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4 Performance Benefits of the Dumbbell Bench Press

Bench presses help you build a strong chest, and the dumbbell bench press offers some benefits not available with other chest exercises. You challenge the muscles of the chest and shoulders, and dumbbells allow greater range of movement and activate numerous stabilizing muscles.

1. Unilateral dumbbell bench pressing closely simulates real-world athletic performance.

Most sport actions are performed unilaterally—swimmers pull one stroke at a time, ball players push off with one hand, and so on. When the Bench Press is performed bilaterally in a seated position, the core has been shown to be less engaged than it is when you are standing. Moving from the Barbell Bench to the Dumbbell Bench will help recruit your trunk and stabilizer muscles, while also helping you bridge the gap between the movement in the gym and the action you want to achieve on the playing field.
2. You can increase your range of motion.

To improve your Bench Press and performance, range of motion is critical. One limiting factor of the traditional Barbell Bench Press is a restricted range of motion, depending on the shoulder width of the athlete. Researchers found that when participants used dumbbells instead of a barbell, they achieved a greater range of motion during the bench pressing movement. Which, if you are wanting to train the full of range of motion of the movement, is helpful to know.

 3. Free Weights

Using dumbbells for the chest press requires you to engage a greater number of muscles than you engage using a chest press machine. In a machine-based chest press, the primary mover is the pectorals alone. Your triceps and shoulders act only as stabilizers. Using dumbbells better simulates real-life lifting and promotes whole-body stabilization.


4. Compared with Barbells

The dumbbell chest press activates the lower fibers of the chest press better than a barbell press, according to a study sponsored by “Muscle and Fitness” magazine. When researchers measured the muscle activation of 10 athletes during each exercise, they found the barbell press to be more effective at working the upper chest muscles and the fronts of the shoulders. The lower pecs get a better workout with the dumbbell press because your hands are free to move across your body when you use dumbbells, rather than remaining in a fixed position on a bar as in the barbell press. Using dumbbells also forces each side of your body to bear equal weight -- your dominant side cannot compensate for the weaker side as with a barbell press.