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One-Arm Benching?


What would be the advantages(if any) of doing a one-armed dumbell bench press?


I am thinking you might be able to handle more weight per arm if you do each arms in a separate set.


Try them and you will see, if you are using heavy weights your abs will get a quick workout. I don't see any real disadvantages to them as long as you don't rely on them exclusively.


Dirty Tiger who wants to do it with one arm.....hmmm.

Yes, if you can support yourself really well then you'll be able to use more weight.

Other than that I don't see much point in performing it. The two-dumbell bench is an excellent excercise on it's own and takes less time.


I think it helps b/c whenever we benchpress we train our delts, pecs and tris to be used on both sides. I think it helps b/c you are only using one half of that. With my experience, all of my pressing exercises have gone up about 20 lbs over a 3 month period thanks to these. Def. i can really really feel it in my core doing these as well.


Boyder, You have been doing these for 3 months?...did I read that right?

Right now my routine is bizarro, I work out on machines at a small-town rec center and I work out with free weights and a trap bar at home.

If I do one arm presses I can set up 4 dumbells at 4 weights instead of 2 pairs at 2 weights.


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I did them with my good arm when I dislocated my shoulder. Whereas it might be nice to have new stimuli once in a while, I think that this type of weird stuff should make up a small percentage of your total workout. Why do you need 4 different weights? On anything I usually do one warm-up set and then jump right into my working sets.

BTW, I DON'T feel the same way about unilateral leg exercises, so please don't draw that parallel.


Ethan Reeve, S&C coach for Wake Forest, is a big proponent of the 1-arm DB bench. His football players do 200 pounds for reps on a ball instead of a bench. I was doubtfull of the idea, but had to admit on trying it (not with 200) that the trunk strength required is impressive. Plus it forces you to use intense leg drive, a part of the conventional bench that's frequently forgotton. I am convinced that this exercise, that's essentially useless for the 15 lb dumbbell crowd, becomes usefull IF you do it heavy.

It is not a lift about using one arm at a time. It is about having to use your whole body to support and drive that arm.


I do it all the time, at least 4-5 sets every chest day. I use it for the abs though. I'll load up the flat bench with a couple 5's on one side. As I do the press I do lower leg raises, with a really solid movement.
What I do:
As I bring the bar to my chest i'll have my legs straight out and lift them as the bar goes down, and when i push up the bar my legs go down. I do this really slow 3-4 seconds up 3-4 seconds down. Really good ab workout IMO!! for me at least... Yall should give it a try and see if it works for you!

T-Nation Family!


Yeah, one-arm benching kicks your ass (and your abs), but I don't know about doing proportionally more with one dumbbell than with two. I find I can do significantly less.

I think it's a valuable exercise. It's not an isolation exercise in the slightest, it recruits differently than the standard bench...and if I were trying to help someone who was significantly better at barbell than at dumbbell bench, I think this exercise at a realistic weight would be good supplemental work to the dumbbell bench.