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Old 06-16-2015, 11:10 AM   #1
GeorgeG.
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This question is for Big A, Strych, Ruffdaddy, and anyone else that lifts with dumbbells.

I'm trying to get into the routine of working out with dumbbells rather than the bar on the bench press. For those that push yourselves with dumbbells, do you work out with a spotter/buddy to help hand you the dumbbells?

I noticed that I struggle to get into position with dumbbells. But once I'm on the bench and have the dumbbells in position, I can workout just fine. Then I struggle to come out of it to put them down. The incline bench is not so bad cause I'm upright. The flat and decline is where I struggle. To come out of it, I've been lowering the db (one at a time) to the floor when I'm done but that strains my shoulders in a way that it doesn't feel good.

This is also keeping me from increasing the weight even though I could potentially lift more once in position.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:22 AM   #2
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To a point, if they're too big to get into position, you need to go lighter to build up your core more. Going to heavy with dumbbells is a fast track to injury.

Ironically for me it's harder to get the heavier dumbbells into position for incline bench and shoulder presses, getting them up is the challenge. Once you start lifting heavier you'll see what I mean. You'll have to set them out on your knee, and use both leg and arm to get it up there. Again, this is something to work up to, practice form, and strengthen the core.

For heavier flat and decline presses I'll start with the dumbbells on my thighs, right at my waist, and then lean them over on to my chest/stomach as I lean back. From there it's easy to drop the elbows and extend the weights out into position.

For the dismount I use a controlled fall, there's a reason that the floor is rubber. Use momentum, and guide the weights to the ground. I'm not talking about throwing them down, you'll piss people off doing that, and potentially break a weight. You aren't setting them down gently by any means, but they shouldn't hit the ground and roll to the bench next to you.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:29 AM   #3
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To expand a little more, the potential for injury here isn't in the lift itself, it's getting the weights into and out of position that's dangerous. That's where your shoulders will be in odd angles, trying to muscle up the weight with the little and less trained stabilizers, and connective tissue that rarely sees stress.

Unlike something like a bicep curl, it's not just the target muscles that you need to focus on, it's the whole movement, start to finish, that needs to progress.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:30 AM   #4
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I lean forward and get the DB's as close to the chest as possible. I then lay back while locking my arms to keep them close to chest and then adjust once I'm laying down. When done with a set I lock my arms straight out and let the weights start to drop forward which then pulls me up into a sitting position, and the DB's land on my legs. The last part takes a bit of getting used to, but is far better than dropping them. You should only use light weight until you get used to the motion. If you can't get full extension on your last rep then lean over to one side as much as possible to set DB on the floor. Do the same for the other while using both hands or shift it to your lap so you can sit up. Whenever I go real heavy on DB's I always use a spotter.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeG. View Post
This question is for Big A, Strych, Ruffdaddy, and anyone else that lifts with dumbbells.

I'm trying to get into the routine of working out with dumbbells rather than the bar on the bench press. For those that push yourselves with dumbbells, do you work out with a spotter/buddy to help hand you the dumbbells?

I noticed that I struggle to get into position with dumbbells. But once I'm on the bench and have the dumbbells in position, I can workout just fine. Then I struggle to come out of it to put them down. The incline bench is not so bad cause I'm upright. The flat and decline is where I struggle. To come out of it, I've been lowering the db (one at a time) to the floor when I'm done but that strains my shoulders in a way that it doesn't feel good.

This is also keeping me from increasing the weight even though I could potentially lift more once in position.
No spotter is needed for getting into position.
For flat bench....I usually just stand up from a deadlift position with the heavier DB's and then set them on my legs and sit down. I then pull them towards me so they are on the upper part of my legs(close to the hips). Then all you have to do is lean back/roll with them in hand and plant your feet and twist the bottom of the dumbbells outwards and you're set.

As for incline, I deadlift them up, sit down, then position them on the farthest portion(right above kneecaps) and kick one up at a time.

I agree completely about the strain on the shoulder on flat bench setting them down. This is exactly why I try to set them down slowly but I do end up tossing them down for the last foot or so. There is a huge difference in dropping from a few inches and throwing them downwards.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:42 AM   #6
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Totally agree with these guys for getting them up.

