Why Is Dumbbell Bench Press Harder?

The dumbbell bench press is a super popular exercise that really targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It’s a go-to move for building strength and power in your upper body. But why does it seem so much harder than doing the same exercise with a barbell? Well, let’s dive into that question and explore all the reasons behind this challenge. Don’t worry though, I’ve got some great tips to help you effectively incorporate the dumbbell bench press into your workout routine.

Now let’s get pumped up and dive right into it!

Why can I dumbbell press more than bench?

Dumbbell bench press is an exercise that allows you to press more weight compared to the traditional barbell bench press. So, why can you dumbbell press more than bench? The answer lies in several factors that come into play when performing the dumbbell variation.

One major reason is stability. When performing the dumbbell bench press, each arm works independently, which requires more stabilization from your core and other supporting muscles. This increased stabilization effort translates into a greater overall strength demand for your body.

Additionally, dumbbell bench pressing allows for a greater range of motion compared to the barbell version. This means that you are able to move the dumbbells through a longer range of motion, effectively targeting your chest muscles from different angles and activating more muscle fibers.

Another factor at play is muscle recruitment. With the independent movement of each arm, you can better isolate and recruit your chest muscles during the exercise. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for individuals to be able to lift heavier weights when using dumbbells for their presses.

So, if you find yourself being able to dumbbell press more weight than you can with a barbell, don’t be surprised! It’s simply a result of increased stability demands, enhanced range of motion, and improved muscular recruitment that come with performing the exercise using dumbbells.

What is a good weight for dumbbell bench press?

Determining the ideal weight for a dumbbell bench press involves various factors that must be considered. It’s essential to acknowledge that weight preferences will differ based on individual strength levels and objectives. However, one should strive to initiate with a weight that facilitates proper execution and technique during the exercise. This implies being able to complete each repetition with control, without compromising stability or range of motion.

If you possess significant experience in lifting weights or are aiming to enhance strength, it may be prudent to consider heavier dumbbells. In such cases, a reasonable starting point could entail utilizing approximately 70-80% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) for barbell bench press. On the contrary, if you are new to this endeavor or focusing on muscular endurance and conditioning, commencing with lighter dumbbells and gradually increasing the weight as you develop strength is recommended.

Always keep in mind that commencing with lighter weights and progressively intensifying the load as your strength improves is advantageous. This approach not only mitigates the risk of injuries but also facilitates consistent progress over time. Additionally, it is imperative to attentively listen to your body’s cues – if a particular weight feels excessively challenging or causes discomfort, adapting accordingly by selecting a weight that permits maintaining proper form throughout the entirety of each set is vital.

Should you do both barbell and dumbbell bench?

When it comes to my workout routine, I often wonder if including both barbell and dumbbell bench presses is necessary. Well, the answer is pretty simple – it depends on my goals and what I prefer.

Including both types of exercises actually offers a bunch of benefits. For one, using different equipment can target my muscles in slightly different ways, which means I can build overall strength more effectively. Plus, mixing things up prevents boredom and plateaus by challenging my muscles in new and exciting ways. Oh, and let’s not forget that alternating between barbells and dumbbells helps address any muscular imbalances I might have.

But there’s something important to keep in mind when I combine these exercises: form is everything! It’s absolutely crucial to do them correctly to avoid injury and get the most out of each move. So, starting with a weight that allows me to maintain good form throughout the exercise is key. As I get stronger, I can gradually increase the weight.

Ultimately, whether or not I should do both barbell and dumbbell bench presses depends on what feels right for me. Some people feel more stable with the barbell because it has a fixed path of movement, while others enjoy the challenge of using dumbbells since they require more stability. The great news is that trying out both options will help me figure out which one suits me best.

To sum it all up, incorporating both types of bench presses into my training routine has loads of benefits. It’s just important for me to consider my goals and preferences while remembering to maintain proper form every step of the way. By intelligently combining these two movements in my workouts, I can engage my muscles fully while avoiding any imbalances that might sabotage my progress.

Will dumbbell press help my bench?

Including dumbbell press in your training routine has the potential to seriously enhance your bench press. The benefits of incorporating dumbbell press directly translate to increased strength and performance on the bench.

One major advantage of the dumbbell press is its greater range of motion compared to the barbell bench press. This expanded range engages more muscle fibers in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. By activating a wider array of muscles, you can expect improved muscle development and overall gains in strength.

Another upside to performing dumbbell presses is that it helps address any muscular imbalances or weaknesses in your upper body. Since each arm works independently with dumbbells, weaker muscles are forced to work harder and catch up with their counterparts. This not only promotes a more balanced and symmetrical physique but also leads to enhanced overall strength.

Furthermore, using dumbbells necessitates engaging more stabilizer muscles as you stabilize the weight throughout the exercise. This heightened stabilization not only boosts joint integrity but also increases core strength and stability.

Incorporating dumbbell presses into your training regimen adds variety to your workouts, preventing plateaus and keeping you motivated. Continually challenging your muscles through different exercises and training stimuli allows for consistent progress toward your strength goals.

To fully maximize the benefits of both barbell and dumbbell bench presses, it’s advisable to incorporate both into your routine. Performing both exercises introduces variety in terms of grip variation, load distribution, and activation patterns of different muscles. This combination strengthens weak points in each exercise and ultimately leads to overall improvements in upper body pressing strength.

So if you’re aiming to increase your bench press numbers or improve upper body strength in general, adding dumbbell presses is an incredibly valuable addition to any training program. Dumbbell presses not only complement the barbell bench press but also offer unique advantages like improved muscle balance, stability, and functional strength.


After careful analysis, I have concluded that the dumbbell bench press offers a multitude of unique advantages and benefits when compared to its counterpart, the barbell bench press. This exceptional exercise not only grants you a wider range of motion but also activates additional stabilizer muscles. Moreover, it assists in identifying and rectifying any disparities in strength between your arms. The versatility of the dumbbell bench press allows for various modifications and variations which can be tailored to target specific muscle groups or achieve distinct training objectives.

Regardless of whether you are a novice just commencing with lighter weights or an experienced lifter seeking to enhance upper body strength, incorporating dumbbell bench presses into your regimen can greatly improve muscular symmetry and reduce the risk of injuries. Notably, employing heavier dumbbells will challenge your stability and compel your muscles to exert greater effort throughout the exercise.

Although both the barbell bench press and the dumbbell bench press possess their own merits, incorporating diverse pressing movements using dumbbells can complement your comprehensive training program. It is imperative to heed your body’s signals, prioritize proper form, and select suitable equipment based on your distinct weightlifting goals and personal preferences.

Thus, do not hesitate any longer – embrace the opportunity presented by the dumbbell bench press! You might discover that this exercise not only introduces variety into your workout routine but also aids in fortifying your strength, stability, and overall chest development over time.