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Heavy dumbbell presses are the cornerstone of any upper body accessory training program. Whether performing them on an incline, decline, flat bench, or standing it is necessary to press heavy dumbbells weekly to build mass and strength.
Dumbbells allow the shoulder to move freely, placing a greater strain on the muscles and tendons of the chest, arms, and shoulders. This makes dumbbells a superior option when specifically training the upper torso and arms for pressing. Here are exercises and guidelines to explain how to include heavy dumbbell presses into your accessory work.
The bench accessory exercise that has worked since the beginning of time. Focus on using only your triceps, deltoids, and pectoral muscles as much as possible. To further target these muscles you can lift your legs and press with strictly your torso. Suggested set and rep scheme for these are 4-6 sets of 8-10 reps.
This exercise is good for developing power in the bench press, as well as the overhead press depending on the chosen incline. For bench focused incline dumbbell presses use a slight to moderate incline. To focus on overhead press strength use a steep incline. Suggested set and rep scheme for these are 4-6 sets of 8-10 reps.
A great way to use heavy dumbbells to target the triceps, and can be done hammer grip style to increase the focus on the triceps. A slight to moderate decline is all that is needed. Suggested set and rep scheme for these are 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps.
This exercise is one of the best ways to increase shoulder strength and stability that will directly carry over to the overhead press. Additionally, this exercise targets the upper back muscles that assist in pressing heavy barbell weight.
You can do these with two dumbbells at the same time, or press one dumbbell with one arm alternating between arms. Suggested set and rep scheme for these are 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps.
Here is a way to utilize heavy dumbbell presses on your lower days. With this exercise you will want to pick up the dumbbell and clean it to shoulder height with a hammer style grip.
Once you get the dumbbells to shoulder level you will turn them parallel with the shoulder to complete the press. It is best to start light with these if you are a beginner with the clean and press, but once
you can train these with heavy dumbbells you will have a great exercise in your arsenal to add pounds onto your barbell clean and press.
It’s simple, if you want to press a heavy barbell, you need to press heavy dumbbells. Whether its flat dumbbell presses for sets of 8 to increase bench press strength, or standing dumbbell presses to increase your overhead press, heavy dumbbell presses are something you should be doing weekly during your upper body accessory training.