Flat Bench Trouble - Dumbell Dominant

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    Flat Bench Trouble - Dumbell Dominant


    My Barbell flat bench has always sucked bad! ( Deadlifted 405 for max, and Benched 225 back in my teenage days)

    Years later, I still can't get 225 on flat bench for more than 5 reps. However, I can rep 100lb. (each arm of course) 3-5 times on incline!

    Fortunately, I lift for size and not strength and am glad my incline is strong, but it still puzzles and frustrates me that my bench is so week.....especially considering my obvious chest strength in incline press.

    Any personal trainers or others with thoughts on this?

    Thanks

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    i would say ditch the smith machine.. i use to bench on that when i first started out then when id do 135 x 10 one day the next day after 3 reps the machine would F up get unblanced etc.. stick to free weights smith is only good for a couple things.
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    Just a guess but you may not be getting the same depth on an incline dumbbell press that you would with a barbell. How is your dumbbell flat bench? With dumbbells are your hands the same as they would be on a barbell (facing the same way)? Are you going deep with the dumbbells or just doing 1/2 reps?

    Im not trying to accuse you of anything lol, just getting some information to help you out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmiller383 View Post
    Just a guess but you may not be getting the same depth on an incline dumbbell press that you would with a barbell. How is your dumbbell flat bench? With dumbbells are your hands the same as they would be on a barbell (facing the same way)? Are you going deep with the dumbbells or just doing 1/2 reps?

    Im not trying to accuse you of anything lol, just getting some information to help you out.
    Very good question...I'll try to answer the best I can.

    I don't have a workout partner, so all str8 bar is done on Smith these days.

    Generally on smith/barbell press, I stop ~2 inches from my chest and end the rep ~2 inches from my full extension. On my last 2 reps of the set, I usually fully extend though (without locking the joint out and putting stress on it).

    For my dumbell press, I have a unique style.....I turn my ipod to a good song and get in the zone, and bang out as many fast "half reps, all the way down, but half way up" reps as I can and do 2 full contractions on my last two reps once I'm gassed.

    Hopefully this answers your question. Keep in mind, I'm a bodybuilder, not a powerlifter. I always start with incline, but still want to increase my bench since it is pathetic.
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    If I were you i'd start doing flat DB press first.. FULL REPS, not whatever kind of reps you are doing, then move onto incline DB then some sort of fly. You dont need a spot on DB bench, just throw them to the side if you cant get it and if you need assistance on the first rep put a little back into it. No offence but I dont understand why people try to do fancy stuff on exerises. I see people dancing during curls and doing half, 1/4 curls and all sorts of ****. Yet the people who are BIG at the gym do everything by the book, with good form.
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    Sounds like you need some tricep and delt work, try doing some floor press with the dumbbells or some dips and see if that makes a difference. Lose the smith benches too, just ask someone to spot you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by h0other View Post
    If I were you i'd start doing flat DB press first.. FULL REPS, not whatever kind of reps you are doing, then move onto incline DB then some sort of fly. You dont need a spot on DB bench, just throw them to the side if you cant get it and if you need assistance on the first rep put a little back into it. No offence but I dont understand why people try to do fancy stuff on exerises. I see people dancing during curls and doing half, 1/4 curls and all sorts of ****. Yet the people who are BIG at the gym do everything by the book, with good form.
    I may take your advice on starting with full rep flat bench DB's....trying to take in as much info and then draw my conclusion.

    I will, however challenge you on 3/4 rep, 1/2 rep, and other "fancy stuff" as you say. (for bodybuilding, not powerlifting). I used to question it myself, but I can post many clips of pros BB's training with this approach.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmiller383 View Post
    Sounds like you need some tricep and delt work, try doing some floor press with the dumbbells or some dips and see if that makes a difference. Lose the smith benches too, just ask someone to spot you.
    A few people have said that about my tri and delt work, but I disagree. My tri's are pretty good, I do dips already, and I can DB shoulder press 90's for a few reps? How could I need work in those areas?

