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Dumbbell Bench Press - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Chest
Secondary Muscles Worked: Shoulders and Triceps

The benefit of using dumbbells for bench press exercises is the greater range of motion they provide. Targeting the middle and outer pecs, shoulders and triceps, the aim of the Dumbbell Bench Press is to develop mass and strength. Another benefit of using dumbells for this exercise is that stabilizer muscles in the shoulder are also activated in order to balance and coordinate the separate weights.

Dumbbell Bench Press - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Make contact on a flat bench, ensuring that your sacrum, head and shoulder blade make firm contact with the bench, and your feet are firmly on the floor. Maintain the natural arch in your lower spine.
  • Pull the shoulder blades tightly together and keep them there throughout the movement.
  • Pick up each dumbbell, and rest them on each respective knee.
  • In readiness for the exercise, kick up the right knee to help you lift the weight and do the same with the left as you lie down on the bench.
  • Holding the weights straight up overhead, turn the dumbbells so that your palms face forward.
  • Bend the elbows, using a controlled motion, lowering the weights, with your arms going to about 90 degrees from the body or parallel to the ground, feeling the muscles stretch.
  • At this point lift the weights back to the starting point, contracting the chest.
  • Repeat for the prescribed amount of repetitions.
  • The eccentric (down-phase) should be twice as long as the concentric (up-phase)

Dumbbell Bench Press - Tips & Safety

  • Use conservative weights initially with this exercise to get a feel for doing it correctly.
  • Maintain control of the moment throughout.
  • Ensure that the shoulders are not rotated throughout this exercise.
  • On completion, do not drop the weights to your side in a lying position as this can put you at risk of rotator cuff injuries.

Dumbbell Bench Press - Alternatives

  • Try this exercise with palms facing each other in the starting position and twisting on the eccentric (down-phase) so that you end up with palms facing forwards at the bottom of the movement.
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