If you’re doing dumbbell presses instead of bench press, you’re gay and you’re not fooling anyone. Dumbbell presses should only ever supplement your bench, never replace it. You may temporarily replace the bench press with dumbbells in order to get a necessary break from bench, which is sometimes useful for overcoming a plateau. But you’d better be putting up a worthy weight or else people will peg you for a fuck-boy just trying to get his peacock on.
Select a warm up weight that is 20-30% lower than your bench warm up. Using a good flat bench, usually found near the dumbbell rack, grab your weights in a hammer grip and position them over your knees. As you sit down, the dumbbells should come to rest on your knees.
As you start to lay back, pull the weights across your body toward your chest in one fluid motion. The momentum of your body laying back should be doing most of the work getting the weights to your chest. As you pull the weights back, swing your elbows out and rotate the weights to a more perpendicular plane. It should be about armpit width.
Keep your shoulder blades pinched back, lower back arched. Press the weights up, touching the ends together at the top and squeezing your pecs when you get there. Lower the weights back to your pits. Get good and warm. When your set is done, lower the weights to the ground in a hammer grip. When you get to your working weight, you’ll have to reposition the weights from your ending point to your starting point, which will be at your feet. From your feet, deadlift the dumbbells up to your thighs again and repeat the above process.
If you really want to punish yourself, you can superset these with chest flys, which we will cover again in a few weeks. But dumbbell presses are great for bench support, as they will give addition attention to your balance and support muscles.