What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. So I always say here, on this channel, that
it’s not what you do, but it’s how you do it that matters the most. Today I’m going to show you just using one
exercise example – the dumbbell bench press, which I’m going to do up here on an incline,
but the same thing would apply if you were doing it flat – how you push the dumbbells
up over your chest really, really matters. It shifts the focus of where you’re feeling
the exercise. Maybe from that you’re not feeling where you
should, to one where you should when you’re doing the exercise correctly. So let me explain. When we do the exercise we have options. We can turn the dumbbells either forward,
and face them away from us, or we could face them toward each other. When we press them we could do nothing with
our hands and keep them locked in place, or we could actually move the wrists and hands
as we press. So we can lead with the thumbs as we go up. Leading with the thumbs that way, tilting
the dumbbells up on the inside, or we could lead with the pinkies, toughen the dumbbells
up more from the outside. So that alone will give us many, many options
in terms of shifting where we feel the exercise because if we’re trying to do this for the
chest – which 95% of us are trying to do – then we’d better arm ourselves with the
best technique for doing that. What you’re going to want to do for that is
start with the dumbbells facing away from you and as you press up you want to tilt the
inner half upwards. In other words, lead with the thumbs here. I’ll show you what it looks like straight
into the camera in a second, but I’m basically leading with the thumbs all the way up to
the ceiling, tilting those dumbbells up toward each other. Here, and up toward each other. So what it looks like is this: dumbbells are
here, tilting, tilting, tilting, until the thumbs are touching each other. Down, tilt, tilt, tilt, here, the thumbs are
leading the way. Pinkies are down at the bottom. Why does that work? Because we’re actually using the position
of the hands and wrists knowing that they’re connected to the rest of our arm to get a
different response from the upper arm. We’re getting more of this adduction. The biceps are coming closer toward each other
at the top, which is a function of the chest to adduct your arms across it. So you’re getting more chest activation by
leading with the thumbs at the top. On the other hand, maybe you’re feeling it
too much in your shoulders. Maybe you do the exercise and you’re like
“I always feel my front delts get fried first.” Likely what you’re doing is, you’re doing
the exercise out of this neutral grip. When I do it out of the neutral press, right
here even alone you’ll probably feel it – just even the first few reps – that you’re getting
more activation of the front delts. But if you’re doing anything like I showed
you before where you’re actually leading a little bit of the way with your thumbs here,
now you’re really going to feel it in the front delts. Now if that’s something you’re targeting that’s
fine. You probably don’t want to do that. So what you’re looking to do is avoid this
positioning. Neutral grip and any type of leading with
the thumbs. A lot of times you can cast your thumbs because
you’re trying to get a little extra cheat. But what that’s doing is, is doing almost
a front shoulder raise. If I had the dumbbell right here in front
of me and I’m lifting up, like that, you could see I’m leading with the thumb all the way
up and that’s just what I’m doing here, except I’m doing it out of a bench position. Lastly, the triceps can actually get an influence
if you change that positioning of the hand as you lift and what you want to do there
is instead of leading with the thumbs on the way up, turning the dumbbells up this way,
you want to lead with the outer half of the dumbbell. So you want to lead with the pinkies. You do it from a little bit more of a tighter
press angle here. So you’re leading this way, and then down. So you lead with the bottoms of the dumbbells. If you’re a little bit in this position here,
it’s more of the outside part of the dumbbells and you press up to the top, and down. Lead with the outside. Lead with the pinkies all the way up and come
back down. Again, what you’ve got going on there is you’re
getting more involvement and flexion and extension here with the elbow, which is going to get
the tricep to work more. So you’re just leading this way. It’s an interesting option really, because
some people that bench press and have shoulder pain and think they can’t do anything, it’s
because you’re really relying on the front delt and the chest to work together, predominantly. Then the triceps get shut down a little bit. If you do it the way I’m showing you here
and press a little more leading with the pinkies you’ll find that the triceps will take over
a lot of the contribution of the work with the chest and you’ll alleviate a lot of that
shoulder discomfort. So it’s not a completely useless option. It’s something that actually could be useful
if you’re dealing with shoulder pain when pressing. So the most important thing though is realizing
that the way you change the small details on just one exercise really showcases how
important it is to get them right. As a matter of fact, we covered in another
exercise, another video, the differences between the grip width and the positioning on a chin
up or pull up that dramatically changes where, in the kinetic chain, you feel that exercise. I’ll actually link that for you here if you
haven’t seen that. It’s yet another example of how everything
matters when you’re in the gym and putting the science back in what you do is ultimately
going to determine the results that you get. If you’re looking for a program that does
that head to ATHLEANX.com and get our ATHLEANX training program. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what you want me to cover in a
future video and I’ll do my best to do that. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 thoughts on “Dumbbell Bench Press (BETTER CHEST ACTIVATION!)

  1. I have dumbbells at home how can I do it? I don't have that kind of chair (idk what it's called) can I lay on the floor and do it?

  2. Dumbbells bench presses are good, but it is difficult to handle the dumbbell at heavy weights. I can't control or lift a 100lb dumbbell in each hand, but I can easily bench press on a bar 200lbs.

