I'm doing SS and I'm getting to the point where I'm not comfortable using a bar for bench. I've tried using the squat rack as a spoter but it limits the depth I can go to and I'd rather a full rom. I've heard I should not use dumbbells, but I can't figure out why?
You will always be limited by the top dumbbell you have...
For example, at my gym, I could never db bench more than 100s, when I could theoretically go up to 1,000 pounds on barbell bench with the weight I have available.
If I started SS right now, I would start out with the 100s for db bench and therefore I would never be able to progress.
Also, It is not quite the same exercise- you can move more weight using barbell bench, leading to greater strength gains, than you could using dbs.
Most people pray for a lighter load in life...ever thought of praying for a stronger back?
Goals as of 2/08/11 (current) goal:
Squat: (505) 535, Deadlift: (475) 500, Bench: (325) 350 Total: 1305 (1385)
BW: 225 as of 02/01/2011 Goal: 205 by May 1, 2011
just ask for someone to spot you. people really don't mind helping out. don't use the excuse that you don't know anyone at the gym. just try asking next time you need a spot and you'll realize its not a big deal.
Height: 6'4 - Weight: 235 lbs - Age: 31
DL: 530 x 1
Squat: 355 x 1
Bench: 350 x 1
The majority of exercises in SS, namely squat, deadlift, and power clean, cannot be properly performed using dumbbells as they require a great deal of balance (using DBs would severely reduce the amount of weight that can be used. Bench press and military press can be performed with DBs but much more weight can be used with a barbell.
Iron Junkie - Go Hard Or Go Home
Additionally, the idea that you can "move more weight using barbell bench" is crazy unless the gym doesn't have dumbells that are heavier than your max. I've found that hitting the dumbell press can offer a different range over motion to really target your outer pecs.
6'1"/203 (down 12 pounds since 5/2012)
2-mile run: 13:23
As long as you can stay within your target rep ranges with the dumbbells available I do not see a problem with using them. In many cases people stop using dumbbells because they have trouble getting the heavier ones in place or they eventually get to a certain point where the DB's at their gym are not heavy enough to provide a low-rep challenge.
Definitely include dumbbells! I really dont think the bench is the end all be all for the chest exercises. Its good, it does the job but i think dumbbells can do equally if not more effective job. The ONLY problem is what someone mentioned with most dumbbells not going over around 150lbs at most gyms but if youre dumbbell benching 85lbs for reps you wont have to worry about that for awhile.
I use the bench sparingly as it kinda aggravates my right shoulder, every once in awhile i'll do a few weeks of flat bench and see where im at for reps.. but most of the bread and butter exercises for me are dumbbell bench, incline dumbbell bench, hammer strength machines (incline and flat), cable flys, and every once in awhile at the end i throw in barbell pullovers.
You definitely dont need bench to make great muscle gains but i guess if youre on a program you want to make as few changes as possible, so just swap one exercise at a time.
Last edited by Skalami; 05-08-2010 at 07:03 AM.
The biggest problem I see with using DB's for the SS program is that they don't allow for smaller increases in loading. At best you can go up 5 lbs., which is a 10 lb. total increase and we all know that increasing DB's by 5 lbs. is often more difficult than increasing a barbell weight by 10 lbs. Given this, it becomes really difficult to do any sort of microloading to keep your progress going. With a barbell you can increase by 5 lb. increments and sometimes even smaller increases if you get some really small plates. If your concern is primarily for safety, just ask for a spot from someone.
Anyway in reference to the original question, I'm a huge believer in mixing in DB bench or even doing it exclusive of BB for a while. DBs hits "all" parts of the chest (stabilizing muscles) better than bar, and this is anecdotal only, but for me personally it seems to reduce shoulder pain. In any case, I don't know of any reason from a health/safety standpoint *not* to use them as asked in the original post.
Started: 6'4" 159 lbs 3/05
Current: 224 lbs 5/10
And you can NOT target your outer pecs anymore than any other part of the pecs. The pec major is one muscle. The entire muscle is involved in any movement that involves the chest.