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What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. We have another Iron Face Off here today. This time, pitting variations of the bench-press
up against each other to determine which one is the one. If I had to choose just one that’s going
to give you the most bang for your buck. Now, I’ve got to say right off the bat,
in all these Iron Face Offs I like everything we do. There’s a purpose and meaning for everything
we do that we’re going to cover here today. But again, gun to my head, which one am I
going to pick? I’m going to have to pick one. So, we’re going to break them down one by
one. It starts here with the dumbbell variation
of a bench-press. Now, why are we doing a dumbbell bench-press? A couple of reasons. Number one: we do know that this is an exercise
we can load up fairly heavy and uses a progressive overload exercise. We can get a great range of motion with the
dumbbells because they can come down slightly lower than the chest itself. That might be stopped by the barbell. We also have the opportunity to create a bigger
range of motion. As I bring my arms up straight, I can also
bring them toward each other. However, I will caution you on this. Do not think this is a resisted adduction
exercise. It’s not because when we’re in this plane
here, whether we slide left or right is not really impacted by the weight that’s in
our hands because gravity is acting downward on these weights. What you are feeling is your ability to contract
your chest into more adduction, but it’s not a factor of the resistance of the dumbbells
providing extra there. So be careful about that. But that brings us over to this. This is a standing machine press. Some guys might go “I knew it! Jeff was going to say, ‘the athletic standing
exercise is going to be the best option’.” So, it would be something that would look
like this. We come out here and we press out. We get into a staggered athletic stance, we
press out in front of us. We have more resisted adduction here, right? It is ground based. However, two things are wrong here. Number one: this requires a tremendous amount
of core activation to put myself in position to do this properly. As I start to load up, I have to push this
weight out toward you. As much weight as I could possibly handle,
if I’m looking for that progressive overload. But each amount of weight that I have to push
out toward you is going to be countered by the fact that my core has to be able to stabilize
that and keep me here. The weights are going to try and pull me back. I have to stay here, and I can only do that
with my core activation. Which means you’d better have a strong ass
core to overcome the fact that you’re going to want to press some heavy weights. I don’t think you’re going to be able
to keep up in that race. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, of course, getting into
position here and then having the adduction. Again, it’s not optimal when it comes to
adduction because of the angle here of the weights. Now, you might be thinking “I knew the cables
are still what Jeff likes.” You’re going to want to go down to a flat
bench and do cables like this. Now, in this case, you are getting a tremendous
amount of resisted adduction at the top. You have peak resistance at the top of this
range of motion because of the cables, but one thing you do not have is a good opportunity
to smoothly do this exercise. You’d better be able to curl a hell of a
lot of weight because you’ve got to pick this cable up from this down position and
get in position on the bench to be able to perform it. That is a struggle in itself. I can tell you this: no matter how much you
can bench-press, you’re never going to be able to curl that much weight to get yourself
in place to do it. So where does that bring us? It leaves us over here with the good, old,
barbell bench-press. Now, what is the good advantage of the barbell
bench-press here? Is this the winner? I’ll tell you this: the barbell bench-press
provides us with a slightly less amount of range of motion because you’re simply pushing
this up, straight overhead. But we don’t have that adduction component
because our hands are fixed here by the bar. So, there’s slightly less range of motion
in that regard. However, I minimize the contribution of that
extra range of motion when we talked about the dumbbell bench-press. What you do have here is, because we don’t
have to worry about the demand of stabilization the dumbbells provide, is an opportunity to
push more weight. So, we can get here in the barbell setup,
come down, and press. Not sacrificing all that much in terms of
depth, even though the bar is stuck, in terms of how low you can go because of your chest. But what you have is an opportunity to press
more weight. As anybody that’s performed this lift can
tell you, you have a greater dispersion of the weight and a longer distance. More like a see-saw – than you do when all
that weight is concentrated in your hand in a dumbbell. Which makes it a little easier to press this. Sometimes in the order of 20% more weight
here. So, if you’re looking for an exercise that’s
going to build your strength, this is the winner. We know how important, as a strength and conditioning
coach, strength is to the foundation of what you do. A barbell bench-press will be the winner. I will offer you one other combination, though. If you’re looking to create more hypertrophy,
more stress, more inefficiency as I’ve talked about in our videos before, when it comes
to applying more stress to your chest, so you get more growth, you’d want to perform
your bench-press. But then you’d come right up here and perform
a standing crossover. Something that allows you to get into resisted
adduction with a much more significant weight. The dumbbell bench-press is not applying that. There is no real resistance up top here because
you’re in that frontal plane. Here, I’m using all my strength to be able
to create that adduction across the body with a much more significant amount of stress and
weight against this adduction. So, I have the ability to overload the adduction
and I do it in a drop set format that allows me to take that bench-press one step further. Throw in the fact that, yes, we’re again
on our feet for that athletic additional benefit that always comes from being on your feet. So, guys, if you’ve found this video helpful
make sure you leave your comments and thumbs up below. We have others in the Iron Face Off series
that you’re going to want to check out. In the meantime, let me know what else you
want me to cover and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. If you haven’t already, subscribe and turn
on your notifications so you never miss a video when it’s published. And if you’re looking for programs that
put the science back in strength head to ATHLEANX.com right now and get our ATHLEANX program. Guys, I’ll see you back here again in just
a couple of days.

