I already discussed the benefits of bench pressing with dumbbells in my article " Why Dumbbell Benches Are Better Than Barbell Benches ." For other reasons, however, the barbell bench press can also be a better exercise variant. The question is not: "Which variant is better?" but: "When is which variant better for whom?". Here are three reasons that make the barbell band back a better exercise variation than the dumbbell bench press.
1. Higher resistance. Because of the greater stability, less range of motion, and the fact that the barbell bench press starts with the eccentric portion of the movement, storing kinetic energy that allows it to move higher loads than when you do the dumbbell bench press with the concentric portion of the movement starts, the barbell bench press can move higher weights/loads than the dumbbell bench press. Lifting more weight means a greater stimulus for the nervous system and thus a greater increase in strength.
2. More muscle fibers are recruited. Higher loads also mean recruiting more muscle fibers needed to generate enough force. This is a key factor in building muscle because more muscle fibers recruited provide greater hypertrophy potential. Since less stabilization is required, you can also work more with the target muscles, in the case of bench press this is primarily the triceps, the chest and the front shoulder. In terms of potential for muscle growth, the barbell bench press is superior to the dumbbell bench press.
3. More practical at high loads. Any lifter who has handled 70+ pound dumbbells will agree that they are more difficult to position and then remove than a barbell that is placed in a bench press or rack holder and only lifted out and back in place must be hung. Given the necessary strength, a 130 kg barbell is significantly easier and less risky to lift and use than two 65 kg dumbbells. In addition, the availability of dumbbells of 40 kg or more is not given in many gyms, which makes the barbell bench press a better exercise in this case if you want to train heavy. However, for safety reasons, you should not do without a spotter, who will help you to put down the barbell safely if the worst comes to the worst, or to successfully complete the concentric repetition if you have overestimated yourself when training with high loads.
Conclusion: There is no generally better exercise variant for the bench press, as with so many exercise variants. See also my current bestseller book: " The Perfect Squat ".
It always depends on the individual case. The questions "What is the goal?", "What is the status of the trainee?" and "What rep range is training in?" determine whether the bench press with dumbbells or with the barbell is the better exercise at the time. In the medium term, both variants should be used in your training programs, as they both have their respective advantages.
Good luck with the barbell bench press!
Image: Ivan Simic doing a barbell bench press in the YPSI.