I just realized one thing over my past few workouts: I love heavy dumbbell presses. Most people avoid heavy dumbbell presses like plague. I guess they are anxious of losing control of the dumbbells and have those crashing onto their skull.
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Well I guess I am quite an oddball: I am quite anxious of doing heavy barbell presses (I guess I feel more constricted when there is steel touching my chest area) but I am not anxious about doing heavy dumbbell presses.Follow @AboutLifting
With heavy I mean doing just a max of 5-6 reps with a given weight.
Now here are the reasons why I think heavy dumbbells (5-6 max) is good for me and also for you:
-They work the target muscle deeper and you can feel each and every angle being worked. And don’t even get me started on DOMS or muscle soreness after heavy dumbbell training – which is just out of this world.
-You can’t go UNREASONABLY heavy unlike what you sometimes do with barbells. Since if you won’t be able to handle a pair of dumbbells with a good form, chances are you will not even be able to position them overhead (or even at shoulder level) in the first place.
-It looks DAMN COOL! Heck let’s face it! There is a part of the dumbbell section that only advanced lifters are able to handle for even a clean few reps and it looks damn cool to be one of the people pressing those. Needless to say that it also feels damn great!
-Stabilizer training: Heavy dumbbells train your stabilizers (for the certain move) like nothing else in the world! And the net effect is the stronger your stabilizers are; the more weight you will be able to handle with barbells.
-CNS involvement: As you might have guessed, dumbbell moves stimulate more central nervous system involvement compared to their barbell counterparts. The advantage is that we are looking at GREATER muscle and strength gains from dumbbells than barbells, basically – since adapting with dumbbells will involve more of your CNS thus you will end up with more “neural connections” or at least will lead to a more active neural connection to the muscle group involved.
-You can go to failure: Yep unlike with, let’s say barbell bench press – you would need to leave a few in the tank so that you can re-rack it especially if you are lifting alone. With dumbbell presses you can just reach to failure on your own since the starting position and the ending position are the same – both at the bottom of the move. Here’s my article on positions of the weight during the workout and how to take advantage of them.
So with dumbbells you can just reach for failure with that heavy weight (5 rep max) the just drop the weight to your sides (make sure no one’s there!).
And that reason above is actually my NUMBER 1 reason why I love training cycles when I do dumbbells in place of barbells – especially for presses. So guys don’t you won’t shy away from serious dumbbell training. Eat your eggs, people!