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Dumbbell bench press - mental barrier to going heavier(7 Posts)
I've been going to the gym since last May and I'm loving it. I'm able to do sets of bench presses using 8kg and 10kg dumbbells easily but when my trainer gave me the 12kg dumbbells I immediately thought they seemed really heavy and doubted I would be able to lift them. My trainer said the strength is definitely there for me to do it but I only managed two sets and couldn't get through the third. Today I couldn't make it through one set but I was thinking the whole time that I wouldnt be able to do it. I'm not sure if I'm panicking or not strong enough for it. How do you judge when you're ready to move up? Thanks
I think part of the problem is being afriad to drop them and seeing them hovering above my face...
I find most of my struggles at the gym are mental, not physical! My PT is really good at breaking things down for me, and giving me safe options and let outs - if I know that if I'm really struggling I can modify, I tend to try to battle through.
Think it through with your technique - I find that is almost always the answer to what seems like a physical strength barrier.
Use your breath to push them up there.
Double check technique.
Trust your PT - is he spotting you? If I'm doing a heavy squat or overhead press (my PT doesn't tend to give me bench presses) he's lurking behind, ready to catch or help. His hovering is annoying and has the effect of making me determined NOT to need his help - I'm sure this is his aim! (He's a very good trainer & all round top bloke).
Thanks for your message, yesPT is right behind me. It’s the first thing I’ve failed at and he is convinced I can do it (10kg no problem at all).
I’ll try the breathing technique. He also said I’m pushing up too slowly but I think it’s because I’m a bit nervous.
If your PT is right there, there's no way he/she is going to let the dumbbells fall on your face. I've failed a DB bench press a few times (on my own, no spotter) and it's not like your strength just instantly disappears, you retain enough to get the DBs safely away from the head area! I know that trying to rationalise this doesn't necessarily help though.
I would disagree with the advice to breath out - I treat a DB bench like a barbell bench, and maintain a strong brace through the whole movement.
I do agree that lifting, like most sports, has a huge mental component. It can leave people stuck on 'plateaus' for months or years. It's great you've got a PT right there with you, hopefully they can help encourage you through this mental block.
The benefit of DB vs barbell is that you can just bail the dumbbells sideways if you need to (admittedly not ideal but possible). If you're going to fail a rep it's likely you'd fail on the way up not the way down, so your momentum would just peter out to a stop, and you can just either bring them back down to your shoulders and sit up or bail them (assuming gym not crowded).
Re speed try to be explosive on the way up, controlled on the way down.
it's much easier to get rid of dumb bells than a bar bell during bench, if you need to bail. Why not just practice the movement of letting them go to the side or over your head few times so you're confident you could bail if you need to? should give you more confidence.
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