T Nation

Safety - BB vs DB Pressing


Okay so we all know that long term barbell use can cause injuries for pressing movements. Some ppl even have trouble curling a straight bar without pain.

So we use DBs instead. What I'm wondering is, will pressing with DBs exclusively still be hard on shoulders (with a elbows out technique) in time or will it be okay?



Bumpety bump.


I don't know if it realy is a matter of db versus bb, or if it is realy a matter of flexability and front/back ballance, but after having rotated my humerus out of place, tearing front delt,pect and bicep, I started working much harder on rows and maintaining good flexability. I still use a bar and have had no problems for several years and have made signifigant gains.

This leads me to believe that it is much less a matter of bb/db than a matter of flexability and ballance.


yea.. i think its to help get up with muscular imbalance.... the barbell one arm might take over the other, but with db... obviously both arms have to do the same amoutn of work. good luck


I'm not so sure about that. I've always done at least as many pulling movements as pushing, yet the last time I benched for low reps I lasted about 3 wks before my right shoulder started to kill me. I mean constant nagging pain too, more like a chronic injury than acute.

I've always used an elbows out technique.

I've pretty much rehabbed it and have gone back to pushing movements pain free, but only with dumbells. The bench is now suspect in my eyes.


I agree. I put down the barbell bench 3 weeks ago for life. I have this nagging suspicion that your body is not designed for 1 constant motion without change. Think about all the people that get tendonitis typing on keyboard. Now, add 300 pounds to the same repetivie movement and see what happens. thats a bad analogy, but IMO the barbell is not natural, and I will never use it again


I think it's a little extreme eliminate barbells altogether. No, it's not the most "natural" thing, but a lot of things aren't natural. I dont think barbell bench's are any more dangerous than push-ups, at least from a mechanical standpoint - range of motion, etc.

DBs are safer than barbells as far as not having to worry about getting stuck under the bar.

But it probably depends a little on the person. For me, barbell bench doesn't give me any problems as long as I dont use the same bench angle for too many consecutive workouts. However, when it comes to overhead pressing, dumbells feel so much better and less painful, so I pretty much never use barbells for that movement.

And like someone else said above, it's not just about BB vs DBLs - a lot of it has to do with flexibility and muscle balance. It's not as simple as doing an equal amount of pulling/pushing - you need to make sure the weights are as close as possible, and that you're using correct form, etc. So dont be too quick to overlook that as a factor.


I haven't BB flat benched in over a year because it hurts my rotator cuff. I've had no problems still doing flat DB bench during that time.


I bench BB all the time and have never had any real problems. Every now and then a rotator will hurt, I will do some rotator strengthening exercises and not have another problem for a long time. I believe in BB's and DB's. You have to ask yourself, what do those you look up to train with? Arnold used BB, Powerlifters use BB, Ronnie and Jay Cutler use BB's, this tells you that BB's work. If they hurt then you have another issue, i.e. muscle balance, flexibilty, posture, incorrect form. To write off a family of exercises is like saying I wont eat chicken because I can't cook wings...