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Improving Dumbbell Bench Press


Apologies if this is in the wrong forum, powerlifting seemed like the right place.

I'm trying to improve my dumbbell bench press, and keep up with my training partner.

Went for 5x5 with 42kg DB last night, it was a new weight for both of us but I could only manage 3 of the sets where as he busted out 4 (neither of us managed the full 5; hit failure and were genuinely f*cked).

This is a trend that has been continuing for a while. He seems to be able to perform so much better in the press than i can and i can't understand why: when we do something predominantly Triceps like dips, or pectorals like flyes or something similar i kick his arse.

I didn't know if there was any guidance you guys could offer me in any movements / methods / muscles I should be working on to improve?


Bumpy bump...


Train the stabilisers? rotator cuff & serratus?


..well 5x5 is not good gor strenght..so maebt try another rep set protocol ..use weight tht you can handle


Fair enough about the set rep scheme but the question was more focused on why he might be stronger at this movement when I have both stronger tris and pecs; and how i could improve on this particular exercise.

As for the weight, I could handle the previous weight, this was just the next step in the progression.


Makes sense. He has strong shoulders (in things like overhead press), you reckon this could have something to do with it?

I seem to have a sticking point around half way up; can't workout whether it's a tricep or pec weakness, or something else - so the stabilisers could be it.

I suffer from pain when benching, otherwise i would just use a bar and practise benching that portion.

what about floor pressing. Could that help?


Maybe just maybe he's stronger than you.


No shit sherlock. But that's what i want to change.


I reckon it might.


5x5 is a classic routine for strength!


hummmm..wanna get strong a db pressees..use a neutral or semi nutral grip for a while...

and 5x5 kind of suck for strenght..better use a good piramid...


You kick his ass on tricep stuff... he kicks yours on dumbbell bench... what would be the logical issue and solution?



Go on....


I have a similar challenge. It seems more difficult to me when using dumbbells because a 5 pund jump seems like a lot compared to 10 more pounds on a barbell bench press. For me, I have to vary the rep ranges more with dumbbells and as siad earlier, really work on the stabilizers. Going from 8 reps of 80 pounds to 8 reps of 85 pounds has been an up and down path for me. I have had some success occasionally, once every 2 weeks or so, having my partner hand me the 90's or even 95's and working on just the controlled negatives. good luck.


Does this work?

Done it a couple of times with 46 & 50kg DBs but then read an article by Dave Tate that it was only good for size and just made the muscles sore.

I'd still use the technique of it does indeed increase strength.


Ok, well instead of people talking about stabilisters and all that crap think about the difference in which muscles are primarily used.... Your chest obviously seems weaker than his, but your triceps are stronger. Spend more time doing chest work to bring it up.

Doesn't have to be fancy.. dumbbells, incline dumbbells, incline bench... etc etc


Yeh, already said in the original post that I have stronger pectorals (when doing flyes etc). The point of the thread was to find out what techniques i could use to improve my DB bench, and where the weakness could be. Seeing as it's not tris or pecs thats why the stabilisers and all that crap were mentioned. Just saying bench more is pretty much stating the obvious as I'll already be doing that, I was after info on what i should perhaps be focusing on.

Cheers for the reply though.


kenaw, i have the same problem.. my training partner is stronger than me, either by reps, or by 5-10 lbs on most things..

but he is also 5'8 and i am 6'3.. a BIG difference in leverage and all that fun stuff..

how tall are you? and how talls your partner....


DB press is more chest involved and BB is more tricep and delt involved. It's not that simple, but for the most part, this is true.

Edit: You're asking for techniques to improve your DB bench... just fucking DB bench dude what the hell do you want?


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