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Thread: bb bench vs db bench increases

  1. #1
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    bb bench vs db bench increases

    i used to work out at school doing barbell bench, but now that its summer ive joined a gym and because i dont have a spotter ive been doing db bench (which i hear is better anyway)

    my question is does it take longer to see gains in strength doing db bench than bb bench?

    back when i would do bb bench i would see significant strength gains every 2-3 weeks.. but ever since i been working with db it seems like my gains are coming harder/slower

    when i first started this summer i was doing 55s for 5-6 reps.. after about 3 weeks i felt i was ready to go up so i was using 60s, but i was struggling for about 4-5 reps.. the lower amount of reps for 60s has got me thinking that i didnt gain as much as id like to

    just wondering if this is normal or if ive plateau-ed/overtrained/etc.

    this is my current chest workout (the one i did today):

    2 sets db bench
    2 sets db incline
    2 sets db decline
    2 sets machine flys

    about 2 minutes between sets

  2. #2
    eek... it's lil' Fixation! fixationdarknes's Avatar
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    Well, the thing is that when you add 5 lbs to each DB, it's a lot more than adding 5 lbs to a BB. So, because Dumbbell Presses require more stabilization and usually seem a lot harder to do, the numbers will seem to rise more slowly. But your gains are not going up slower.
    Last edited by fixationdarknes; 06-27-2005 at 07:22 PM.
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  3. #3
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Modulate your reps to compensate for less granularity in weight.

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  4. #4
    I drink your milkshake twm's Avatar
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    I admire your will to do DB decline presses.. its a royal pain to get setup on those unless someone is handing you the db's

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixationdarknes
    Well, the thing is that when you add 5 lbs to each DB, it's a lot more than adding 5 lbs to a BB. So, because Dumbbell Presses require more stabilization and usually seem a lot harder to do, the numbers will seem to rise more slowly. But your gains are not going up slower.
    ah. thanks for the replies, i get it now

    and hows my current chest workout? any modifications anyone would suggesT?

  6. #6
    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    (don't forget, going from 55's to 60's is adding 10# total.)

    When you were doing bench, if you were doing 5-6 reps with one weight and then upped it, could you still do the 5 or 6?

    Are you doing proper warmup sets and your "2 sets" are really working sets?

    I was having trouble w/ 70's. (this isn't my routine now, but I think you'll see my point) I could maybe get 4. I was doing 55x10, 60x8, 65x6-8 and 70x3-4. Then I decided to up the #age. I did 60, 65, 70, 75! The first time wasn't great. The 70 was still at four but I got 75x2. The next time out, I axed the 60 and started right in on the 65. I got 6 70's! and 3 75's. Next time it was 6 70's and 5 75's.

    My point is, try maybe going up just a little more. Don't get discouraged when you can only do one or two of the heavy weight, but you may see the lighter weight (60's in your case) will seem a lot easier.
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  7. #7
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    hm ill consider that

    and no i dont do warmup sets (mostly for fear of overtraining/volume); what do u mean by "working" sets?
    Last edited by retsmit; 06-27-2005 at 09:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    I do several warmup sets, followed by three "working" or heavy sets for my first exercise, and then just working sets for the others.

    For example:

    db bench: 3 warmups, three working
    db incline: 3 working
    dips: 3 working
    there is no need to 'rewarm' the muscles after the first exercise.

    I am currently following the Max OT program which can be found at: www.ast-ss.com. Just sign up, and take a look. Couldn't hurt.
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  9. #9
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    DB's use alot more stabalizer muscles, I benched over 300lbs but struggled with 100 lbs ers for 5-7 reps. Its slow, really slow but its worth it.

  10. #10
    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBBIRL
    DB's use alot more stabalizer muscles, I benched over 300lbs but struggled with 100 lbs ers for 5-7 reps. Its slow, really slow but its worth it.
    Has anyone done it the reverse way: give up the bar for db's for a while and then come back to barbell with great gains? Seems like everyone goes down when going to db's, but never say if they got more when they went back.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
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  11. #11
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    Yeah, a lot of people switch to DBs just to beat plateaus on the BB.

  12. #12
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG5150
    Has anyone done it the reverse way: give up the bar for db's for a while and then come back to barbell with great gains? Seems like everyone goes down when going to db's, but never say if they got more when they went back.
    I started using dumbells on my bench a few months ago but was never lifting often enough or doing the right amount of weight and reps. Everyone going from barbell to dumbell will experience perceived weakness because DBs are a lot more difficult to stabilize/balance.
    Anyway I started working out seriously about 7 weeks ago (once my school got out) and have always been using dumbells. I started off only using 70's in each hand but now I'm up to the 95's. Well that totals 190 lbs right? And I usually do about 5-8 reps of that. Well a few days ago I decided to check my max on barbell flat bench press and I put up 255... a lot more than I can do on DBs and a lot more than I could ever do even when I was in high school on the football team. Basically I was amped.

    I don't use spotters so the dumbells are crucial for me. I also like the way that you can change the width of your arms mid-rep if needed, I find it's a lot easier on my shoulders. In a nutshell... I believe that DBs are far superior to barbells.

    Edit: Now that I think of it, there's a possibility I'd be able to do around 255lbs on dumbells (125 or so in each hand). Of course without a spotter I'd probably have problems getting them up initially (but obviously I used a spotter for my BB Bench max the other day).
    Last edited by d'Anconia; 06-28-2005 at 12:12 AM. Reason: Now that I think about it

  13. #13
    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    I gotta hit the barbell Friday. It's been a while. last week, I threw up the 80's for 4,4,2. So I figure maybe a buck 85 on the bar.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
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  14. #14
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BG5150
    I gotta hit the barbell Friday. It's been a while. last week, I threw up the 80's for 4,4,2. So I figure maybe a buck 85 on the bar.
    I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up putting up more than that. Let us know what you got after you do it (if you don't mind telling us). I like seeing these little DB-BB relationships. *Cough* Which all happen to suggest that DBs are superior *Cough*.

  15. #15
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    fatrb38, you are sorta misled. 5lbs increase on a DB is like a 25lb increase on the benchpress or maybe even more, and dont forget that your going up 5lbs each hand. BB bench is alot easier because alot of the stabalizre muscles arnt as important.

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