Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press: Form, Benefits & Expert Tips   

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When it comes to building strength and muscle in the upper body, the dumbbell bench press is a popular and effective exercise.  

However, by incorporating an alternating arm movement into this exercise, you can further enhance its benefits and engage your muscles in a different way.  

In this article, we’ll explore the form, benefits, and provide expert tips for performing the alternating dumbbell bench press.  

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, this exercise can help you achieve a well-rounded and strong upper body. So, let’s dive in and discover the power of alternating dumbbell bench pressing! 

Form and Technique 

To perform the alternating dumbbell bench press, follow these steps: 

Set up correctly: Sit on a flat bench or lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Start with the dumbbells resting on your thighs. 

Begin the movement: Using your legs for momentum, kick the dumbbells up to your shoulders one at a time. Make sure your palms are facing forward, and your wrists are in a neutral position. 

Lower the dumbbell: Start with one arm and lower the dumbbell slowly and controlled towards your chest. Keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle as you lower the weight. 

Press the dumbbell up: Push the dumbbell back up to the starting position by extending your arm fully. As you press the weight up, focus on squeezing your chest muscles. 

Alternate arms: Once you have completed a rep with one arm, lower the weight back down to your chest while simultaneously pressing the other arm up. Continue alternating arms for the desired number of reps. 

Maintain stability and control: Throughout the exercise, keep your core engaged and maintain stability in your body. Avoid excessive arching of the lower back or using momentum to lift the weights. Focus on controlled movements and a full range of motion. 

Benefits of Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press 

Muscular Imbalance Correction: The alternating dumbbell bench press helps to address any muscular imbalances that may exist between the left and right sides of your body. By performing the exercise unilaterally, you ensure that each arm works independently, promoting balanced muscle development. 

Enhanced Stability and Core Activation: By lifting and lowering one arm at a time, the alternating dumbbell bench press challenges your core muscles and promotes greater stability. This exercise engages your core to maintain balance and control throughout the movement. 

Increased Muscle Activation: The alternating dumbbell bench press recruits more stabilizer muscles compared to the regular bench press. This exercise activates the shoulders, triceps, and chest muscles to a higher degree, resulting in greater overall muscle engagement. 

Improved Range of Motion: Alternating between arms allows for a more significant range of motion compared to the regular bench press. The increased range allows for a deeper stretch in the chest muscles, promoting improved flexibility and muscle development. 

Expert Tips for Performing the Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press 

Start with a manageable weight: When starting with the alternating dumbbell bench press, choose a weight that allows you to maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise. As you become more comfortable and stronger, gradually increase the weight. 

Focus on form and control: Proper form is crucial in maximizing the benefits of the exercise. Avoid bouncing the weights off your chest and using momentum to lift the weights. Instead, focus on a controlled eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) phase for each repetition. 

Maintain a stable position: Ensure your body remains stable throughout the exercise. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, engage your core, and avoid excessive movement or arching of the back. A stable base allows for optimal muscle activation and reduces the risk of injury. 

Control the weights independently: As you alternate between arms, maintain control over each dumbbell. Avoid swinging or jerking the weights, and focus on lifting and lowering the weights with control and precision. 

Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press vs. Regular Dumbbell Bench Press 

While both exercises offer benefits, there are a few key differences: 

Muscle Activation: The alternating dumbbell bench press places a greater demand on stability and engages more stabilizer muscles compared to the regular dumbbell bench press. This increased activation helps promote balanced muscle development and improved stability. 

Core Engagement: The alternating dumbbell bench press requires greater core activation to maintain balance and stability during the unilateral movement. This added engagement can help strengthen your core muscles and improve overall stability. 

Range of Motion: Alternating between arms allows for a greater range of motion compared to the regular dumbbell bench press. The increased range helps stretch and activate the chest muscles more effectively. 

Stability Ball Chest Press as a Variation 

If you’re looking to add variation to your chest workout, you can try the stability ball chest press.  

Instead of using a bench, you’ll perform the dumbbell bench press while lying on a stability ball.  

This variation challenges your core stability and engages more stabilizer muscles throughout the movement.

To sum up; the alternating dumbbell bench press is a valuable exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps while promoting stability and core activation. 

 Incorporating this exercise into your workout routine can help correct muscular imbalances, enhance stability, and increase overall muscle activation.  

Remember to focus on proper form, control the movement, and gradually progress in weight as your strength improves.  

By understanding the benefits and following the expert tips provided, you can optimize your alternating dumbbell bench press and achieve a stronger, well-rounded upper body. 

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