Most people like to do this exercise with a Barbell but I prefer using Dumbbells because they are safer and give you a better range of motion.
Range of motion basically means your arms are able to move in a more natural way and is important especially when you are lifting heavier weights. That’s why a lot of injuries occur when people use Barbells, they limit your range of motion and put more stress on the joints.
Using Dumbbells also requires you to use more of your “stabalizer” muscles to keep the weight controlled while you are pressing the weight up and bringing it back down. When you use stabalizer muscles you work more of the muscles that are involved in a natural movement which recruits more muscles fibers therefore giving you a better workout. So it’s a bit harder to do 150lbs of Dumbbell Presses than 150lbs of Barbell Bench Presses because the Dumbbells require the involvement of more muscles to keep the weight balanced.
Also, if you workout at home, dumbbells are perfect because they don’t take up much space. I use barbells and dumbbells at home since I have enough space in my basement but if I had to pick one or the other, I would pick a set of dumbbells any day. You can also do more exercises with dumbbells which is another plus.
I use Cast Iron Dumbbells because I bought them years ago when they were cheap but these days they are quite expensive, about $1 per pound so if you buy a set of 30lb dumbbells it’s going to cost you $60 just for that one set of dumbbells. Now they have adjustable dumbbell sets that give you the ability to go from 5lbs all the way up to 130lbs per hand. I’ve researched a tried out several of these adjustable dumbbell sets and my favorite is the Sport Block.
Ok so here is a quick video to demonstrate how to do the dumbbell bench press with a Cameo appearance by Bella. Please exuse the appearance, I filmed it in my basement which is where I workout. Sorry no beautiful studio here folks, just going Renegade style cause that’s how we roll. No time to worry about finding the perfect spot, just find a spot and get it done.
If you want to build your chest muscles, the general rule is to keep your reps (repetitions) in the 8-12 range. Doing less reps with heavier weight will help build more power and doing more reps with lighter weight will help build more muscle endurance and burn a little more fat. In terms of number of sets, the general rule of thumb is to do 3-5 sets per exercise. Those are the ranges I use and have used for years and I’ve seen great results.
If you’ve got hangups about using weights to get yourself in better shape, I strongly suggest you get over it. Weights aren’t for meatheads, they’re for everybody. Since us Dad’s have less free time than the average non-Dad, we need to find ways to get the most out of every minute and weights are a great way to do that.
Think about this for a minute. Most of us spend the majority of our day in a fairly sedentary state. We go to work, sit at the desk for x number of hours then we come back home exhausted and spend a good chunk of time sitting on the couch. So our bodies adapt to this sedentary lifestyle and get weaker.
We need to fight back against this process and doing a couple quick sets of weight exercises a few days a week will do a great job at reversing the negative effects of this sedentary routine.
After all it just might help you feel more energetic and better able to tackle the physical activities of “dadhood” like picking up your kid/s a thousand times a day, carrying them, getting them in and out of the car and all that kind of stuff that you know becomes a bit challenging at times.
So what are you going to do? Sit on your ass and wait for things to be perfect? Or finally take a step toward becoming a more energetic, strong and fit Dad?