    Floor DB press may be a good idea (I'd feel weird doing it though), and you're probably right about losing the smith machine too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF210 View Post
    A few people have said that about my tri and delt work, but I disagree. My tri's are pretty good, I do dips already, and I can DB shoulder press 90's for a few reps? How could I need work in those areas?

    Floor DB press may be a good idea (I'd feel weird doing it though), and you're probably right about losing the smith machine too.
    hey MF210. I have the same problem as you. glad to see i'm not the only one.

    when you figure it out, can you let me know?

    sometimes, i feel like ppl like you and me were not made for the barbell bench, just dumbell bench. barbell bench really puts greater strain on my shoulders.

    i get a better chest pump from dumbell presses anyway...

    oh and btw, yeah, i can do quite a bit on dumbell shoulder presses...but i can do quite a bit on barbell shoulder presses as well..just struggle w/ barbell benching..
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    You should also pay attention to the spacing of your hands when using db vs bb. I've seen a lot of guys that tend to get a lot more narrow with their db presses, which puts more emphasis on the tris and takes off of the shoulders. Just a thought, but your grip spacing could have a lot to do with it.
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    I used to have same problem, worked with floor press, that helped. Also worked my push press hard, that helped. Worked on my bench form, proper arch, driving through heels. Before i even touch a bb, i do shoulder dislocations. All of these help alot.
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    Unless you are a powerlifter, WHO cares??? I hardly ever flat bb benchpress (maybe once a month or two). BB flat press is acutally one of the hardet chest exercises on your shoulders. The only flat BB exercises I usually do are close grip presses. DB are just as good if not better for developing the chest as the the bb, bc you are not limited in the angles and lateral positioning of the plane of motion. IMO starting with an incline movement is nearly always the way to go for a bodybuilder. Keep working your inclines and flat db presses. Attempt more full rom presses either in every workout for a set or two or everyother workout or something (if you want to continue with you partial rep style - which i don't think is all that terrible actually). Good luck.

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    310lifter - Same here, my shoulder DB's and Barbells are strong (although I only take my barbell shoulder press parallel to prevent injury).

    Larue - My spacing on DB chest press brings the inner plates to my outer chest.....as for barbell, I put my pinkies on the "line" of the barbell.

    Dedlifter - Second person to recommend floor presses, max/low rep/highrep? and how many sets?.....2ndly "Shoulder dislocations!?" Surely you meant something other than dislocating your shoulder LOL.

    Wilderbeast - LOVE that comment. I felt this way for years and still kind of feel the same way....just kind of annoying to be so weak at this movement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MF210 View Post
    310lifter - Same here, my shoulder DB's and Barbells are strong (although I only take my barbell shoulder press parallel to prevent injury).

    Larue - My spacing on DB chest press brings the inner plates to my outer chest.....as for barbell, I put my pinkies on the "line" of the barbell.

    Dedlifter - Second person to recommend floor presses, max/low rep/highrep? and how many sets?.....2ndly "Shoulder dislocations!?" Surely you meant something other than dislocating your shoulder LOL.

    Wilderbeast - LOVE that comment. I felt this way for years and still kind of feel the same way....just kind of annoying to be so weak at this movement.
    Lol.lol yeah dont actually dislocate them!! They are hard to explain, google them, there is a good vid on stronglifts on how to do them, they are a stretching movement. For floor presses i do three sets, high repetitions, thats just me.
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    Complete delt development has helped my flat bb bench more than anything. I have always had strong triceps and a strong incline and overhead press but a very weak flat bb bench. But now after improving my lateral and rear delts, i am pressing a lot more on flat bb bench.
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    It's been stated already; your barbell bench is down because your strength is down. You are doing well with the dumbbells b/c you've adapted to press them through partial ranges of motion, etc.

    A lot of times in order to get through a plateau you have to do what you aren't good at. To get where you haven't gone yet, you have to do things you haven't done yet. In other words, learn to bench with a bar and watch what happens with your dumbbell pressing. Also, use full range of motion unless you have some injury which prohibits you.
  

  
 

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