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  1. #1
    Registered User -holdup-'s Avatar
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    flat dumbell press vs. flat barbell bench press

    Hi everyone, im knew to this forum and bodybuilding in general. Ive recently started lifting weights (im 17yrs old) and different people have given me differing views relating to the best exercises to build a nice looking chest. Im not aiming to bodybuild professionally, and to be honest my top priority isnt strength but rather looks (please dont blast me for being shallow or whatnot lol). What I would like to know is which do u think is better to build a good looking chest, flat dumbell presses or flat barbell bench press? Ive also been told that dumbell flies are the best exercise for shaping the chest, is this true? Secondly, is it necessary to work our the lower part of my body (ie legs) even though my primary concern is upper body/arm growth?? Lastly, do u think that by triaing 5 times a week with this prgram, will i see gains or do u think its likely that ill be overtraining my body and not allowing sufficient time for rest and growth.
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    If not, suggestions would very helpful.
    thanks...
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  2. #2
    HERE WE GO STEELERS!!!!!! kethnaab's Avatar
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    the bar has overall greater growth potential. however, some people don't develop pectorally as well, so to speak, with the bar.

    can't go wrong with either if you learn to focus on working the muscle rather than just moving the weight.
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    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Hi everyone, im knew to this forum and bodybuilding in general. Ive recently started lifting weights (im 17yrs old) and different people have given me differing views relating to the best exercises to build a nice looking chest. Im not aiming to bodybuild professionally, and to be honest my top priority isnt strength but rather looks (please dont blast me for being shallow or whatnot lol). What I would like to know is which do u think is better to build a good looking chest, flat dumbell presses or flat barbell bench press? Ive also been told that dumbell flies are the best exercise for shaping the chest, is this true? Secondly, is it necessary to work our the lower part of my body (ie legs) even though my primary concern is upper body/arm growth?? Lastly, do u think that by triaing 5 times a week with this prgram, will i see gains or do u think its likely that ill be overtraining my body and not allowing sufficient time for rest and growth.
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    If not, suggestions would very helpful.
    thanks...

    You will probably be over training, you should do a 3 day, or a 4 day program that rotates in 8 days.

    I'd do something like

    Mon-on
    Tue-off
    Wed-on
    Thu-off
    Fri-on
    Sat-off
    Sun-off

    Or

    1-on
    2-off
    3-on
    4-off
    5-on
    6-off
    7-on
    8-off
    and rotate

    I personally perfer two rest days at the end of the week
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  4. #4
    flex Magazine June 2008 spirit3530's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Lastly, do u think that by triaing 5 times a week with this prgram, will i see gains or do u think its likely that ill be overtraining my body and not allowing sufficient time for rest and growth.
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    If not, suggestions would very helpful.
    thanks...
    I think you are working you arms TOO much. Just make it simple and do 3 full body routines. That way you get to play with your arms every workout. yes you have to deadlift and squat if you want to grow faster. No 15inch arms aren't monster guns. Yes you need to eat more. No your arms aren't a weak point. Yes I am right because you aren't bodybuilding.
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  5. #5
    south philly expatriate Helis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Im not aiming to bodybuild professionally, and to be honest my top priority isnt strength but rather looks (please dont blast me for being shallow or whatnot lol).
    I find it ironic that you state here that your primary concern is looks but later comments and your program design indicate legs aren't a priority to you. Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look with a puffed up upper body and legs like a #2 pencil? I guess well proportioned muscle mass throughout the body looks ****ty these days.

    Strength should also be one of your priorities. You can't build a very impressive physique by doing flyes with 15lb hot pink rubberized dumbbells.

    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    What I would like to know is which do u think is better to build a good looking chest, flat dumbell presses or flat barbell bench press? Ive also been told that dumbell flies are the best exercise for shaping the chest, is this true?
    Muscle shape is determined by genetics. To develop your chest both dumbbell and barbell bench presses are excellent and I'm sure you'll find occassion to use both during your training. Incline presses are also good, again both with dumbbells and barbells.
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    Registered User NathanBB's Avatar
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    When I started out (i'm by no means a professioal) but I had the following routine and really noticed my chest to increase and become more solid. I found it on this site somewhere...

    Bench Press (with barbell)
    Incline Bench Press (with barbell)
    Dumbell Flyes
    Straight Arm Dumbell pullover

    and add a few tricep specific exercises afterwards to finish them off...

    If you're interested. I've got some spreadsheets that I use to record my progress with. Can send you them if you want. I've found them to be quite helpful and i've got my entire program if you want to use it. I've done quite well with it so far...
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    Registered User -holdup-'s Avatar
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    In regards to what you said spirit, I did work out my entire body all-body workouts 3 times for about a month to get my body used to doing weights and have now been advised by the gym staff to isolate muscle groups to certain days. Additionally, point taken about the excessive arm training (y). Anyways, Ive read the same thing on many occassions and am yet to understand why squats and deadlifts allow for overall mass growth? A simple explanation would be appreciated, unlike spirit and helis' sarcasm... theres really no need id prefer some constructive criticism that is why i post for advice. As a beginner, understand that I dont quite see why legs are that important for my overall physique yet, rather than ridiculing my inexperience.
    NathanBB - Yeh i wouldnt mind seeing your program, thanx.
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    south philly expatriate Helis's Avatar
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    Sorry to have offended you. Here is what I hope is a more diplomatic response.

    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    In regards to what you said spirit, I did work out my entire body all-body workouts 3 times for about a month to get my body used to doing weights and have now been advised by the gym staff to isolate muscle groups to certain days.

    Anyways, Ive read the same thing on many occassions and am yet to understand why squats and deadlifts allow for overall mass growth? A simple explanation would be appreciated, unlike spirit and helis' sarcasm...

    As a beginner, understand that I dont quite see why legs are that important for my overall physique yet, rather than ridiculing my inexperience.
    I would be very interested to hear said gym staff's rationale for putting a novice on a split after only a month. At this point in your development, you'll probably want to stick with basic compound lifts. These lifts train your body as a system (which it is) instead of a jumble of unrelated parts (which it isn't).

    Things like squats and deadlifts work nearly every muscle in your body, either through direct loading or isometric contraction. They are also plain hard work. Doing hard work with a lot of muscle at once creates a much better anabolic response in your body than targeting a small amount of muscle, like in a biceps curls.

    Doing these kinds of basic lifts together in a full body routine really lets you cut to the chase and get results. In a split, however, there is a tendency to water down the session with repetative or useless exercises just to make the trip to the gym worth it. Maybe on "leg" day you squat, but then you have 40 more minutes to fill. So you end up doing leg presses, lunges, extensions, curls, and three different kinds of calf raises. For a beginner, most of those movements merely water down your program and suck up valuable recovery resources.

    Your stated goal is looking good, which generally means muscle hypertrophy. The thing is, hypertrophy is largely dependant on your progression in the basic compound lifts. Doing something like Mark Rippetoe's beginner program will give you a base of strength and gains in lean body mass that probably kick the **** out of most other programs.

    Once you have some experience and a well developed base of muscle mass, then you can objectively look at your body and determine what your weak points are. Maybe at that point a split will be the way to go, since you can specifically address the needs of certain muscles. But for now, concentrate on improving your basic lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, barbell row, etc) and adding weight to the bar.
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    Registered User -holdup-'s Avatar
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    lol... thanks for the diplomatic post helis. Another question, as squats shuold be done on the "legs" day, when should i be doing deadlifts ('back' day)? You wouldnt have to do 2 of the 3 major compound exercises in one session would you?
    Another thing, im slightly confused about what u said regarding movements like leg press watering down my program and wasting time. Does this apply for all isolation movements for my whole body at this stage? You dont think i should be doing such isolation movement at all?
    Lastly, do you have a link to that prgram you mentioned.
    The help is much appreciated. Thanx.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Uriah37's Avatar
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    When i first began working out at I was also 17, I was real thin to start, a soccer player, no mass, 127 lbs at 5'11, i ONLY did BB for about the first year and i got about 40 lbs of gains on the bar, so going from 95 to 135 on bench felt good especiallt b/c every other part of me was developing well. But then i slowed in my progress, hit a wall. Then i saw some of the seniors doing DB presses and i decided to try it. 35 lbs DB was all i could do! I felt like a weakling but new i had to start somewhere. I went thru weight in DBs so much faster, my chest popped out and although at first i was mixing it up DB and BB on chest day I soon was doing only DB's. This is not good however. I hear people say taht you should be able to do around 35 pounds more on BB press. I got to where i was doing 80lbs DB's in 6 months and when i finally tried a flat agian i was only doing 150. I did more w/ DB then BB! Moral is, do both, switch em up, start with BB one day and DB the next chest day. DB takes ALOT of stabilizing muscles in the shoulder and tricep and back, which is why it is harder at first, but never put one aside completely do both consistently and evenly. Overall i do like DB alot more but you want to be well rounded adn maybe it was just me that finally got size on my chest with DB. It could have been the timing or the idea of new workout that got my intensity up.
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  11. #11
    south philly expatriate Helis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Another question, as squats shuold be done on the "legs" day, when should i be doing deadlifts ('back' day)? You wouldnt have to do 2 of the 3 major compound exercises in one session would you?
    Right, most folks put deadlifts with other back exercises in split-based programs. In my current program, I do 3 major compound movements every session. When I first read about that particular program, all I knew about was what I read in muscle mags. So I was like "Squat, deadlift, and press? In the same day? Are you effin crazy?"

    But what you come to realize is that you have plenty of energy to do all those lifts together, several times a week, if you cut out all the frivolous stuff.

    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Another thing, im slightly confused about what u said regarding movements like leg press watering down my program and wasting time. Does this apply for all isolation movements for my whole body at this stage? You dont think i should be doing such isolation movement at all?
    Not all isolation movements are a waste of time. But they should always be secondary to basic compound lifts. For instance, today my session calls for heavy overhead presses to hit the delts. After those, there is really no reason for me to do some front raises, lateral raises, and reverse pec deck. I'm looking to progressively overload the delts, not totally blow them up and grind them down to the bone.

    Down the road when I'm happy with the amount of mass I have, maybe I look and say "hey, my rear delts are a little under-developed". At that point I will address them through isolation movements. Until that happens though, I'm far more concerned with overall progress and increasing my core lifts. It is worth noting that, like others doing 5x5-style programs, I have increased measurements of body parts that receive no direct work. Therefore I'm not terribly worried about "lagging" parts that may or may not appear way down the road.


    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    Lastly, do you have a link to that prgram you mentioned.
    The help is much appreciated. Thanx.
    Glad I could help. Here is a link to a variation of Rippetoe's program, posted by kethnaab, who is very knowledgable. http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=750551
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    flex Magazine June 2008 spirit3530's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -holdup-
    A simple explanation would be appreciated, unlike spirit and helis' sarcasm... theres really no need id prefer some constructive criticism that is why i post for advice. As a beginner, understand that I dont quite see why legs are that important for my overall physique yet, rather than ridiculing my inexperience.

    I wasn't being sarcastic, I was being real. After reading post after post on the same topic its quite annoying sometimes. You asked the question I gave you an answer. You want me to make it simpler.


    use the search button
    click search then type your topic
    then click go.

    You created a program that is not going to give you the results you want. You are new I understand that. You can either listen to the experience of others that have made the mistakes you are making and about to make or read everything you can to learn about nurtition and how to shape your body.
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    [QUOTE=-holdup-]lol... thanks for the diplomatic post helis. Another question, as squats shuold be done on the "legs" day, when should i be doing deadlifts ('back' day)? You wouldnt have to do 2 of the 3 major compound exercises in one session would you?
    QUOTE]


    If you're doing rippetoe or 5x5, which you should be, there are no "back" or "leg" days. Every workout is essentially a full body workout.

    What makes those programs effective is that they are NOT splits. Don't only do squats once a week on leg day, and only bench on chest day. That's just not an effective way to train if you're a beginner. I basically am too, and have gotten much, much better results training with 5x5 than with a typical 3 day split, which I did for over 2 years.

    Rippetoe and 5x5 variations don't have you doing any isolation exercises; what isos they have are minimal and optional. Also, only the last set of each exercise is with your top weight. Training that way, the workouts aren't really any harder than a typical split workout, and very doable. Get out of the mindset of annihilating one muscle group per workout with tons of different exercises to hit every head of the muscle or whatever. Squat, deadlift, bench, incline, military press, rows, dips, chins. These exercises should be 90-100% of all the sets you ever do.
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    holdup, if your question is how will you develop a bigger or more developed chest then i will tell you there are about 5000 ways this can be done. most importantly the way you eat. to answer your question about the dumbbell or barbell, for me, dumbbell has worked my inner and middle chest. but during my highschool and college years (this is really what brought out my chest) i used barball. you really have to think about what your doing though, when your doing the exercise where you feel the burn is what your working. on the barbell start outer (wide grip) and work yourself in (close grip). your going to get a nice tricep workout with inner grip. dont go so close though that your just getting a tricep workout. i hope that helped.
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    Hold up. Welcome to the site.
    I see that you are making the same ego-centric mistake that ALL OF US HERE have made when we were your age. We have all gone through it.
    You need to concentrate on the entire body and not just the upper. Yeah a good chest will help you fill out your shirts better but overall, it's not impressive to anyone. Big chests are a dime a dozen. Who cares!
    Like these guys said, legs will help you expand your ribcage and help with upper body development in the long run. I read years ago that A2G squats can increase upper body size by up to 15%. Now this might be a Weider Principle~ I hear most people don't like these principles but I think there is some truth to it.
    WORK OUT properly. Don't be some knuckle head that only wants to work out your upper body.
    I'm not trying to bash you, just telling you that when you finally come to your senses and realize that you have to work out the entire body, you will have ALOT of catching up to do!
    I'm 33 and I laugh to myself when I see these teenagers come in and only stay upfront in the gym, by the dumbells. I NEVER see them in the back of the gym where the lower body machines/racks are! LMAO.
    We're just trying to steer you in the right direction. Again, wer have all been there!
    Hope this helps.
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    Registered User -holdup-'s Avatar
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    Thanks all for the advice!!! I know better understand the importance of lower body training in building overall mass. Ive looked over the Rippetoe program and am wondering if its really possible for a beginner to do such major compund exercises all on the one day (squat, bench and deadlift).Are you sure I woudnt be straining my body too much and not allowing my muscles to recover properly in 2 days before another huge compoudn exercise filled workout??? Any help and advice is much appreciated.
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    You'll be fine. Volume is reasonable and spread out over the course of a week. Also, overtraining more of a concern to advanced trainees. In Rippetoe's own words:

    Rank novices are not strong enough to tax themselves beyond their ability to recover, and can be trained to the limit of their ability nearly every time they train.
    http://www.startingstrength.com
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    Talking Genetics

    I think your body's genetics plays a big part of which of these two exercises will hit your chest best. If you have a barrell like chest and short arms. Then dumbbells will allow for more depth in your range of motion. In turn hitting your pecs more.
    If you have long arms and flat chest. Then barbells will give you better gains. As a beginner you should try and incorperate power days for chest. Reps of 20,10,5,3,1x6 rest pause technique.

    You GOT to incline to grow a chest!
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    flat bench press, and military press will develop all around good chest and shoulders (besides rear delts).
    Screw my logs, I won't post one up until I know I'll be back in the game for sure!
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    Originally Posted by maggioracing View Post
    Hold up. Welcome to the site.
    I see that you are making the same ego-centric mistake that ALL OF US HERE have made when we were your age. We have all gone through it.
    You need to concentrate on the entire body and not just the upper. Yeah a good chest will help you fill out your shirts better but overall, it's not impressive to anyone. Big chests are a dime a dozen. Who cares!
    Like these guys said, legs will help you expand your ribcage and help with upper body development in the long run. I read years ago that A2G squats can increase upper body size by up to 15%. Now this might be a Weider Principle~ I hear most people don't like these principles but I think there is some truth to it.
    WORK OUT properly. Don't be some knuckle head that only wants to work out your upper body.
    I'm not trying to bash you, just telling you that when you finally come to your senses and realize that you have to work out the entire body, you will have ALOT of catching up to do!
    I'm 33 and I laugh to myself when I see these teenagers come in and only stay upfront in the gym, by the dumbells. I NEVER see them in the back of the gym where the lower body machines/racks are! LMAO.
    We're just trying to steer you in the right direction. Again, wer have all been there!
    Hope this helps.
    I agree with maggioracing, im in no way a professional and i haven't been doing this for a little more than 3 years, but i was one of the upper body only guys for about 2 years. have been doing legs now for over a year and with leg size came everything else. bench strength shoulder strengh and arm strenth along with size. do it right concentrate on form i hate watching people on bench with crap form or curling weights using all back. work your way up and do it right. the day i started working on my form with bench and the amount of weight was when my bench plateau was broken. i worked on my diet as well ate good foods and enough foods and im where i pretty much want to be now. that all jump started my growth. in that amount of time i gained the 15 lbs more i wanted, my old pants no longer fit well because my legs were bigger and my bench went from 225 10 reps to 245 10 reps. max went from 315 to 335 im 5'8 168lbs.
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    I like this thread so im gonna bump it.
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    Originally Posted by -holdup- View Post
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    Chest and back same day how do you do this. Bench Press is Chest and Triceps, Dumbell Flys will work Chest and Arms. You Lats you do a Row Biceps and Lats(back).

    So Monday should be Chest, Shoulders and Triceps- Then you do Military Press(Shoulders/Triceps) Bench Press(Triceps and Chest)

    Now you have three shoulder muscles so you can do Lat Pulldown or Pull Up to hit Biceps and Back Shoulders. But it should be Back and Biceps, Lat Pulldown and Seated Rows. This way you hit Lats and Biceps and back Shoulders.

    Now you can add isolation excerises like curls and skullcrusers to hit triceps and biceps. But you will over train if you do Triceps before or after Chest day since you need triceps for Bench Presses.

    I do
    Monday-Legs
    Wensday-Chest,Front Shoulders, and Triceps
    Friday- Lats,Biceps,and Back Shoulders
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    they say if you have long arms barbell is not for you and a lot of people are using barbell only because they say it the only best exercise for chest and that not true for some but not for everyone i'm 6'3ft the bar is not for me so dumbbell is my best friend.
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    Originally Posted by francois101 View Post
    they say if you have long arms barbell is not for you and a lot of people are using barbell only because they say it the only best exercise for chest and that not true for some but not for everyone i'm 6'3ft the bar is not for me so dumbbell is my best friend.
    I completely agree! I have not used a barbell for bench in years...
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    Jesus Christ let the eight year old thread die already!!!
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    Jesus Christ let the eight year old thread die already!!!
    That's funny! I didn't realize how old this thread was.. what have we learned?
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    Originally Posted by -holdup- View Post
    Hi everyone, im knew to this forum and bodybuilding in general. Ive recently started lifting weights (im 17yrs old) and different people have given me differing views relating to the best exercises to build a nice looking chest. Im not aiming to bodybuild professionally, and to be honest my top priority isnt strength but rather looks (please dont blast me for being shallow or whatnot lol). What I would like to know is which do u think is better to build a good looking chest, flat dumbell presses or flat barbell bench press? Ive also been told that dumbell flies are the best exercise for shaping the chest, is this true? Secondly, is it necessary to work our the lower part of my body (ie legs) even though my primary concern is upper body/arm growth?? Lastly, do u think that by triaing 5 times a week with this prgram, will i see gains or do u think its likely that ill be overtraining my body and not allowing sufficient time for rest and growth.
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    If not, suggestions would very helpful.
    thanks...
    If your playing a sport you need to lift legs twice a week. And secondly unless your a pure brute and can easily bench above 315 for multiple reps than DUMBBELL IS BETTER. Thats right unless your lifting a lot of serious weigh dumbbell is better. This is true because Dumbbell has a more natural movement and puts less stress on your shoulders and even builds more mass in your chest than Barbell does. Barbell has a serious risk for shoulder injury and it hurts my shoulders if I go all the way down to my chest. Also it is said what you rep on Dumbbell you can roughly do 35 pounds more on Barbell. So if you do 85 pound Dumbbell Bench you can do roughly 205 in Barbell the same amount of times. I find Dumbbell better because I can't press more than the 130 pound Dumbbells my gym has. BOTTOM LINE: Unless you can bench some serious weight Dumbbell is way better.
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    Do both?

    I do bar for strength work. High intensity few sets and few reps.

    I use DB's for higher volume.
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    do both brah , each one has its own benefits
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    Wink Dude , you would rather agree that right answer 'and YES and NOT'

    Originally Posted by -holdup- View Post
    Hi everyone, im knew to this forum and bodybuilding in general. Ive recently started lifting weights (im 17yrs old) and different people have given me differing views relating to the best exercises to build a nice looking chest. Im not aiming to bodybuild professionally, and to be honest my top priority isnt strength but rather looks (please dont blast me for being shallow or whatnot lol). What I would like to know is which do u think is better to build a good looking chest, flat dumbell presses or flat barbell bench press? Ive also been told that dumbell flies are the best exercise for shaping the chest, is this true? Secondly, is it necessary to work our the lower part of my body (ie legs) even though my primary concern is upper body/arm growth?? Lastly, do u think that by triaing 5 times a week with this prgram, will i see gains or do u think its likely that ill be overtraining my body and not allowing sufficient time for rest and growth.
    Monday: chest and back
    Tuesday: biceps and shoulders
    Wednesday: Legs and triceps
    Thursday: chest and back
    Friday: arms and shoulders
    Saturday/Sunday: REST
    If not, suggestions would very helpful.
    thanks...
    1 Bench press build triceps much more than chest. I would rather suggest to go dip on doing dumbbell press

    2 low body exercises is crucial testosterone boost , especially compound exercises, I've red your priorities and suggest for you to do just squats - it's enough to boost your test level and save time on low body routine, as well squats is unique compound exercise which not use your upper body indirectly, i mean that area which is higher than core(just cardiovascular effect for whole body and strong low body workout).

    3 your routine seems bad to me for bunch of reasons: you doing triceps everyday directly and indirectly - rule of a bodybuilding is not doing the same muscle everyday(even if triceps need less time to rest than chest , still everyday torture triceps without a chance to heel seems to much to me).

    try to move Thursday to Friday, and Friday to Saturday if you can workout on Saturday. The idea is to let your body rest one day in a middle of your routine, such day as Thursday, but Wednesday seems logical to me as well. Than you can handle this schedule without over training for sure.
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