How To Dumbbell Bench Press: The Ultimate Guide For Everyone

By Marshall Evans | Exercises & Tips

Aug 09

It is the fact that in weight training, most people are more familiar with the barbell bench press than the dumbbell bench press. However, it doesn’t mean that the barbell bench press is better than the other. Actually, training with dumbbells is much more beneficial for your muscle and strength than you thought. That’s why in this article, I’ll share with you how to dumbbell bench press properly.

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What Do You Need?

To be honest, this is the primary reason why I prefer the dumbbell bench press than the barbell bench press. Everything you need is just a couple of dumbbells which is heavy enough for you and a weight bench.

In this case, an adjustable bench with several angle adjustments will be your best bet. This is because you don’t have to go anywhere to train different parts of your chest muscles. Besides, elbow compression sleeves are also a necessary accessory for you to prevent elbow injury from lifting heavy weights.

How To Do It

There are 4 main steps​

STEP 1: GET INTO POSITION


This is the hardest of doing the dumbbell bench press. To be honest, if you are a beginner or you just want to lift light weights, then it’s not really challenging. However, if you believe in heavy lifting or a serious lifter, then you may need some techniques for this exercise.

1. Grab the dumbbells from the rack or ground while keeping a neutral spine just like you’re performing the deadlift.

2. Slowly move to the front of the weight bench

3. Place the bottom of the dumbbells on top of your thighs

4. Sit down onto the weight bench

5. Raise your knees at the same time and ascend to the bench

6. Retract your shoulder blades, tilt your chin toward your chest, arch your back a little, and keep your wrists straight.

STEP 2: PUSH STRAIGHT UP


1. Once in position, take a deep breath, hold it and press the dumbbells straight up so your arms are directly over the shoulders.

2. At the top of the movement, try to squeeze your chest as hard as you can.

3. Breathe out fast and do not raise your shoulders blade off the weight bench or lock your elbows.

STEP 3: LOWER THE DUMBELLS ALL THE WAYS DOWN


1. As the weights begin to do down, slowly breathe in so you can get ready for the next rep.

2. Slowly lower the weights under control and make sure lowering the dumbbells takes twice longer as long as pushing them.

3. Do not flare out your elbows or bring the weights down over your shoulders or upper part of your body. This way, you can bring your whole chest into the movement. Also, you can avoid putting a lot of unnecessary stress on your rotator cuff.

4. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should slightly below your shoulder.

STEP 3: LOWER THE DUMBELLS ALL THE WAYS DOWN


If you want to know how to dumbbell bench press, learning how to push or get into position is not enough. Actually, you also need to master the technique of fishing a dumbbell bench press set. And trust me, sometimes, it is very challenging.

1. Repeat the movement for your intended amount of repetitions.

2. When you’ve done, try not to drop the dumbbells. Or else, you may hurt the rotator cuff in your shoulders and someone else around.

3. Lift your both legs bending at the knees and let the bottom part of the dumbbells touch your thighs.

4. Simultaneously push up your upper body and kick forward to get back to the sitting position.

5. With both dumbbells on top of your thighs, stand up and put them back on the dumbbell rack.

You can watch this video for more details.

Tips For The Perfect Dumbbell Chest Press

1. Choose The Right Weight

Do not contort your body in order to lift the weight. Instead, only lift as much weight as you are able to handle while you still can maintain good form.

2. Don’t Let The Dumbbells Touch Each Other

At the top of the movement, try not to let the dumbbells touch each other. Just make sure they form a triangular motion so you can maintain chest muscle tension.

3. Use Deadlift Techniques For Heavy Dumbbells

The point is even if you know how to dumbbell bench press properly, you may still have difficulties with heavy dumbbells. In fact, it’s a bad idea to grab heavy dumbbells and pick them up like you usually do with light dumbbells. This will probably make you exhausted right after you lie on the bench.

Therefore, you should place the dumbbells in front of the bench, get them squared off and keep your feet underneath the dumbbells. Now, keep your head and back neutral, then use hip hinge technique to lift the dumbbells just like you’re doing a deadlift. Afterwards, put the dumbbells high on your thighs, sit down on the bench, kick them up one by one and lie back.

 4. Avoid Locking Out Your Elbows

Remember to press the dumbbells all the way up but do not lock out your elbows entirely. This way you can maintain more chest muscle tension and more importantly, preventing elbow injury.

5. Do Not Arch Your Back Excessively

Some many lifters out there arch their back too much so they can lift heavy weights. Trust me, this is unnecessarily dangerous and can cause extreme extension to your spine. Actually, this is more common with the barbell bench press but you still need to know to avoid lower back pain. Just retract your shoulder blades and arch your back enough for you to fully activate your chest muscles.

6. Keep Your Feet Flat On The Floor Instead of Resting Them On the Bench 

This way, you can balance your whole body better, and this is especially important when lifting heavy weights. Nobody wants to be unstable and fall off the weight bench with those heavy weights around, right?

7. Do Not Drop The Dumbbells Freely

As mentioned above, dropping the dumbbells onto the ground may cause injury if there are people around. Also, this may cause shoulder joint injury if you don’t have any control over the dumbbells. However, in case you have to do it, just do it properly.In my experiences, before you drop, make sure the handles of the dumbbells are parallel to your body. Then gently extend your biceps until the dumbbells touch the ground.

​In my experiences, when you’re stuck with 2 heavy dumbbells, make sure they are close to your chest and parallel to each other. Bring your feet up, kick forward and at the same time, push your upper body just a little bit. Once, your body is off the bench, drop the dumbbells.

Variations

1. Rotational dumbbell bench press

If you want to try something new and different from the traditional dumbbell bench press, here is another choice. Actually, the only difference between the traditional dumbbell bench press and this one is the elbow position.

With this exercise, when descending, just twist your elbows a little so that your palms face each other. Then push the dumbbells all the way up and twist your elbows to make your palms face away from each other.

2. Neutral grip dumbbell bench press

Are you looking for a dumbbell bench press variation which can promote more tricep recruitment? Well, if so, this is the right option for you. Everything you need to do is keep your palms facing each other with the elbows close to your body.

3. Alternating dumbbell chest press

This exercise helps you promote stability and build endurance in your chest, shoulder and triceps muscles. For anyone who plays football, basketball or baseball, their muscles usually start to fatigue due to repetitive motion, especially late game. That’s why this alternating dumbbell chest press is beneficial.

It’s just like the traditional dumbbell chest press, but you don’t lift both dumbbells at the same time. Instead, you only press one dumbbell while fully extend the other arm. Once the dumbbells are both over your chest, slowly lower the other. Importantly, make sure both of your arms lift the same amount of repetitions. Keep going like that until you reach the intended amount of repetitions.

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About the Author

Hello everyone, I’m Marshall Evans and welcome to AestheticGuys.com. I love fitness so I spent years searching for training and nutrition tips to get in shape. I really want to share my experiences and all my tips with anyone who cares about health and fitness, that’s why I started AestheticGuys.com in 2017. Through the blog, I will have a chance to write about everything I want to share with you guys to make you love fitness more and help you get an aesthetic body.