The Ideal Dumbbell Bench Press

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Two for the price of one.

When you think of “bench pressing,” you usually think of lifting one giant barbell, right? That it is indeed the traditional bench press, laying on your back and lifting one huge, heavy weighted bar, but it’s not the only kind of bench press. You can also bench press with two separate dumbbells, and debatably, this is a better method to use. After all, two dumbbells with targeted weights allow you to direct the weight right where you want it to go, as opposed to a single barbell working your entire body.

So how do you do the ideal targeted dumbbell bench press? Well, let’s ask everyone’s favorite ripped movie star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Recently, Johnson posted on his personal Instagram about his ideal dumbbell bench press, as he’s been bulking up in preparation for his next big role in DC’s Black Adam.

Johnson’s routine is all about directly targeting the muscle fibers in his pectorals, and the best way to do that is to perform slow, careful lifts, each movement lasting about three seconds. Johnson keeps his shoulders behind his pecs as he lays down, which forces the weight and pressure onto his chest. By keeping the pressure in that area and making his motions slow and deliberate, his pecs spend more time under tension and make each rep count for quite a bit. To clarify, Johnson lifts with 120 pound dumbbells with 10 reps at a time, but he’s also huge already, so you can definitely adapt this to lower weights.

The most important thing is to properly flex your pecs while lifting; really get the pressure in there. Don’t swing your arms or try to extend them completely; put it all on those pecs.