Originally Posted by logansc
Question for the experts...what are the advantages/ disadvantages of using dumbells for bench press instead of the bar+plates?
With the barbell, your hands are in a fixed position so your range of motion is more limited. You also need a spotter when attempting a very heavy weight, but with the dumbbells you can just drop them if you need. I actually used dumbbells to improve my bar press. I often worked out without a spotter so I used heavy dumbbells for safety. My barbell press went up dramatically as a result of dumbbell training. Barbell presses are actually easier to do lb. for lb. because the bar is easier to balance. For example, I could press 315 on the bar for 2 reps, but only 125 on the dumbbells. Simple arithmetic would say that I should be able to dumbbell press 155-160 lb. dumbbells, but because of the balancing act, I probably couldn't have done them. I say probably because 125 were the heaviest dumbbells in the gym where I used to work so it's hard to say for certain. Either way, dumbbell presses are more difficult to do than barbell presses P4P. To recap: The barbell can be used with heavier weights than with dumbbells and it's a good way to develop pressing power. The drawback is that you'd need a spotter when using heavy weights. Dumbbells are good for a deeper stretch at the bottom and top of the movement. You also don't need a spotter with dumbbells. A drawback is that you can't go as heavy because of the difficulty in balancing dumbbells. Most gyms don't carry huge dumbbells for extremely strong members.