The flat dumbbell bench press is a great exercise to strengthen the musculature of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This exercise is a great option for women who want to progress to doing the barbell bench press, or perhaps women who aren’t able to bench press with the barbell due to shoulder issues.
A pair of dumbbells should be used for the flat bench dumbbell press.
The flat bench dumbbell press may be too advanced for women who are just beginning to strength train. Some great bench press exercise alternatives for beginners include the band resisted bench press, dumbbell floor presses, Landmine press variations, and push-ups (perform the modified version if need be).
The dumbbell bench press is a great option for lifters with an intermediate level of experience who have mastered some of the bench press alternatives for beginners that are listed above. If an upper body pushing workout is being performed, lifters should place the dumbbell bench press somewhere in the first half of their workout when their body is fresh. If a full-body workout is being performed, the dumbbell bench press can be paired with a lower body compound movement, or an upper body pulling movement. You can also make it part of a conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps of the bench press.
Women who are comfortable with the dumbbell bench press may choose to use this variation as well as increase their weight/resistance for multiple sets (2-4+) of fewer repetitions (3-6). The dumbbell bench press may also be used as part of a conditioning circuit. Women can also make this exercise more challenging by performing negative bench presses and lowering the bar in 3-5 seconds as this increases the eccentric component of the movement, they can perform pause bench presses where they pause for 3-5 seconds part way down, or at the bottom of the lift, or they can add band resistance to the dumbbells.
How a woman chooses to use a dumbbell bench press is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general dumbbell bench presses can be used to do any or all of the following:
To perform a dumbbell bench press properly there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost is to keep your whole body really stiff and tight throughout the entire exercise. The second thing is, and this is the thing that I see a lot of people missing when they are in the gym, you actually want to take your shoulder blades and pull them back and down a little bit. This will keep your shoulder blades nice and stable. You also want to keep your core really tight. For most women I like them to take a palm in grip, or maybe rotate out somewhere between 15 and 30 degrees. You want to keep your elbow somewhat close to your body as well somewhere about 30 degrees. So this is 90 and this is 0 – so keep them here at 15-30. Keep your shoulders happy.
You are going to grab the dumbbells, and the easiest way to do it is generally put them up on your thighs and then you can give yourself a little kick, or a boost up. So you are going to lie on your back. I’m showing the palm in version. I usually take a big deep breath before I go. Keep my rib cage down and brace my core, my glutes are tight and my feet are being driven into the floor. I am almost going to throw the weights down with my lats, keeping my elbows close to my body. Then I am going to drive the weight up. Row it down, drive it up, row it down, up,row it down, drive it up. When you are down think about rowing the weights down and popping them up and bringing them back to your legs and putting them back on the ground.