Bench fears

  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Mar 26, 2012 9:12 PM GMT
    I tried to get this answered in another thread. Not sure if it was so I'll ask again. Is bench press essential for the chest? Cant all the same moves be done with dumbells? I'm toned, not strong, so benching really is kind of a nightmare.
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    Mar 26, 2012 11:42 PM GMT
    No I dont subscribe that it is. I exercise with Total Gym 1500 and free weights but have no bench and I think Im OK.
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    Mar 27, 2012 12:29 AM GMT
    Barbells are best for achieving a balanced and more or less even distribution of force when pressing the weight.

    Dumbells can be substituted in place of a barbell - but then you have to deal with two more or less independently moving objects, especially when you get into the 80lb+ dumbell range; your dominant arm will tend to bias your movements a bit if that is the primary or only form of resistance you are providing for your chest development.

    Bench Presses are a core staple of chest development.
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    Mar 27, 2012 1:36 AM GMT
    Nothing to fear with machine flat, incline and decline benches. In most gyms you can just wheel an adjustable bench to a smith machine and bench away.

    Smith machine benches give you the confidence to press heavier weight, but there is something to be said for the benefits that the instability of barbells and dumbells can provide. My favorite substitute for both is a bench machine that allows you to work each arm independently (like dumbells), safely offering the same benefits, including the ability to load a bit more weight on your weaker side (if you have one) without the fear of losing control:

    2vbn6ki.jpg

    In order of frequency of use for chest I use:

    - independent-arm bench machines (most)
    - smith machines
    - free weight barbells
    - free weight dumbells (least)

    For the sake of mixing things up, or depending on which equipment is being used by others at the time, I occasionally completely flip that order.
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    Mar 27, 2012 1:43 AM GMT
    There are tons of chest exercises, so I suppose if you can keep up the intensity and effort you can overcome that.

    I think not having the BP as part of your chest building will be severely limiting though. I definitely didn't start to have any serious development until I started using it frequently.

    You mention strength as an issue. You can't lift a 45lb bar? That's where you start and then work up. I speak from experience. I remember oggling the guys that did 135 when I could only do the bar and a few years later I'm getting ogled for doing 225 at my size icon_razz.gif

    I don't' know how to explain it exactly, but the positioning of dumbbells at much higher weights is very problematic. You need the stability and positioning of the bar to help. I can do 225 on BP with good form.. but if you want me to do that with two 112lb dumbbells I'm going to have serious problems and probably tear some tendons.

    All the equipment has its place, ignoring something as central as the bench press wont' come without some costs.


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    Mar 27, 2012 2:00 AM GMT
    TheBizMan saidI tried to get this answered in another thread. Not sure if it was so I'll ask again. Is bench press essential for the chest? Cant all the same moves be done with dumbells? I'm toned, not strong, so benching really is kind of a nightmare.
    This is why the bar is 45 lbs. Do the bar and work your way up slowly.
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    Mar 27, 2012 2:25 AM GMT
    icon_neutral.gif Dumbbells have their advantages, but when you start lifting bigger weights, it becomes really difficult to safely get them into the starting position. With the barbell, you just lay down under it.
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Mar 27, 2012 3:02 AM GMT
    Today I went for the bench press, surprisingly I could do a little more than the bar. 30lbs on each side for a total of 105lbs(?). I actually kinda liked it. Thanks for the advice and workout suggestions everyone.
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    Mar 28, 2012 1:49 AM GMT
    TheBizMan saidToday I went for the bench press, surprisingly I could do a little more than the bar. 30lbs on each side for a total of 105lbs(?). I actually kinda liked it. Thanks for the advice and workout suggestions everyone.


    Yep that 105lbs.
    Keep adding a bit each time even if its 2.5lbs. All adds up after awhile and you might be surprise how much you can bench after a few weeks.
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    Mar 28, 2012 2:05 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidicon_neutral.gif Dumbbells have their advantages, but when you start lifting bigger weights, it becomes really difficult to safely get them into the starting position. With the barbell, you just lay down under it.


    True that; if a dumbbell gets away from you at the wrong time you can really hurt yourself.

    I had trouble getting into position doing dumbbell inclines and found that using a stability ball as a bench helped. I could hug the dumbbells to my chest and roll into position vs. thudding onto my back and then having to hoist them. I had to drop the weight a bit at first until I was good at stabilizing my core, but once I could do it, I really liked it. When I went back to barbells on a flat bench I was much steadier and more confident with that.
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    Mar 28, 2012 2:05 AM GMT
    If you want any result, I highly recommend doing bench presses. I used to be intimidated by them as well (& still am a little), but they are key to any chest work-out regimen.