Bar or dumbbell bench press?
Posted: 16 November 2009 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Reading “Starting Strength”. Rip says dumbell bench presses work more muscles and are slightly better for you. Since one of my goals is punching strength, and I want to build my shoulders so I don’t tear anything, would it be better to do dumbells vice barbells?

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Posted: 16 November 2009 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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do both.

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Posted: 16 November 2009 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m no trainer, but the reason that dumbbell bench presses work more muscles is that there is a lot more of your arm involved in stabilizing the weight when you’re lifting dumbbells. I’d definitely go that route myself. Plus it’s easier/safer to do dumbbell work at home alone, if you happen to work out at home.

An often overlooked exercise that does a great job of working those same muscle groups (and one that I’ve always found much more effective than any form of bench press) is the dumbbell pull-over. You might look into those too.

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Posted: 19 November 2009 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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IMO…I would say probably do alternating…one workout barbell, one workout dumbell just to keep changing it up…having to recruit different muscles each time.  but for punching strength i would do some form of movement specific explosive training, like hitting a heavy bag while holding 1kg dumbell’s in each hand,  clapping pushups (where you do an explosive push up and at the top of the movement brings your hands together & clap, or step/med ball push ups where you explode off the bottom bringing your hands up either onto the 2 steps on either side of you or onto the med ball in front of you then back down to the floor again…
another good one will be to do dumbbell press off the floor with your triceps touching the floor, then you explosively push the dumbells up into the air as quick as you can lowering them back down in a controlled manner, then as your tricep touches the floor again, you reset…and then explode again off the bottom…its exactly like doing dumbbell bench press except you do it lying down on the floor, and focus on exploding the weight up instead of just pushing.
hope that helps!

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Posted: 19 November 2009 01:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks guys!

Let me clarify the issue a bit.  I’m large and can get my weight behind a punch. The problem is that my upper body strength is low compared to weight. When I was in krav a while back my shoulders started to show signs of rotator cuff damage. So now I’m trying to build up the muscles around the shoulder joint so I don’t have that issue again.

Growing old is for the birds. I work as a technical contractor and a shoulder injury that takes me out of work is not helpful.

Leam

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Posted: 19 November 2009 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Which one is easier on your back?

I don’t like bench press in general, since it doesn’t carrover much. but I think in your case it is a good alternative to the press since you have back issues.

I have problems with my shoulders from various injuries. Before crossfit, barbell bench caused pain, and dumbbell cased less pain.

Now they are both comfortable. They, nor any pressing movements are strong for me. Big time goats that I would like to make cabrito out of soon.

Both movements are effective. Barbell allows for higher weight, and arguable more strength gain. Dumbbell recruit more stabilzing muscles developing greater should stability.

This is nothing more that my observations of what happened for me.

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Posted: 19 November 2009 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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leam - 19 November 2009 01:58 AM

Thanks guys!

Let me clarify the issue a bit.  I’m large and can get my weight behind a punch. The problem is that my upper body strength is low compared to weight. When I was in krav a while back my shoulders started to show signs of rotator cuff damage. So now I’m trying to build up the muscles around the shoulder joint so I don’t have that issue again.

Growing old is for the birds. I work as a technical contractor and a shoulder injury that takes me out of work is not helpful.

Leam

Hip explosion is what you want. DB bench is good and so is power cleans. If you can voilently open those hips, punching seems to be a whole lot stronger.

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Posted: 19 November 2009 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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leam - 19 November 2009 01:58 AM

Thanks guys!

Let me clarify the issue a bit.  I’m large and can get my weight behind a punch. The problem is that my upper body strength is low compared to weight. When I was in krav a while back my shoulders started to show signs of rotator cuff damage. So now I’m trying to build up the muscles around the shoulder joint so I don’t have that issue again.

Growing old is for the birds. I work as a technical contractor and a shoulder injury that takes me out of work is not helpful.

Leam

To throw you off on a tangent, if you’re prone to rotator cuff issues, bench press should be well down your priority list. Or at least performed very carefully with much attention to flexibility and shoulder girdle strengthening work. Benching and behind the neck pull-downs (unless they are done extremely strictly) are the two biggest killers of rotator cuffs in the gym.

Make sure you’re overhead pressing and especially overhead squatting (OHS are gold for strengthening your rotator cuff) as often as you’re benching. And stretch.

You could muck about with twiddly rotator cuff strengthening stuff, but pressing with active shoulders and OHS give you much more bang for your buck.

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Posted: 19 November 2009 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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dnittler - 19 November 2009 07:10 AM

Which one is easier on your back?

This is nothing more that my observations of what happened for me.

Dunno, for the most part I’m not doing heavy stuff and keeping my knees up during the press. Today was kind of fun, I did actual weight on the bench press. First time in a few decades I’ve actually tried that.

Craig, I’m not sure about the overhead squat. As noted, I have a bad back and am trying to get the bar as low on my back as i can. I’m not overly prone to rotator cuff injuries as much as I am just prone to trying things scaled for my weight and not actual muscle capability.  smile

CF, if I do it right, will resolve much of the “bad back” issue and put me in a better position to do other physical stuff. I’m just learning the bit about “do it right”...

Leam

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Posted: 19 November 2009 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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leam - 19 November 2009 01:52 PM
dnittler - 19 November 2009 07:10 AM

Which one is easier on your back?

This is nothing more that my observations of what happened for me.

Dunno, for the most part I’m not doing heavy stuff and keeping my knees up during the press. Today was kind of fun, I did actual weight on the bench press. First time in a few decades I’ve actually tried that.

Craig, I’m not sure about the overhead squat. As noted, I have a bad back and am trying to get the bar as low on my back as i can. I’m not overly prone to rotator cuff injuries as much as I am just prone to trying things scaled for my weight and not actual muscle capability.  smile

CF, if I do it right, will resolve much of the “bad back” issue and put me in a better position to do other physical stuff. I’m just learning the bit about “do it right”...

Leam

Don’t worry, I remember about your back. I’m not saying you should go for max efforts right off, just that training the movement (PVC and moving up to an unloaded Olympic bar would be enough) will do an enormous amount to undoing the damage benching will do. And you may find it helps your back.
If you can back squat I’d be surprised if you couldn’t OHS with PVC. It’s possible of course, backs are weird and one as messed up as yours is likely to spasm from any stress. I’d still bet (NZ$5 max grin )your shoulders will hold you back more than your back.

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“The point of CF is to get better at life.  Being unable to workout tomorrow because you were pigheaded today is not in line with our goals.”
Garddawg - 22 March 2009

“CrossFit is not dangerous.
Bad coaching is dangerous, poor movement is dangerous. Ego is dangerous.
CrossFit, properly scaled to the individual is the safest and most efficient program available for strength, conditioning and movement.”
BlueBugofJustice - 18 August 2009

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Posted: 19 November 2009 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Okay, NZ 5 if stick or unloaded bar doesn’t cause my back to spasm. A bet I’d not mind losing.  smile

I have an old staff at the house and the Y has both light (25#) and heavy (50#) bars. I’ll take it easy and see what happens.

Thanks!

Leam

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