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  1. #1
    Registered User sonicam's Avatar
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    DB Press and Bench Press weight conversion

    This is something that I've been wondering for a while. I understand that Dumbbell Press is mainly for isolating the chest and that Bench Press hits both chest and tris hard. I've been wondering, is there an equivalent amount of weight that one should be doing on one exercise that would translate to the amount of weight to the other? For example, say I can bench 210 on Bench Press, what pound DBs should I be using for DB Press to get the same intensity?

    I know that adding the weight of the two dumbbells doesn't equal your best weight on the bench press so that's out.

    For a real life example, I've been stuck at ~70 lbs with DB Press but for Bench Press I cap at around 180-200 (220 is my 1 rep max when I last tested). Is this an ok ratio? If not, what should I be focusing on? Thanks. Sorry if this is a silly question.
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    'Defiant to Injuries' Ironlife's Avatar
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    No, good question,

    i do around 190lbs for 10 reps on the flat bench but the funny thing is i only do 65s on the flat dumbell bench for 10 reps..means nothing i believe.
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  3. #3
    Registered User sonicam's Avatar
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    Ah ok, I guess they are quite different. Thanks!
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    Smile

    I don't think there is much of a connection to be made between db press and bb press. I rep 275lbs 8-10 X on bb bench and 105s 8-10 X on db press. Yet I prefer the db press, isolates chest more I believe...
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  5. #5
    <3 2 Deadlift BRC1989's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonicam View Post

    For a real life example, I've been stuck at ~70 lbs with DB Press but for Bench Press I cap at around 180-200 (220 is my 1 rep max when I last tested). Is this an ok ratio? If not, what should I be focusing on? Thanks. Sorry if this is a silly question.
    Thats around where I'm at I'd say. I don't know how many reps you do with your sets but i do a 5x5 for bench and on barbell flat bench i end with 190 and with dumbells I'll end with 85's, though I have gotten 85's up 7 times on the last set two weeks ago. But it really varies from person to person.
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  6. #6
    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonicam View Post
    This is something that I've been wondering for a while. I understand that Dumbbell Press is mainly for isolating the chest and that Bench Press hits both chest and tris hard. I've been wondering, is there an equivalent amount of weight that one should be doing on one exercise that would translate to the amount of weight to the other? For example, say I can bench 210 on Bench Press, what pound DBs should I be using for DB Press to get the same intensity?

    I know that adding the weight of the two dumbbells doesn't equal your best weight on the bench press so that's out.

    For a real life example, I've been stuck at ~70 lbs with DB Press but for Bench Press I cap at around 180-200 (220 is my 1 rep max when I last tested). Is this an ok ratio? If not, what should I be focusing on? Thanks. Sorry if this is a silly question.
    There is no fixed ratio.

    DB press and BB press work the same muscles, just through a different range of motion and a different practical resistance curve.
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  7. #7
    Goats and Schmoes wood.aaronj's Avatar
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    Alot of people who have a big gap between the amount they BB bench press and the total amount of weight they can DB press (two 50's = 100 lbs.) are guys who probably bounce the bar off their chest or otherwise use poor form. If you can BB bench 375 and only DB bench with 110's, there's another explanation. I think the consensus is that your combined weight on DB bench press should be about 80% of what you do on BB bench.

    190 x 0.8 = 152/2 = 76 lbs.

    So you doing 70's on DB bench is pretty close to where you should be.
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  8. #8
    Back.....Again JustinSane110's Avatar
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    I'm a little backwards when it comes to BB vs. DB bench, I can knock out about 8-10 with 125lb DB's on a 4th set but can barely get 8-10 with 245 on BB bench.
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  9. #9
    Registered User machine125's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JustinSane110 View Post
    I'm a little backwards when it comes to BB vs. DB bench, I can knock out about 8-10 with 125lb DB's on a 4th set but can barely get 8-10 with 245 on BB bench.
    I think there has a lot to do with the persons stabilizer muscles and their range of motion. i'm not expert though its just a thought.
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  10. #10
    Training For Chest Hair rdferguson's Avatar
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    I've found it tends to work out that each DB weighs ~1/3 of the bench press weight. So if you bench 135, you'd DB bench ~45's, if you bench 180, you'd DB bench ~60's, etc.
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  11. #11
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    I can do 110 pounders for 8-10reps on dumbells and 275lbs for 8-10reps on barbells. So that 80% thing works out for me.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by machine125 View Post
    I think there has a lot to do with the persons stabilizer muscles and their range of motion. i'm not expert though its just a thought.
    Interesting. Im assuming this is just because im a girl... But i can do 35# db for 10 reps and i can only do 75# max for bench press. Thats completely opposite of what you guys are doing.
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  13. #13
    Speedcubing Powerlifter That70sShowDude's Avatar
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    The ratio is really different for everybody. On the rare occasion, people will have a greater dumbbell bench than barbell bench. (If you add the 2 dumbbells together)
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  14. #14
    Registered User Sprog's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by That70sShowDude View Post
    The ratio is really different for everybody. On the rare occasion, people will have a greater dumbbell bench than barbell bench. (If you add the 2 dumbbells together)
    luckily for me i am one of those rare people i find it easier to bench 100lb dbs than benching 200lb on the barbell i can rep 10 with the dbs on a good day and get 8 with barbell.
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    Originally Posted by Ironlife View Post
    No, good question,

    i do around 190lbs for 10 reps on the flat bench but the funny thing is i only do 65s on the flat dumbell bench for 10 reps..means nothing i believe.
    Strange... I tend to DB press almost as much as BB. and i don't even do it that often. I can DB press 70's for 5, but i can only BB press 135 for 10. That means my DB press is not that far away from yours, but your BB bench is miles away.

    I wonder why this is?
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    'Defiant to Injuries' Ironlife's Avatar
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    Damn i have come a long way in strength since then ^^ haha
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    Registered User TheBroBrah's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ironlife View Post
    Damn i have come a long way in strength since then ^^ haha
    Oh dang, didn't notice how old the post was lmao.
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    Registered User etkillah's Avatar
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    ive seen this question asked and answered many times, any the only right answer is thats its different for everyone. Some people are better at barbells and some dumbells.

    My flat bench is around 240 max, 225 for 4 reps, 185 for 12 reps

    My flat dumbells is 95 x 4, 85 x 8, 75 x 14, everyonce in a while ill go up to the 100's if I have a spotter for a few forced reps.
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  19. #19
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    There is no general conversion between DB and BB that works for everyone. The conversion rate is specific to each individual and depends on severel factors, mostly what lift the individual focuses on more and emphasizes. For some people, their DB press is 80% of their BB bench, for others 90 and some can even DB bench more than BB bench.

    For example, last time I BB benched about 2 months ago, I could only get 225 for a few reps, which is very little when you consider I can Incline Dumbbell Press 120 lbs dumbbells for 4 reps with full ROM.
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    Stupid questions

    Exactly how is db press isolating your chest more then bb press
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    db press causes the pecs to work harder? haha i got no clue
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  22. #22
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    From my personal experience: DB is 90% of bench divided by two.

    Example: My 5 rep max for bench is 205. Then my 5 rep max for DB would be 90(205 x .9 divided by 2). This is what I have found to work for me. May be different for others though.
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