The science of dumbbell presses.

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    The science of dumbbell presses.


    Hey guys. Like, probably, most of you - I've always stuck with the barbell press. But it hurts my shoulders when I go deep. (Articles describes the problem well - although that's a goofy site. It was originally on some forum that I can't remember.)

    I haven't totally come to grips with doing presses without lowering the bar to my chest (anyone else not do that?), because that messes up my shoulders for days, and also creates an unnatural-feeling sticking point that takes a good 50lbs off my max reps. I've got bad shoulders from sports.

    So, I'm familiar with all these ERG studies showing that dumbbell presses, and decline dumbbell presses, are the most efficient. I was thinking of making a change. A few questions:

    1. Is this bull****? I'd like to go heavy with my dumbbells (I'm firmly in the 4-8 rep camp), but I have the exact same problem with heavy dumbbells as with the barbell - in fact, moreso, because I have to start the dumbbell press right at my shoulders.

    2. Any suggestions, online sites, etc, with a complete and detailed layout of dumbbell mechanics? These things are never quite as simple as lie down + press, and I often hear that the dumbbell press is more complex than the barbell press - so that's a feat in and of itself. It took me months to get the ideal barbell press down.

    Thanks guys. Interested in hearing your thoughts.

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    If you have shoulder issues, then make sure your shoulder blades at pushed together, if you find this hard start doing scapula retraction exercises.
    Scapular Retraction

    Also you should be bringing it down to nipple level, maybe try abit lower then that, your upper arms should be at a 45 degree angle to your torso or slightly less if anything and you shouldnt bring it down closer to a inch above your chest(or follow that sites insuctions on ROM), if your still having problems then use neutral grip or dont rotate your wrists when pushing up.
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    I read you, Hectic. Thanks man.

    I have Rippetoe's "Starting Strength", which devotes a staggering number of pages to proper deadlift, bench, squat, clean+jerk, and military press form. Really an enjoyable read, too - nice sense of humor throughout.

    But I think I've troubleshot my form, and everything is pretty good. I've just got permanent loss of ROM in my shoulder, and really substantial weakness when it's that close to my body. If I'm lucky, dumbbells will help when I get the form down. I can only hope.
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    I don't know about the ERG studies, but I do think it's good to use DB as well as BB presses. The DB presses really develop a lot of the secondary, stabilizing structures that don't get used with the BB. The total weight is less, but in some ways I feel it works the chest better than the BB. Still like BB though. For example, I'm currently doing incline presses with the BB and flat presses with the DB.
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    I always had an idea to make a barbell with some sliding handles. So you could get a natural range of motion. As you lower the weight, your hands will just naturally widen your grip.

    Im sure its a crazy idea. Just thought Id share.

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    That's a fascinating idea - however, as I understand it, gripping the bar tightly when benching is essential, so that you maintain the proper hand+thumb position and continue to emphasize the chest, rather than have your hand rotate and change the dynamic. So sliding might be tough to accomplish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmix View Post
    That's a fascinating idea - however, as I understand it, gripping the bar tightly when benching is essential, so that you maintain the proper hand+thumb position and continue to emphasize the chest, rather than have your hand rotate and change the dynamic. So sliding might be tough to accomplish.
    Yes I understand the dynamic.... I believe just like any other exercise that would demand stabilizer activity.. this would become more natural. Also as for gripping it, I am not one that grips it tightly... I for or less let it rest on the heel of my palms.

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    Oh, and I ment little sleeves that roll over the middle of the bar... two of them.. .these are what your hands grip on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdams91982 View Post
    I always had an idea to make a barbell with some sliding handles. So you could get a natural range of motion. As you lower the weight, your hands will just naturally widen your grip.

    Im sure its a crazy idea. Just thought Id share.

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    This idea has been captured in a number of machines. The Hammer strength chest press machine naturally changes the distance between your hands as you press. There are several other machines that do the same thing...just can't think of the names right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivehard View Post
    This idea has been captured in a number of machines. The Hammer strength chest press machine naturally changes the distance between your hands as you press. There are several other machines that do the same thing...just can't think of the names right now.
    Yeah I know what you are talking about... but you are still a bit constricted by the machines motion. Just as I said... it was just a thought... Id like the idea of loading my own plates still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdams91982 View Post
    I always had an idea to make a barbell with some sliding handles. So you could get a natural range of motion. As you lower the weight, your hands will just naturally widen your grip.

    Im sure its a crazy idea. Just thought Id share.

    Adams
    I had that same idea back in the day
    I tried just putting some baking soda (I was at millitary school, materials were limited) on the bar, and bike grips over the bar, so they would slide some.
    I needed different materials, as the "best" I could get out of it was a slight contraction at the top.
    The sliding was rather uneven
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    Quote Originally Posted by xtraflossy View Post
    I had that same idea back in the day
    I tried just putting some baking soda (I was at millitary school, materials were limited) on the bar, and bike grips over the bar, so they would slide some.
    I needed different materials, as the "best" I could get out of it was a slight contraction at the top.
    The sliding was rather uneven
    HAHAHAHA.. now that is ****ing innovative. I was thinking if I had the right materials... some extra stiff ball bearings would be ideal... a series of them in the handles... with about a half millimeter rise from bar to handle.

    Since you could bring your hands in close at the top, you could get an insane pinch for that "Crush a walnut" center.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdams91982 View Post
    HAHAHAHA.. now that is ****ing innovative. I was thinking if I had the right materials... some extra stiff ball bearings would be ideal... a series of them in the handles... with about a half millimeter rise from bar to handle.

    Since you could bring your hands in close at the top, you could get an insane pinch for that "Crush a walnut" center.

    Adams
    You would need a way to link the handles so they stayed the same distance away from the center of the bar. Simply letting them float on the bar would not be ideal. They could easily both shift the wrong side of center and you would be unbalanced.

    You could do it with two pulleys and two wires, but it would be a bit bulky. Let me do some thinking...putting a pair of ball bearings under the handle would work for the sliding...and they would not have to be anything special as they would handle waaay more weight than you could.
  

  
 

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