170 and muscular. I aint bout to take the time to make a video since I workout alone and would have to buy a camera...it aint that serious to me whether no one believes me. I aint gone downplay myself and say I can only do 80 pound dbs to make it sound more believable.

If I wanted to lie I would be 275 pounds benching 650 pounds for reps. But if you ask anyone at my gym that know me theyll tell you pound for pound Im one of the strongest around. If I was 200 pounds like I want to be, the 150's surely wouldnt be enough for me.

Even If i posted a vidoe, you wouldnt know it was me.


Plus I dnt mean to sound racist or anything so dont take it like that....but black men usually have more testosterone which may translate to more muscular strength. Most ppl say I look 215 and dont believe me when I say im 175. But dont turn this into a big post about black men vs white men I done watched the wsm on espn.

But dont take it to heart Im just repeating what I read.