Exercise Substitutions: The Bench Press
If you haven’t been living on the moon, you’ve heard of the bench press before. You know it’s a staple in almost all training programs, you know what it looks like, and chances are you’ve tried it at least once in your life.
When we think of the bench press, we often visualize the barbell bench press. And while the barbell bench press certainly has a place in strength training, it’s not right for everyone. Like we discussed last week with the barbell back squat, the barbell bench press is an exercise and not a movement pattern. The barbell bench press trains the pushing movement pattern, but if it doesn’t feel right for your body then there are many other options to train your pushing pattern.
Why might the barbell bench press not feel right for you? Well, there could be a number of reasons. For example, during the barbell bench press, you’re hands and wrists are locked into one position due to the bar being straight and fixed. This can spell trouble for those with elbow and shoulder injuries. If this was the case for you, and you wished to still bench press, then a great exercise substitution for you would be …
The Dumbbell Bench Press:
The dumbbell bench press allows for greater freedom in the shoulders and elbows, due to the dumbbells being able to be rotated and moved into a position that best suites your bodies anatomy. This is made possible because the dumbbells are not attached by a bar, you can move them freely around your body in a path that feels more natural for your body. The dumbbell bench press also helps to eliminate strength and muscles imbalances, because each hand/side of the body is forced to push an equal amount of weight. No cheating can happen because the weight in each hand is not connected by a bar. So if the barbell bench press is difficult on your shoulders, and if you want to make sure that both sides of your body are more balanced throughout your pushing movements – the dumbbell bench press might be an option for you.
How to do the dumbbell bench press …
- Choose a set of dumbbells that are a suitable weight for your training programs requirements and your fitness level
- Sit on the bench with your dumbbells on your knees, as you lay back use momentum and use your knees to help position the dumbbells beside your chest in the bottom of the bench press position
- Engage your core, breath out, and begin to press the dumbbells up towards the ceiling, make sure your elbows are angled like an upside down “V” and NOT flared out to much like a “T”
- Pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your pecs (chest muscles)
- Begin to slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position
Give it a shot in your next workout, if you’re unsure of where to start and need help with technique and form, please ask anyone of our Wynn Fitness Trainers. They’ll be more than happy to help you. Stay tuned for next weeks blog as we continue with our series on “exercise substitutions”.