Dumbbells are a phenomenal training tool.
However, I've noticed one mistake lifters consistently commit when using them.
A lot of lifters tend to bang the dumbbells together at the top of dumbbell-based exercises like the Dumbbell Bench Press or Dumbbell Military Press. It may seem like such a minor detail. Like, how much could that matter?
Truth be told, it can matter a lot. And I believe all the small things we do in life and in training, good or bad, will compound and accumulate into big things. You can either get 1 percent better every day, or you can get worse.
I have no idea how this mistake became so common in training. But I do know why we should avoid it.
Safety: Allowing the dumbbells to bump into each other creates a moment of instability in a vulnerable position (overhead). Ninety-nine percent of the time, the athlete may be able to control this instability, but we still don't want to put the athlete in a dangerous position that can be avoided.
The third law of physics states, "For every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction." If you clash the dumbbells together, they will absolutely respond by accelerating in the opposite direction. This could result in loss of posture, grip or control.
Tension: If we allow the weights to touch, we will unload tension from the muscles being targeted. For instance, in a Dumbbell Bench Press, we do want some internal shoulder rotation to maximize pectoral activation. But, if we lose the tension in the pecs, which will occur if the dumbbells touch, then we now have no tension in the pecs and excessive tension in the anterior shoulder. This done repeatedly for thousands of reps over time can contribute to shoulder irritation and/or lack of results from the exercise being improperly executed.
Again, this may seem like such a small detail, but avoiding it can help athletes really maximize the purpose of dumbbell training by owning every portion of the movement. Implement this for increased safety and increase gains. It's a win-win!
Photo Credit: Ibrakovic/iStock
- 5 Performance Benefits of the Dumbbell Bench Press
- Bench Press Hurt Your Shoulder? Here's What You Should Do
- Build a Stronger Chest With the Dumbbell Floor Press