100 thoughts on “The Best Bench Press Variation for Chest (WINNER!)

  1. NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY – Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! 
    https://giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/iron-faceoff-chest

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

  2. Hey Jeff, could we please get a back edition to the "perfect workout" series? Thanks for all the incredible content!

  3. Speaking of chest exercises, can anyone tell me why I experience pain in my wrists when doing push-ups? Maybe a weakness and the hands/forearms? I'm pretty sure my hand position is good.

  4. Are you guys still making perfect workout series videos? So far, you guys have covered triceps, shoulders, forearms, chest muscle groups? Looking forward to videos for other muscle groups. Thanks.

  5. Sup man. Wondering if you've ever did a video on workouts for men over 40 or not? If not think that be a cool one to do.

  6. Damn, You almost have 1 Billion views on your Channel. That's Insane. Lol As of right now you have a little over 990 Million Views.

  7. Hey Jeff, I’ve been working out for a long time but my diet has been extremely inconsistent. I’m not sure how exactly I would manage to work on fixing up my nutrition. I checked your programs that you offer but I unfortunately can’t afford to be a part of it. Is there any tips or additional websites or so that you can recommend for cleaning up your diet?

  8. I just started watching your videos a couple of weeks ago and I noticed the difference after my first workout. I'm finding muscles that I didn't know I had. Now I'm using your videos to teach my kids proper form as well. Thank you!

  9. What if you used gloves while doing a barbell bench press to be able to have that range of motion by moving your hands across the barbell throughout the exercise

  10. How about a video, dead bench press, pin press, pause reps, touch and go. So many terms to change up the bench press get get higher 1 rep max and I think lifters are confused what they are doing. I see folks using safety bars as pin press but they never unload, they still using reflex like a pause bench, I see folks say dead bench and they touch the bars and push back up and don't let go and reset, I see all kinds of stuff, terms thrown around and damn near doing the same thing. Break this stuff down. I just started doing dead lifts on the bench, bought me a new cage and I'm resting the weight on the bars and pushing up- it's so hard, let it back down rest a few seconds and do it again. I assume I'm doing the real dead bench press. Thanks for all the great video's

  11. Don't understand why people talk shit on Jeff's videos and advice. Literally the most accurate advice I have got from anyone! So glad I was introduced to his videos.

  12. I find bench press works the triceps more and puts stress on the shoulders. I don't feel much in the chest….

  13. Hey Jeff I got a question, you prolly won’t read this but it’s worth the shot. So I have been trying to grow my chest for the longest and believe me it has came a long way but it’s still not where I want it. At first I used to always go hard and do too much volume and over train it. It got strong pretty fast but most of them was noob gains. It also got stronger faster than usual Bc I was building strength instead of muscle. I was doing that by hitting 4-6 reps every set on barbell bench press. ( I’ve always heard big bench = big chest ) so I have made bench my priority. A year ago I couldn’t hit 1 rep for 135 and now my 1 RM is 210. I’ve noticed my strength went up but my chest hasn’t really grown, so then I realized I needed to do more hypertrophic work outs to build more muscle instead of strength. I’ve been doing 10 reps on my bench for the past 3 weeks and my pumps have been better and my chest has lowkey been looking bigger already but I don’t know. Am I on the right track? I just want my chest to get bigger lol

  14. Incredible! To summarize:
    1. Dumbbells – stable, great range of motion w/ progressive overload, mild core activation
    2. Cables – strong core activation, phenomenal hypotrophy potential
    3. Barbell – Huge for strength gains, limited range of motion, best weight distribution

    In summary, ground based is essential for athletic gains. Use Barbell and Dumbbell to build overload, and the assistance of gravity on cables to target muscles beyond failure.

  15. According to former pro bodybuilder & biomechanics expert Doug Brignole (author of THE PHYSICS OF FITNESS) the best chest exercise is the DB decline press. He says the decline angle hits the entire pec, upper, middle and lower. What is your response?

