Dumbbell Match for a 225 Bench Press – Find Out!

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Last Updated on 6 months by Francis

The 225-pound bench press is a common milestone for many lifters. However, not everyone has access to a barbell or prefers to use dumbbells for their workouts. In this article, we will explore alternative dumbbell exercises that can provide a similar challenge and help you maintain your strength gains without a barbell.


Key Takeaways:

  • Dumbbells can be a great alternative for the 225-pound bench press
  • Alternative dumbbell exercises can help maintain strength gains
  • Individual preferences and goals play a role in choosing between barbell and dumbbell bench press
  • Mental focus and proper technique are important for bench press performance
  • Progressive overload and assistance exercises can help improve bench press strength

Tips to Increase Your Bench Press for 225 Reps

increase bench reps

If you’re aiming to improve your bench press for the 225-rep test, there are a few tips you can follow.

1. Include Maximal Effort Work (ME) in Your Training Program

Maximal effort work involves performing exercises that target specific areas of weakness and help build overall strength. Incorporate exercises such as 1-board presses, floor presses, and close grip inclines to enhance your bench press performance.

2. Focus on Technique Adjustments

Paying attention to your technique can make a significant difference in your bench press. Identify the point where you typically fail in the lift, whether it’s the bottom or lockout, and adjust your focus accordingly. For example, if you struggle at the bottom, emphasize engaging your pecs and pulling the bar apart. If your triceps are the weak point, focus on pulling the bar in.

3. Incorporate Speed Work and Over Speed Work

Incorporating speed work and over speed work with bands can help improve your pressing speed and explosive power. Use bands during your bench press to create resistance and increase the challenge of each rep. This can lead to improved strength and performance.

Remember, consistency and dedication to your training program are essential. Gradually increase the intensity and volume of your bench press workouts over time to see progress and reach your goal of performing 225 reps.

Continue reading to learn about the key differences between the dumbbell and barbell bench press.

Differences between Dumbbell and Barbell Bench Press

dumbbell press vs bench press

The dumbbell bench press and the barbell bench press are two popular exercises for chest development. While both exercises target the chest muscles, there are some differences between them.

One main difference is that dumbbell presses require more stabilization since each arm works independently. This additional stabilization engages the muscles of the wrist, forearm, and triceps to a greater extent compared to barbell presses.

Another difference lies in the range of motion during the exercise. Dumbbell presses allow for a greater range of motion as the hands are not fixed in a single position. This increased range can provide a deeper stretch and potentially a greater muscle activation.

On the other hand, barbell presses offer the advantage of being able to lift heavier weights. The fixed barbell allows for more stability and can be easier to control when moving heavier loads.

Ultimately, the choice between dumbbell and barbell bench press depends on individual preferences and goals. Some factors to consider include:

  • Fitness Level: Beginners may find it easier to start with dumbbell presses to focus on form and stabilization before progressing to barbell presses.
  • Targeted Muscles: If you want to specifically target the chest and triceps, dumbbell presses may be more effective. If overall strength is the goal, barbell presses may be more suitable.
  • Equipment Availability: If you have limited access to equipment or prefer working out at home, dumbbell presses offer a viable alternative.

If variety and balance are important to your workout routine, consider incorporating both dumbbell and barbell bench presses into your training regimen. This can help ensure that you are engaging different muscles and promoting overall chest development.

Remember, it’s crucial to maintain proper form, gradually increase weights, and listen to your body to avoid injury and maximize results.

Differences between Dumbbell and Barbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench Press Barbell Bench Press
Stabilization Requires more stabilization due to independent arm movement Provides more stability with a fixed barbell
Muscles Engaged Engages wrist, forearm, and tricep muscles Primarily targets chest and tricep muscles
Range of Motion Allows for a greater range of motion with hands not fixed Provides a fixed range of motion
Weightlifting Capacity Limits lifting capacity based on individual arm strength Allows for heavier weights due to barbell stability
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Factors Affecting Performance Discrepancies in Bench Press

The variations in bench press performance can be attributed to various factors. These include different muscular development, strengths, techniques, range of motion (ROM) repetitions, and even the specific exercises performed. Each of these factors can have a significant impact on an individual’s performance and results in the bench press.

Different Muscular Development: Individuals may have varying degrees of muscular development in their chest, shoulders, and triceps. This can affect their ability to generate power and strength during the bench press. For example, someone with well-developed pectoral muscles may find it easier to perform the exercise compared to someone with weaker chest muscles.

Different Strengths: Each person has different strengths when it comes to upper body movements. Some individuals may naturally excel in pushing exercises like the bench press, while others may struggle due to weaknesses in specific muscle groups or lack of overall strength.

Different Techniques: The technique used during the bench press can greatly impact performance. Factors such as grip width, bar path, and body positioning can vary from person to person. Some individuals may have mastered optimal bench press technique, allowing them to lift heavier weights more efficiently, while others may still be refining their form.

Different ROM repetitions: The range of motion (ROM) during the bench press can differ for each individual. Some people may have a shorter ROM, lowering the bar to their chest, while others may have a longer ROM, bringing the bar closer to their sternum. This difference in ROM can affect the overall difficulty and performance of the lift.

