5 reasons to use dumbbells when bench pressing

Single barbells are a good way to work out, but for many, using dumbbells is simply a better way to develop upper-body strength

Stock image. Ivan Samkov (Pexels)

Of all the questions that can be asked to measure one’s physical strength, this one might be the most common: “How much can you bench?”

Of course, that is in reference to how much weight a person can bench press with a traditional barbell, which is the signature measuring stick of how strong someone is physically.

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But for some, there’s actually a better way to become stronger while on a bench.

Instead of using a single barbell, there are advantages to using dumbbells to develop chest strength.

Here are five ways using dumbbells for bench pressing can be more beneficial than a barbell.

1. Dumbbells can increase your range of motion.

When bench pressing a barbell, your hands are usually locked into a single position and you can’t move your arms in a full range of motion. Bench pressing with dumbbells requires use of both hands and arms, which creates more of a full extension and range of motion, according to Ironmaster. This can be better for development because more muscles are used.

2. Dumbbells are better for symmetrical development.

When bench pressing with a barbell, it’s easy to get off-balance and favor one side when trying to push the weight up. With dumbbells, each arm equally is needed to lift the weight, which is better for balanced development.

3. Distribution of muscular tension can be better with dumbbells.

While it’s easy to slide hands and distribute muscular tension to other muscle groups beside the chest when using a barbell, using dumbbells can help keep more concentrated tension in chest muscles because you have more control over the motion of your arms, which keeps movements in front of your body and not outward.

4. There’s less need of a spotter with dumbbells.

It’s always a good idea to use a spotter with a barbell and dumbbells when trying to lift heavier weights, but the one advantage of using dumbbells is that if you get in trouble and can’t push up the weight, you can just let go of the weights and drop them to the side.

5. There’s easier setup and cleanup with dumbbells.

It can take a lot less time to find a bench and start working out with dumbbells, rather than taking a couple of minutes to put all the weight plates on a barbell. The same logic applies when you are done and have to put the weights away.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.