  16. My son asked for a membership to AthleanX for his birthday last year. He signed up, and we used my email address for the video notifications. I don't think I've missed a video since. He doesn't use it but I've used so much of your instructional information in my own workouts that it's made a huge difference in my fitness level. I love it!! I've even been able to address a chronic piriformis issue that has been so painful for so long with your help! I'm 56 and probably the most fit I've ever been. Thank you Jeff!! (Okay, and Jesse, too, I guess.lol)

  17. Hey jeff! Big fan here from Canada! I've been watching you for so long now but it has been exactly 14 months till i decided to take my fitness to the next level. I never miss a vid! I have been struggling getting some mass and strength on my chest workouts. But i have like pretty big lifts for my size (e.g. i can deadlift 365 kbs while being 162 lbs and having an estimate of 14% bf) but my chest hasn't even hit 2 plates yet. Im just really curious why its been like this. Mind helping me out jeff?

  18. I'm loving that standing cross over combo with its variation of the drop down. Big difference for me with my over all strength.

  19. Hi. İf I do not have opportunity to attend a gym, can I replace a bench press with a weighed push ups (with a backpack) or can i improve a bench press results by weighed incline and weighed classic push ups. Thanks in advance

  20. I hate bench presses and dead lifts, because I gym alone. Are there any alternatives I can do that are equally effective?

  21. Can the that staggered stance effect you in the same way it would for the single arm low rows?? I tend to stand with both feet in line for both.

  22. Dumbbell press is also better for injured shoulders, as Jeff mentioned in another video. You maintain a better shoulder angle.

  23. I appreciate you speaking to us while exercising Jeff, I already know most of these exercises but you always correct me do it the right way! Thank you! ❤️

  24. Hi Jeff, could the standing Xover be replaced with a seated Butterfly if I have no access to a cable machine? any compromises or benefits? thoughts?

  25. Come on Jeff you are giving the dumbbell version a bad name. You could be rotating them, doing a guillotine press (resisted adduction) or dumbbells pointed up.

  26. If you want athletic performance and not just bulk wouldn't the stability demands of the dumbbell press give you more usable strength in a performance situation?

  27. Im going to be 50 in a few months. Last year i Was really out of shape…but with proper eating now and all these videos im down from 235 to 185 and look pretty damn good. Thanks for the videos Jeff!!!!

  28. I need help!!!!!!!!
    I am 45 years old 5'11" and i dnt take any supplements.

    My current chest routine that i perform on mondays tuesdays wed and fridays are;

    280 lbs 5 sets of 7 or till failure with a rest point of 1 minute between sets..then drop dwn to 230 4 sets of 10 or till failure with a rest point of 45 seconds between sets then drop dwn to 200lbs 3 sets of 10 or till failure with rest time of 45 seconds between sets. Then i do a incline bench press of 200lbs 30degree incline 5 sets of 7 with 45 to a minute rest time inbetween sets then i move to a pec dec and perform 5 sets of 12 at 225lbs with 45 sec to 1 minute rest time. Then i call it a day. . Bench and inclime are performed on smith machine due to prior scare and no spotter. I dnt see any difference as i been doing this for 3 months of but have been working out for a year and gradually increased to were im at now. Is there a better way to pack on mass and definition or should i continue this and not give up, i wouls like to have more definition at this point, and its a little harder because i started out with man boobs, an6 suggestions would help greatly and i have not changed my diet , still byrger fries and tacos,

  29. I don’t have that cable machine (I turned my room into a gym I have a bench press, bowflex, adjustable dumbbells, and a pull up tower) will my bowflex do the same thing?

  30. The bench press is very limited in its movement and only really uses outer pecs and minimal inner pecs because of resisted movement.

    Dumbells gets Greta contraction but can't go as heavy.

    To combat this my chest program is twice a week as follows

    3×10 dumbbell press
    3×10 incline dumbbell press
    3x 10 cable crossovers

    2nd workout later that week I do
    3 X 6 barbell bench press
    3x 6 close grip bench press

    3 X 6 incline barbell press
    3 X 6 incline close grip ez bar press

  31. Great video like always. I have question can someone tell me the model of his pants, i can't find them in eu store. Cheers

  32. Jeff goes all out of the way to give us the best. Thank you for your hard work dear Jeff! It's appreciated and I highly admire how you carry yourself and stay in top shape! Cheers man! 😊

  33. Jeff, I only have a smith machine for bench pressing. What would you say is better for activation on my chest, the smith machine and dumb press??

  34. Well well… That's pretty much my basic chest routine. I go heavy with barbell bench press, and then "kill the muscles" with flys after that(using dropsets sometimes).

  35. I used to be stuck at a certain weight on barbell. I ditched barbell for dumbbells years back and when I returned to barbell I was through the roof. For me anyways, it seemed I always felt it in my chest more with dumbbells and the stabilization challenge seemed to increase my overall bench capabilities. Granted I would always be able to move more total weight on barbell but that for me didn’t result in increased gains. Dumbbells in the past have always helped me break through barriers. Maybe it’s just me but if I don’t touch dumbbells I get stuck much earlier on barbell.

  36. Keeping your shoulders down while using a barbell rather than dumbbells just feels like an extremely unnatural movement.

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