Now that we’ve mastered the basics of the dumbell bench press thanks to Joe and Hide, it’s time to talk warm-up sets and mind-muscle connection with Neil Hill and Flex Lewis –
Warm-up sets are a great opportunity to focus on the movement before you give 110% in the working phase of the exercise.
Neil’s point about stopping short at the bottom of the movement (with the dumbbells 3-5 cm above your chest) is a good tip if you want to keep the load off your shoulders and zone in on your chest. And, as Flex does in the clip, if you want to develop the upper chest you can achieve this by performing the exercise on an inclined bench.
Chest flyes (6m06s in the clip) are an opportunity to work the pectorals from a different angle, and Neil’s teaching points about keeping your knuckles parallel and not going too deep, are sound advice.
Also, I like their addition of machine chest presses (9m24s in the clip) to close out the sequence. Your chest will be fatigued from the dumbbell moves, but there’ll still be some fuel left somewhere in the tank and a machine will make it a bit easier on your body, while still extracting the best of what’s left in your pecs.
Have fun with it : )
Ok, now that we know a smart way to pick up dumbbells, let’s head over to Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach, and do some bench pressing with Joe Tong and Hidetada Yamagishi.
As Joe points out in the clip, there is a lot of scope with the dumbbell chest press to execute the exercise in relative comfort by adjusting the position of your hands and elbows. With heavier weights, I really notice discomfort in my left shoulder if I keep the dumbbells horizontal at the bottom of the exercise. To fix this, I tilt the dumbbells slightly towards the chest, which reduces the stress on the shoulder.
Another benefit of using dumbells over a bar is that the separate weights help to balance your strength gains on your left and right sides, which is beneficial to posture. Finally, please note Joe’s closing comment – “make sure that you have a weight that you can control – don’t let the weight control you.”
If you are unsure about any strength-training exercise, start light and rehearse the technique.