T Nation

Wierd Bench Press


I can one armed dumbbell bench press a 60 lb dumbell in each arm. However, I can barely thick-bar barbell bench 135 for a double. Do you think this is because I have done exclusively DB benching movements for the past 6 months and my body is thus used to dumbbell benching but not barbell benching?


I would say that's about where it should be if you've done dumbbells almost exclusively. I was doing only dumbbells and I was doing 100s for 5 reps then went to barbell and could only do 205 for 5 reps.


that sounds about right given your db stats


really? i can barbell bench a lot more than i can DB bench...with a barbell, you have less you have to worry about keeping stable...maybe it'll just take a few weeks to get used to the form for ya.




Dude, a 1-arm DB bench and a thick bar bench are two radically different moves. What can you bench with a traditional bar? And where are you at with "regular" DB presses? I think those would give us a better indicator of the present situation.


Also check out your form and arm placement. If your arms are closer together and you're using more triceps on DB Bench and your arms are further apart and you're using more chest on barbell that would also lower the weight initially.


I have had a simialr expeience. When I started lifting- a few years before I got into powerlifting- I did not do any barbell pressing. I only used DB's for this The rationale I had at the time was that DB's required no spotter and I felt more stable and confident using them. Over the space of a couple years, I went from doing 50's for 5 to 110's for 5. About that time, I became interested in "regular" bench pressing. Although I could take 110's for 5 reps, I couldn't get 225 with the bar for one! That was three years ago. I do very little DB pressing now. The last time I took a raw max with a barbell, I got 335. Guess what I did with DBs not too long ago- Couldn't get two with 125's! Comparing these two lifts is almost like comparing squats to leg presses. While one helps the other somewhat in terms of strength, the coordination and technique are radically different.


Thanks for all the advice. I don't know my regular bar max cause I just made what used to be my regular bar a thick bar. I train for wrestling and I would guess the DB pressing is a lot more transferable to my sport. Also, I am afraid to trian the thick-bar bench heavy with no spotter. The movements do feel very different, it feels like it has to do with the angle of the wrist and elbow.


Minotaur asked a great question.
What's your regular bench number???


Just to throw in here, an old Cool Tips (from 6-3-05) by Poliquin:

"If your stabilizers are up to snuff, you should be able to do 90% of the barbell bench press weight when doing semi-supinated dumbbell presses. In other words, if you bench 200 pounds, you should be able to press a pair of 90 pounds (2 x 90 = 180 pounds, which is 90% of 200 pounds)."

So, you might not actually be too far off (depending on how many reps you're getting with the DBs).


That's an interesting rule of thumb. At lower weights, it sounds like a reasonable guideline, or at least something to shoot for in terms of overall functional strength. That said, I suspect that it looses relevance at higher weights. For example, one guy I saw at a meet benched a raw 550. COuld he be able to do a rep with 245's (550*.9/2=247.5) It just seems like you would get hurt just setting the wieght up to press. Or going further- what about monster raw benchers like Mendy? What's his shirtless- like 700, right? Using the same guideline that would work out to 315 DBs! Could that be possible? Christ- what would those bells look like?


Those DumbBells would be a pair of baby elephants nose to nose.