The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    Why no dumbbells

    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?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Senior Member tnathletics2b's Avatar
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    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.
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  4. #3
    2008 World Champs! SMK41's Avatar
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    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.
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  5. #4
    Iron Junkie
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    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.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member tmor6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnathletics2b View Post
    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.
    That last part isn't completely true. Moving more weight doesn't necessarily lead to greater strength or faster gains; rather, one should keep in mind the differences between the motions of the barbell and the dumbell press.

    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.
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  7. #6
    Pro Strongman | Moderator Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knowsam View Post
    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?

    Thanks
    I actually prefer dumbbells over barbells for flat bench, although I know that the SS program calls for BB bench.

    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.
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  8. #7
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    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.

  9. #8
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    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.

  10. #9
    Abominable Yeti Sandwich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean S View Post
    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.
    Bingo. Linear progression is much more difficult with dumbells.

    OP - your best bet would be to ask someone to spot. Shouldn't be a big deal at all.

  11. #10
    Look ma, I deadlifted. el_Mariachi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean S View Post
    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.
    Good point, but it seems like OP is pretty new to lifting in which case if he's lifting/eating right, he should blow through 5lb increments with the dumbells with no problem for months. Once he hits a hard plateau, I agree with you, he can do what you're talking about on the barbell.

    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.
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  12. #11
    Bodybuilding Mythbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmor6 View Post
    That last part isn't completely true. Moving more weight doesn't necessarily lead to greater strength or faster gains; rather, one should keep in mind the differences between the motions of the barbell and the dumbell press.

    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.
    The reasons that you can "move more weight using barbell bench" is that DB's require more balance and that the stronger arm can help the weaker arm. Most people (assuming that they train the two movements equally hard) will not be able to simply divide their barbell weight by two (DB's) and start pressing them.

    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.

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