And we’re doing it with room for everybody: Even if you’ve never tried, and are perhaps slightly terrified of dropping the bar on your face, you can still join in.
Probably the easiest way to get started is with a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand. This works your muscles in a different way than a single large barbell, so even if you’re used to the bar you might like to try dumbbell bench presses for a change of pace.
Here’s the trouble, though. Once you get comfortable with the movement, you’ll discover you can bench-press a lot more weight than you can easily carry and otherwise manoeuvre. How do you get into position? What do you do if you can’t finish your last rep?
For answers, I love the tips in this video on benching heavy dumbbells. (Start at 6:23 for a quick overview, or at the beginning for details on why each step matters.)
The key steps in benching heavy dumbbells safely:
Carry the dumbbells from the rack and set them down on the floor.
Once you’re sitting at the bench, position the dumbbells over your feet.
Stand up and deadlift them, and place them on your lap as you sit down.
Kick up one knee and then the other, to hoist the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
Lean back, do your reps, and then kick both feet together to help you sit up.
If you can’t finish a rep, try not to drop the weights; keep them on your chest and kick your knees up like you would at the end of the set.
Ready to try it? If you’re an experienced lifter, you know what to do. If you’re new to this move, start light, take it easy, and see if you can get comfortable with a pair of dumbbells. Either way, you can keep last month’s challenge going and work deadlifts and bench presses into the same workout. Let’s go!