ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dumbbell Bench press vs. Barbell Bench Press

Updated on January 12, 2014

Many beginners ask which is more effective for the bench press, the dumbbell or the barbell. In this article, we have a look at the pros and cons of each weight so you can make better decisions over our workout routines. For some people, they only have a choice of using one or the other because they are working out at home or at the home gym. If you are in such a scenario, there is nothing to worry. In the end, both of them are effective in helping you build your chest muscles. There are only a few minor differences that you have to consider between the two.

Differences in strength

If you try both, you will notice there is a slight difference in the amount of weight you can carry. In general, people are able to use a heavier load with a barbell, than with a dumbbell. However, the difference isn't significantly big so it isn't something to be too worried about. If your objective is to build a lot of muscle mass, barbells may have a slight advantage because you can push yourself harder by lifting greater weights. However, as you will find out later, there are certain advantages dumbbells have that will also benefit your body.

Differences in balance

This is when the dumbbell comes in handy. When you use a barbell for the first time, there will be occasions when one side of the barbell will become slanted because it's natural for your stronger arm to try and carry more of the weight. Therefore, if you are a beginner, it is extremely useful to dumbbell bench presses because each arm would then be independent of each other.

Secondary muscles

The bench press doesn't just work your pectoral muscles. It also works other muscles along your arm such as the biceps and triceps. When it comes to barbell bench presses, you work your triceps a little harder. When it comes to dumbbell bench presses, you work your biceps a little harder. Therefore, if you want to lift your maximum weight when you do bicep exercises such as the bicep curl, it is recommended that you do it on a different day.

As you can see, one does not have a significant advantage over the other. In the best case scenario, you should be utilizing both work outs to build your chest muscles. The barbell bench press can be seen as a way to build your muscle strength, while the dumbbell bench press can be seen as a way to tone your chest muscles. If you integrate both exercises to your routine, you will get nicely defined chest muscles in no time.

Doing bench presses for the first time? Here are some tips you should follow in order to make the most of this great exercise. First, find a reliable partner who can spot you. Not only does your partner become a safety net, he or she can also become a motivational partner by getting you to push beyond your limits. Another important tip is to work on your form first. It doesn't matter if you are pushing the heaviest weights in the world. If you aren't doing it correctly, you aren't getting the most effective workout and you are increasing the risks of injury. So how do you properly do a bench press? Here are some things to keep in mind. First, try and keep your chest up throughout the whole routine. It is also important to keep a tight grip on the weight. The tighter the grip, the more tension there is towards the lower arms and chest. If you need to see it visually, there are plenty of great bench press videos you can find online where bodybuilding professionals explain how a bench press is done.

If you can't find someone to spot you, use a Smith machine. It is a lot safer than doing normal bench presses on your own. Most gyms have a Smith machine. If you have your own personal gym at home, it is a machine worth investing in. The barbell is fixed onto a steel rail so there is no risk of the barbell moving forwards or backwards. The Smith machine allows you to do a whole variety of strength exercises. For example, you can use it to work your shoulder muscles. As of now, the Smith machine provides the safest way for a person to work with their maximum weight.

Do you use the barbell or the dumbbell bench press?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I use dumbbell for bench press and at first it was quite unbalanced. But after some time I got used to it.