Muscles Used • Exercise Type • Form Instruction • Tips and Techniques • Recommended Reps • Common Variations • Substitutions • Equipment Needed
See all the exercises at the:
Weight Training Exercises Database
– Flat Dumbbell Bench Press –
Compound Exercise, Push Movement
Lying on bench, grasp dumbbells and position towards the upper middle of chest (if you were using a barbell, the barbell would be at the upper middle of the chest). Raise until arms are nearly locked and over the shoulders or just a bit wider. Lower to outer sides of chest.
Tips and Techniques:
To get into position, sit on the end of the bench resting the dumbbells on your thighs and then rolling back while bringing the dumbbells up to just above your armpits in one motion. When finished, either roll back the way you came or drop the dumbbells to the side. This isn’t that difficult but takes some getting used to – perfect the art with light weights before attempting heavier lifts. Better yet, have a spotter help you get in and out of position.
Keep palms facing toward your feet throughout the exercise and keep the dumbbells moving up and down (don’t let them sway). You don’t want to clank the dumbbells together at the top, you want to finish the exercise with the dumbbells directly over your shoulders. Your feet should be firmly on the floor.
At the bottom of the exercise where your elbows are roughly equal to your shoulders (your elbows should stay even with or just go slightly lower than your shoulders), your upper arms should forming a 45 to 90 degree angle with your upper torso. The 90 degree angle may help keep the focus on the pectorals but can cause shoulder strain for some – if you feel pain lessen the angle. Where you naturally gravitate to within the 45-90 degree range is likely best for your build.
You can also do the exercise alternating arms. Another slight variation is skipping the bench and doing the exercise right off the floor.
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- Barbell Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- Decline Dumbbell Bench Press – Same motion but using a decline bench (no more than 30 degrees declined).
- Guillotine Dumbbell Bench Press or Dumbbell Neck Press – Here you are bringing the dumbbells down back at your neck as opposed to the chest. This can cause shoulder pain.
- Machine-Based Bench Press – Cable machines can give you some of the advantages of dumbbell training by allowing you unilateral training.
The Incline Dumbell Bench Press and Decline Dumbbell Bench Press can be used as substitutions as can, of course, your Barbell Bench Press. The Machine-Based Chest Press performed with cables (two handles) is another idea. For this exercise you are in a seated position and pushing out as opposed to up as you would do on the bench press.
Bench, Dumbbells, Weights
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