Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press

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    Jun 07, 2007 8:20 PM GMT
    Hey Guys (and possible gals),

    I was noticing something at the gym last night that kind of intrigued me. I was watching a guy do a dumbbell bench press alternating the weights, left then right and so on. I was wondering if this was more beneficial than doing it regular style (both weights at the same time) It seems to me your arms would fatigue faster because you would have to hold the weights longer but it would so require you to use your core more because you have to balance.

    On that note, I have also seen a guy do one weight, one side at a time while doing a chest press. The guy I saw do it had a rockin body and he would use the other hand to balance himself on his chest. He would do one set on one side and alternate to the other.

    Do you think any of these really have a point or is it just a waste of time?

    -T


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    Jun 09, 2007 9:22 AM GMT
    It can be, cause You are concentrating on one part at a time. With a reg, I'm asuming barbell, you have the whole wieght at once, and you may left with one side more than the other. With the alternating, you can focu on one side, use that strength to that one side, and then alternate. You even out your work out.
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    Jun 09, 2007 10:47 PM GMT
    I see this sort of thing from time to time - and don't recommend it for the following reasons - but I'd be happy to hear arguments to the contrary:

    1) The dumbbell not being pressed is either held at the lower (stretched out) position or in a fully extended (arms locked) position. Neither is particularly valuable in exercise terms, as in one case mechanical limits are taking some of the stress, in the other the weight is essentially balanced on the shoulder. In either case, the chest is resting during the set, which is not optimal.

    2) The accelerations cause asymmetric loads torquing the spine, as the legs are stablizing the pelvis, and torgue under load is something I like to avoid, especially with older clients.

    3) Stabilizing the rest of the body, apart from the question of asymmetric load, causes a diversion of motor energy to parts of the body which are not the focus of the exercise. Motor energy is a limited resource, and contraction of the targeted muscles will be reduced slightly if this energy must be diverted to other parts of the body. Another example of this is the person who contorts their face during reps - just getting them to relax the face can add 1 or 2 reps to their max lift in some circumstances.

    Comments?
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    Jun 09, 2007 11:15 PM GMT
    Agree.

    I an see someone with severe rotation of the thoracic and cervical spine doing this, unless youare not doing any amount of weights at all, which then I am not sure what the point of doing this inthe first place.

    This is potentially even worse then doing single arm over head raises, which I hve seen some try to do inthe gym.

    There is a reason why people in Halo neck fixtures are not allowed to do any asymetrical loading of the upper extremeities. You will see people with thickend neck musculature when doing any upper extremity work. The reason is co-contraction of the neck and thoracic spine musculature to stablize the motion (you do not have the core that high up...) With asymetrical loading, youare basically doing aysemtrical isometric rotation and side bending of the spine in the adjacent area. With Halo fixurres, you will just exacerbate the fracture...
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    Jun 10, 2007 1:49 AM GMT
    Yeah, I agree. Although some single sided, alternating training can be valuable for specific purposes, your body is just in far too much of a compromising position laying on a thin bench with two heavy weights poised on either side in this case.

    In addition to the points that Joey made, keep in mind that you're keeping what is probably a large weight locked in a freestanding position in your opposing hand. This puts an enormous load on your shoulder as your deltoids begin to tire and give out. It would be very easy for you to unintentionally blow out your shoulder in this type of scenario with the right amount of weight on the non-working arm.

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    Jun 10, 2007 1:02 PM GMT
    My trainer has me do alternating presses for pecs and shoulders once in a while, just to shake up the routine. They're always done with much lighter dumbbells than what I use for regular presses.