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Strength on DB Bench vs BB Bench


Ok, I didn't know where to post this (bodybuilding training or powerlifting). Most of the guy I see are better at the bench press than at the DB bench, they will be able to bench let's say 225 for 8+ reps but they will struggle with the 80's on the DB bench.

I am the complete opposite, my best BB bench 1rm is 275 but my PR on DB bench is 120x8.Today I did 4reps with the 120's after doing a 1rm in bench and I didn't do any DB work for 8+months (I had a hiatus in training and I train in my home gym now). Of course there is a carryover between those 2 exercises but I feel it is not that great.

My question is: should I continue trying to get my BB bench up? How can you explain the relationship between DB and BB bench strength? I know DB bench is a good pec builder for me but I feel in the medium and long run it will hurt my progress to stop BB bench. Am I right?

About my body type I have long arms and I am better at deadlifting than squatting. I am 6 feet and about 200lbs


Form plays an important role on the bench press. probably thats your issue.Also, weak shoulders would be my second guess.


It could relate to relatively weaker tris. Have you tried close grip bench? Are close-grip's higher or lower than your bench press?

Also, technique could be an issue as mentioned. How wide is your grip?

Hice work on the DB.


Are you taking the dumbells as low as you take the bar on your bench? Meaning that you're hands would have to be wide enough to allow the bottom of the weights on the dumbell to fall below the imaginary plane created by your chest so that the handles of the dumbells (not the weights) are arriving at this imaginary plane created by the chest (as it is created during a BB bench).


It depends on your goals. Trying to get bigger? You should use both BB and DB benching in a well thought out well planned program. Trying to bench more? You need to figure out which exercises have a direct transfer to putting pounds on your bench. Don't do exercises just to do them. If your DB bench keeps going up but your bench stays the same, something is not working.


If this was on the bodybuilding forum, you'd probably have 20 guys claiming to have "built their chests with dumbells," and "barbell bench is a terrible chest exercise." I think that's a bunch of bullshit. How many elite bodybuilders DON'T use barbell incline or flat as a main chest exercise? Is Kai benching 5 plates on flat for fun or because it's helping build a big chest? I say keep doing both and push up the weights (without letting your form get bad, obviously). Bench is a great compound exercise for the upper body, so look at it that way instead of as a chest-isolation exercise.


I lower the dumbells until the bottom touch the line, where it feels natural. I don't force myself to go lower and I don't pause at the bottom. I assure you that I don't do partials reps

More info about my lifts:
About my triceps strength, they are definitely the weakest link in my bench. The weird thing is that I am relatively good at skullcrushers (I can do a few reps at 125lbs and I max at 135lbs) (I don't do that often because it is hard for my elbows) while they are weak at pressing. My CGBP max is about 245 and it is hard to get my triceps working while doing it. That is why I do partial CGBP from pins.

My shoulders are not that weak compared to my bench.I don't have any conventionnal exercise stats (I train at home with a low-ceiling) but I can max at 185 on sitting overhead press from the lowest pins I can. I can do 1-arm leaning-away lateral raise with 45lbs with strict form. That doesn't say much I know. 1.5 years ago my standing military press 1rm was 205lbs and my bench was 225-235lbs. I have wide clavicules also if that means anything.

My forearm are somewhat long and I know it may create a better lever for exercise such as skullcrushers and curls.


so, in one and a half years your press decreased 20 pounds? anyway, for a 275 bench press, you military should be a bit higher I believe...And since I gues you bench raw, shoulders are usually the limiting factor...I suggest train the shit out of them and you triceps, and your bench should go up. :slight_smile: