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  1. #1
    Registered User 25catfishperday's Avatar
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    Let's talk.... Chest (BB Bench vs. Dumbells vs Weighted Push Up's)

    What do you guys prefer for your chest pressing movement?

    I don't know if it's because I am triceps and shoulder dominant, but it seems the BB Bench doesn't do a do good job of hitting my chest and is not that great for hypertrophy for me. Does anyone else agree? Perhaps me being shoulder and triceps dominant is the reason?

    Don't get me wrong, I mix up my training a lot. Some weeks I do strictly hypertrophy, some weeks I do moderate weight, and some weeks heavy strength low rep sets. I love the BB Bench for 1-5 Rep sets and for my strength weeks, I place BB Bench as King over all chest workouts.

    However, for Hypertrophy weeks, I've always leaned towards Dumbbells and Weighted Push Up's.


    Unfortunately, my gyms dumbbells only go up to 100 lbs, so now I'm starting to lean torwards weighted push ups, as I own the Kensui Max vest and can easily stack on (3) 45 lb plates.

    I prefer the stretch of the dumbells and weighted push ups using push up bars for a deeper stretch and feel I get much more range of motion and stretch in my chest for hypertrophy using dumbells and weighted push ups vs the bb bench.

    you guys 2c on this?
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  2. #2
    Registered User HomeGymChains's Avatar
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    I’ve switched to dumbbells for most of my bench day, since I think they hit my pecs better. For AMREP sets at the end though, I use barbell, since it doesn’t require as much control. (I don’t like the risk of dropping dumbbells.)

    Never tried weighted push-ups.

    Best wishes.
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  3. #3
    Banned lsiberian's Avatar
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    I have no issue hitting chest with BB Bench. I also do dips though. My gym has a combo dip chin setup that lets me super set dips with chins. I also do incline.

    Have you tried pausing at the bottom of your bench. You might be bouncing too much. Maybe your grip is too narrow as well, but of course that helps save the shoulders. You can also just do flies.
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    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    I like the barbell bench press the most, but the others are great exercises too. I have built a solid chest from almost exclusively benching, though, so claims that it doesn't work well for this, or is just an "ego lift" (as if any of this isn't) do sound silly to me.
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    Unregistered Mortar34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lsiberian View Post
    I have no issue hitting chest with BB Bench. I also do dips though. My gym has a combo dip chin setup that lets me super set dips with chins. I also do incline.

    Have you tried pausing at the bottom of your bench. You might be bouncing too much. Maybe your grip is too narrow as well, but of course that helps save the shoulders. You can also just do flies.
    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    I like the barbell bench press the most, but the others are great exercises too. I have built a solid chest from almost exclusively benching, though, so claims that it doesn't work well for this, or is just an "ego lift" (as if any of this isn't) do sound silly to me.
    I agree with these two but to each his own. I feel like people give up on BB bench too quickly before playing with different setups, grip, and positions. You can make subtle changes to almost any exercise and occasionally find a meaningful difference. I have been focusing on grip setup and hand drive and it feels like I found a cheat code. It takes time but worth it.
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  6. #6
    Registered User 25catfishperday's Avatar
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    Interesting responses. I'm played with several variations of the Barbell. The only time I actually feel BB Bench in my chest is with a wide grip and moderate weight for higher reps. But I think I still prefer barbell for strength training low reps. I wanted to see how some of you felt about this.

    If I bench heavy with a shoulder width grip, I feel the press mostly in my triceps.

    I feel I've put a lot of mass on my chest since switching to dumbells paired with fly's.

    But now that I'm running out of weight at the gym I'm considering switching to the weighted push ups on handles using the Kensui vest and plates on my back.
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  7. #7
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    The only way I could make bench a useful chest movement was to use a shoulder width grip. But other than that….

    Dumbbell presses and push ups (and all their many variants) are far more effective IME. YMMV.
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    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    I'm just a feeble little 55 year old guy that scrounges up free weights and equipment from his rental properties. I've got an adjustable bench and spinlock dumb bells that I've modified to go up to 80 pounds each. I welded threaded extensions to the handles.
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  9. #9
    Banned lsiberian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 25catfishperday View Post
    Interesting responses. I'm played with several variations of the Barbell. The only time I actually feel BB Bench in my chest is with a wide grip and moderate weight for higher reps. But I think I still prefer barbell for strength training low reps. I wanted to see how some of you felt about this.

    If I bench heavy with a shoulder width grip, I feel the press mostly in my triceps.

    I feel I've put a lot of mass on my chest since switching to dumbells paired with fly's.

    But now that I'm running out of weight at the gym I'm considering switching to the weighted push ups on handles using the Kensui vest and plates on my back.
    If your approach is working for you then definitely don't change it. The only time I change things up is for boredom or if I stall. Honestly boredom gets me more often.
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  10. #10
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    Eh whatever you get the best vibe off.

    Dont be the ½rep uber flare dumbell presser and expect great chest results. They won't come.

    And dont expect movements that hit far more than just chest to be a more focused chest movement than... An actual chest focused movement like a machine fly.

    Big compounds hit way more - plan for than in your analysis.

    Think of them like this

    Bench variation - pec/tri/delt
    Inc bench - more delt. Less pec
    Ohp - delt/tri/upper pec
    *Db will bias more pec - not inherently better btw

    Front raise - delt
    Extention - tricep
    Fly - pec
    Each will put more muscle on each part individually, but probably no more overall than a compound

    Fun point.
    Cambered Swiss/fb bar is king! Nothing feels better imo.
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  11. #11
    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    Range of motion - dumbbells win
    But they lose vs the bb when you use bigger and bigger dumbbells and make the move more and more uncomfortable and the stabilization becomes a factor

    I feel the chest working more with a more narrow grip on the bb bench, indeed

    Pushups are great


    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    [b]
    Dont be the ½rep uber flare dumbell presser and expect great chest results. They won't come.


    Each will put more muscle on each part individually, but probably no more overall than a compound


    Cambered Swiss/fb bar is king! Nothing feels better imo.

    Funny thing
    The guys with the best chest at my commercial gym are the ½rep uber flare dumbell presser.
    While I, with smaller dumbbells getting a full stretch and locking out


    How do you establish this?
    Not disagreeing, just asking
    Because of the tonnage?
    You would have to put a group of people on bb bench and a group on db flyes Arnold style, focusing on the stretch.
    The problem with flyes would be the potential injuries.
    An advanced strong lifter can do heavy flies with 40kg.
    Not nearly as much as a 3 plate barbell, but the fly movement itself is tailor-made for pecs


    Yeah, that cambered bar looks awesome and seems more friendly on the shoulders, I wish my gym had one.
    Also, for bent rows.
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  12. #12
    Unregistered User MyEgoProblem's Avatar
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    So when i say for example the bb bench puts more muscle overall im refering to mass going on the chest, triceps and shoulders.

    A 3in1 deal so to speak.

    Compared to a cable chest fly that would only realistically add size to the chest, and through a longer rom with more directed stimulus.

    And a shoulder raise, and a tricep extention. And possibly something else in there too. Very much in the vein of, you get far more from it the same time, or it takes way longer to hit everything in isolation.

    Id not even really care about actual loads moved, just trends and progress over time providing exertion is similar.

    The elite fts us/uk cambered bar is fantastic! Wish id got the clone instead of the one with no camber tbh
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  13. #13
    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    I actually gained a little bit of chest mass due to high rep burpees with multiple push-ups, my wife was the first to point it out. This was high rep movements though (400+ reps in a single session) - I have gone to weighted push-ups and TRX movements since, no appreciable difference but I'm not training for mass right now either.
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