  3. Why complicate a simple and good method? Your knowledge is driving you crazy man! I don't agree with you on this brother!

  4. I have a sore shoulder (once dislocated and twice torn rotator cuff) and often bench press will cause this pain to return. I will try this exercise by leading with the pinkies… I will report back! 🙂

  5. When i do the dumbbell bench press my arms hurt and wants to lock. I was taking 36kg each arm without these but somehow i lost alot of strength and dropped down to 26, and my arms hurt shitlot more than with the 36 kg. Does this happen to someone else or just me?

  6. That’s how I’ve always done it. Feels better on the shoulder joints. I also do This when doing db shoulder pressing.

  7. You r entirely different than other. Your training is joint friendly and correct isolation training for more gain .I'm big fan of you.thank you

  8. Every time i do DB bench press, it seems my forearm and biceps get fatigued and i don't feel it in my chest at all.
    Same goes with regular benchpress. My arms are fatigued, and i don't feel it at all in my chest.
    So in my routine i go Bench press first, then DB bench press and my arms are leveled and i don't feel it in my chest at all
    Though it is worth mentioning i am newb at point in my training at the gym.

  9. How many sets and reps should I do and what weight should a beginner start in? Per dumbbell I usually do like 14KG for arms workout

  10. Bench press can lead to injury.

    By doing resistance banded pushups and other chest building exercises with resistance bands, you can still strengthen your chest with less risk of injury.

    Check out this article for more:


  11. The thing I like about OfficialThenx is that they show us good calisthenics workouts and Athleanx shows us good weight workouts

  12. How does Jeff read my mind? The perfect vid comes up in my, feed YouTube is hacking my brain.

  13. I am predominantly a cardio guy, jump rope, running etc. I've been advised to add some strength. Mainly pull, push, squat. So maybe row or chin ups, this and squat. I have dumbbells and a bench. For basic strength that I'm after, is one arm row the best ' opposite' to this?

  14. Been following your videos and have made huge improvements in my form and muscle tone. Thank you for providing so much quality information!

  15. The info was awesome thank you! But how does the form effect the shoulders? I have a bad shoulder and have seen many videos about how to get those stronger. But I feel like my form by just be shit with the pressing motion. Just would like to know the proper form to keep my shoulder in the right position. Anything you can do to help I would appreciate it.

  16. Hurt my shoulder bench pressing and by leading with the pinky and getting the triceps involved I'm putting up numbers I'm proud of. Thanks for spreading the knowledge!

  17. question: ………I notice my shoulder hurts whenever I try to do even a slight incline dumbbell bench……flat is no problem……what am I doing wrong?….thanks

  18. 2 months ago I started with 17.5 kg 8×3 in flat dumbell bench press. Today I did 30kg x 6m. I am 65 kg ligh.. Am I cheating or what hhaha? Trying explosive push and slowly down

  19. good stuff Jeff. I have incorporated some of your moves into my own "regiment" It's quite unorthodox. The way I prefer these days. But yeah, all the good burn spots I'm finding all over is a game changer. The smallest wrist adjustment changes everything. It's amazing and you don't need to go super heavy. I've seen crazy gains. I push all the way through the "hurt" and the pay offs are great. Love your stuff.

  20. I've tried all of these things and they don't work for me. I have no shoulder injuries but they burn pretty much straight away when I try the bench press and I never feel anything in my chest. I've tried pinning my shoulders back, arching my back, leading with my pinkie, leading with my chest. I've tried the techniques with light weight, no weight. Is there something else I'm overlooking because at the moment it seems impossible to do it correctly?

  21. I did this today at the gym, did it one arm at a time and in my left I really felt it in my shoulders but right I felt it in my chest but for both I held a neutral grip. Will try this out next chest day.

  22. When I first found out about athlean x 6 years ago, I didn't realize it would change my life. Lol. Thanks Jeff. You didn't allow me to have any more excuses.

  23. Is there any concern for wrist pain/injury if you lead with the pinkies? Just curious if someone picks up heavy weights and that wrist is leading?

  24. I would like to see you create an instructional video on how old guys should workout to include how long – how frequent reps anything else you can think of that should be informative. Thanks in advance

  25. Hey Jeff, just curious on the risk/reward of the two variations you mentioned earlier as it looks very likely to stress your wrist joint if you try to bench as you normally do.

    It just seems that with the radial or ulnar flexion from the two variations your ability to overload on the dumbbell press is going to be very much limited without risking tendonitis on either the extensor carpi ulnar and radial tendons.

    If we have to limit the weight on these exercise would there be any different in benefits compared a more overloaded dumbbell bench with a regular grip?

  26. There are those that do, those that bitch out and those who complain. Which one are you? Do it like how Jeff said and see the results.

  27. I've always started with the dumbbells like you'd hold a barbell, and rotated them inwards. I promise it worked.

  28. Wow what a BIG difference from a small and minimal adjustment. Thanks so much for the tip. You're Awesome. #Stayinclined2KeepTeaching so much needed.

  29. Whoever says this works probably only presses light weight. If you press 90lbs on each side, you can't really tilt the dumbell unless you wanna kill yourself.

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