For getting them down I don't drop them; I reverse the process for getting them up. Bring them in to my chest, lock my elbows tight into my sides, pull my knees upto my chest/dumbbells and rock forward. It will pull you into a hunched over seated position like you started with before the set. Time it right and you can rock right up into a standing position w/ the dumbbells at your sides.

Like Aaron said, getting them up on incline can be a bitch some days. Big knee kick.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:32 PM   #7
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I use the same method as strych for setting down.

I slowly bring the dumbells to my chest right at chest width. Bringing them down i rotate them 90 so that the bar is parallel with my torso. Then i do a crunch while sliding the weight to my hip area. After that i just stand up and reverse deadlift them down. It becomes fluid after a while.

I never have a spot, but its never a bad thing to have one.

Lifting them up i do whats already been mentioned but o use a lot of knee and hip action to get them where i need.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:33 PM   #8
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In saying that, My current gym only goes to like 120, so its been a long time since ive dealt with anything more.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:48 PM   #9
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If you guys are able to reverse the motion to get 'em down, you aren't lifting heavy and/or going to failure.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big A View Post
If you guys are able to reverse the motion to get 'em down, you aren't lifting heavy and/or going to failure.


I did my "reverse" method with 105s this week... but I did not go to failure.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:07 PM   #11
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Hahaha i knew that was coming. I do mostly higher rep stuff nowadays...shoot for 10-12 reps minimum. I havent been over 300 on flat bench in years, but im sure i could still handle it (and to most thats really not heavy).
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:45 PM   #12
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Do you have shoulder issues? Don't baby the weight down for the sake of not dropping it.

Im not sure if my method is right but go back as mentioned above on flat. My last rep I keep the weight extended and just slightly tilt my wrists down to get the weight moving and as it drops I bring my knees up to the dumbell and it will stand me right up. Disclaimer I have never fucked with anything over 100.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:52 PM   #13
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I had shoulder issues for a long time until i stopped going heavy (for me thats maybe 140 dumbells and 300+ flat press). I realize thats relative, but i have no more shoulder issues since ive been doing higher rep stuff.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:54 PM   #14
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ok, thanks for the tips guys. I think I'll go lighter to build up my core a little more. I can definitely tell there's some muscles that weren't getting worked when using the bar.

After thinking about it some more, part of the difficulty, aside from the weight, has to do with my bench. It has the leg attachment so I'm left with straddling the bench like a bicycle while carrying 55's (I 'd like to try my 60's; light weight for most here), or sitting on the bench first, then holding one db on my thigh while reaching down the other side to pick up the other. Both methods gets me a little off balance.

I was avoiding removing the leg attachment but I may try that too to see if it helps a little.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruffdaddy View Post
Hahaha i knew that was coming. I do mostly higher rep stuff nowadays...shoot for 10-12 reps minimum. I havent been over 300 on flat bench in years, but im sure i could still handle it (and to most thats really not heavy).
and now I feel like a bitch (300 NOT heavy...)
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:12 PM   #16
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Strengthen your core with core strengthening exercises. I increased all of my lift confidence once I focused on my core.
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Old 06-16-2015, 03:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeG. View Post
ok, thanks for the tips guys. I think I'll go lighter to build up my core a little more. I can definitely tell there's some muscles that weren't getting worked when using the bar.

After thinking about it some more, part of the difficulty, aside from the weight, has to do with my bench. It has the leg attachment so I'm left with straddling the bench like a bicycle while carrying 55's (I 'd like to try my 60's; light weight for most here), or sitting on the bench first, then holding one db on my thigh while reaching down the other side to pick up the other. Both methods gets me a little off balance.

I was avoiding removing the leg attachment but I may try that too to see if it helps a little.
Yeah i cant imagine doing what i mentioned with a leg attachment. The dumbells always go right between my feet

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and now I feel like a bitch (300 NOT heavy...)
Lol its all relative.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeG. View Post
I was avoiding removing the leg attachment but I may try that too to see if it helps a little.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruffdaddy View Post
Yeah i cant imagine doing what i mentioned with a leg attachment. The dumbells always go right between my feet.
Remove it if you're going heavy, and do them right, it's not worth an injury.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate View Post
and now I feel like a bitch (300 NOT heavy...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruffdaddy View Post
Lol its all relative.
300 is warm-up weight for the big guys.
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Old 06-16-2015, 04:12 PM   #19
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/inserts Terry Crews euro training video.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:10 PM   #20
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