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Old 01-29-2011, 11:21 AM   #1
Trevor Ross
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Default BB Bench & Rows vs DB Bench & Rows

Most would say due to the fact that you can handle more weight on the barbell versions, that they would be better mass building exercises. I say phooey! I think since the range of motion is superior with the dumbbells (better scapular retraction for the bench which is key for pec recruitment, better lat contractions with the rows because the bar isn't hitting your gut) they would be better for development of the lower chest and lats. Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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I dont do db bench very often because of shoulder injuries. DB rows on the other hand are great, problem is that most gym dont have db's big enough. I have to work in the 15-20 rep range with the biggest one at my gym, 130's i think and its more like doing cardio.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by big_swede View Post
I dont do db bench very often because of shoulder injuries. DB rows on the other hand are great, problem is that most gym dont have db's big enough. I have to work in the 15-20 rep range with the biggest one at my gym, 130's i think and its more like doing cardio.
That sucks, because at my gym we go over 200s for our db's. Since you have shoulder problems do you bench with the barbell on a decline, or do you just bench flat and say to hell with it?
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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Im am just about to start using DB's for bench so as to try to give the pecs a better stretch. With the Barbell my shoulders hurt if the grip is too wide, but then it means as my grip is a bit closer my triceps are taking over quite a bit.

I think a combination of BB and DB rows would be the best way to go as you will recruit the muscles slightly differently with each, but still hit the back hard to cause growth.

just my 2p worth

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Old 01-29-2011, 11:45 AM   #5
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That sucks, because at my gym we go over 200s for our db's. Since you have shoulder problems do you bench with the barbell on a decline, or do you just bench flat and say to hell with it?
Wish i had access to those 200lbs!

Shoulders are fine at the moments but i can feel it from the DB bench so i stay away from it. Incline and Flat are no problem so im doing em both.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
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I like dumbbell rows better than barbell rows. I can handle much more weight, they are better on the lower back, and I can focus slightly better on raw explosion and contraction. I can knock out about 275 for 5 strict reps on Pendlay rows, but on dumbbell rows I think I could do 240-275x5 if I had that much weight. Right now I only can go to 215 on dumbbell rows.

I still use barbell rows though. The one issue I have with dumbbell rows is that 3 sets are basically 6 sets, so they take longer.

Dumbbell bench can be harder on the shoulders just because of the instability. No matter how many times I perform the lift, I still never feel perfectly in control of the dumbbells.

I use both barbell and dumbbell bench press, but I generally prefer close grip bench press over dumbbell bench press.

In any case, they are all compound lifts, which is uber. Lat pull downs are fail for me, as are flyes. I dislike both.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by big_swede View Post
Wish i had access to those 200lbs!

Shoulders are fine at the moments but i can feel it from the DB bench so i stay away from it. Incline and Flat are no problem so im doing em both.
I think our gym goes up to 165lbs, but i doubt i could get them off the rack

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Old 01-29-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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I like DB Rows a lot; unfortunately my gym only has DB's up to 100lbs, which are far too light. BB Rows are one of my staple movements and I accredit much of my upper back strength to their use.

Re the Benching thing: Technically, the Bench Press is a Tricep exercise, since your chest muscles are actually abductors for your arms.
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re the Benching thing: Technically, the Bench Press is a Tricep exercise, since your chest muscles are actually abductors for your arms.
Agreed. I have never considered the benchpress a pec isolation movement. Its a upperbody movement all in all.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
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Unfortunately many try to turn compound lifts into isolation lifts in an attempt to hammer only one muscle group, and add all sorts of techniques (via the use of intense focus on contractions, whatever) to do so. This, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of doing them...

This is one of the major issues I have with modern bodybuilding splits...every exercise gets categorized by bodypart, which isn't really the way things work in the gym. And the next step once that exercise has been classified is to focus on turning it into more of an isolation lift.

I do not care for this approach...But that is a topic for another thread.
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