Different Exercises: The specific exercises performed in a training program can also impact bench press performance. For example, individuals who incorporate a variety of assistance exercises that target the chest, shoulders, and triceps may experience improvements in their bench press compared to those who solely focus on the bench press itself.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s performance in the bench press is unique and influenced by these various factors. Instead of comparing oneself to others, it’s more productive to focus on individual goals and continuous improvement in strength and technique.

Importance of Mental Focus and Technique

bench press technique

Mental focus and proper technique are vital for achieving optimal performance in the bench press. Both factors contribute to maximizing strength gains and avoiding injuries.

A strong mental game can significantly impact your ability to push through challenging reps. Instead of counting reps up, try counting them down, visualizing each rep as you approach your target number. This technique helps maintain focus and motivation throughout the set.

Technique is another critical aspect of bench press success. It involves maintaining proper form and alignment throughout the lift. Effective technique includes:

  • Maintaining straight and locked wrists to enhance stability.
  • Keeping your hands shut, maintaining a firm grip on the bar or dumbbells.
  • Avoiding bouncing the weights off your chest, which diminishes muscle activation and can increase the risk of injury.

By improving your technique and focusing on the correct movement patterns, you can optimize your bench press results and ensure consistent progress.

“Proper technique is the foundation for success in the bench press. It not only improves performance but also reduces the risk of injuries.”

Building Strength and Overcoming Plateaus

increase bench max

To build strength and overcome plateaus in the bench press, it is important to focus on progressive overload and consistently challenging oneself with heavier weights. This can be achieved through exercises like rack lockouts, skull crushers, close grip incline presses, and other assistance work. Additionally, manipulating variables such as rest times, tempo, and grip width can also help break through plateaus and increase your bench max.

Incorporate Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is the principle of gradually increasing the demands placed on the body to continually make progress and build strength. By consistently adding weight or reps to your bench press workouts, you force your muscles to adapt and grow stronger over time.

When implementing progressive overload, it’s essential to increase the weight in small increments and ensure proper form and technique. This gradual approach reduces the risk of injury and allows your body to adjust to the increased demands.

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Target Weak Points with Assistance Work

Identifying and targeting weak points in your bench press can help you overcome plateaus and improve your overall performance. Assistance exercises like rack lockouts, skull crushers, and close grip incline presses can help strengthen specific muscles that are holding you back.

For example, if you struggle with the lockout portion of the bench press, incorporating rack lockouts into your training can help you develop the necessary tricep strength and improve your lockout power.

Here is an example of how you can structure your bench press workout to target weak points:

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 3 8-10
Close Grip Incline Press 3 8-10
Skull Crushers 3 10-12
Rack Lockouts 3 6-8

Manipulate Variables for Increased Challenge

Varying certain variables in your bench press training can provide an additional challenge and help you break through strength plateaus. Consider experimenting with the following:

  • Rest times: Decreasing rest times between sets can increase the intensity of your workout and stimulate muscle growth.
  • Tempo: Controlling the speed at which you perform the bench press can target different muscle fibers and promote strength gains.
  • Grip width: Altering your grip width can change the emphasis on different muscle groups, allowing for more balanced development.

Remember to listen to your body and adjust these variables based on your individual needs and goals. It is essential to find the right balance between pushing your limits and avoiding overtraining.

“Consistency, persistence, and a willingness to push past your limits are the keys to building strength and overcoming plateaus.”

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively build strength, overcome plateaus, and increase your bench max. Remember, progress takes time, so stay dedicated and trust the process.

Training Program for Bench Press Progression

A structured training program is essential for individuals looking to progress in their bench press. To develop strength and increase your bench press capacity, it’s crucial to follow a well-designed routine that focuses on progressive overload and targets specific weaknesses. Here’s an example program for bench press progression:

  1. Phase 1: Speed Strength Development
  • Focus on explosive movements to develop power.
  • Incorporate exercises like speed bench presses, plyometric push-ups, and medicine ball chest passes.
  • Phase 2: Tendon Strength and Maximum Force
    • Increase the intensity by gradually adding heavier weights.
    • Include exercises like regular bench presses, close grip bench presses, and dumbbell bench presses.
  • Phase 3: Target Weaknesses with Assistance Work
    • Incorporate assistance exercises to address specific weak areas.
    • Examples of assistance work include rack lockouts, skull crushers, and close grip incline presses.

    Remember to maintain proper rest times, stay disciplined, and gradually increase weights over time. Consistency is key to long-term progress in the bench press.

    Phase Focus Exercises
    Phase 1 Speed Strength Development Speed bench presses, plyometric push-ups, medicine ball chest passes
    Phase 2 Tendon Strength and Maximum Force Regular bench presses, close grip bench presses, dumbbell bench presses
    Phase 3 Target Weaknesses with Assistance Work Rack lockouts, skull crushers, close grip incline presses

    By following this training program and gradually increasing the intensity, you can effectively improve your bench press and reach your goals.

    Additional Techniques to Improve Bench Press

    If you’re looking to take your bench press to the next level, incorporating additional techniques can provide the extra edge you need. These techniques target specific aspects of your bench press, such as bottom-end strength, explosiveness, lockout strength, and sticking points. By integrating these techniques into your training routine, you can overcome plateaus and continue to make progress in your bench press journey.

    Pause Reps for Bottom-End Strength

    One technique that can help you develop bottom-end strength is incorporating pause reps into your bench press routine. During a pause rep, you lower the bar to your chest and hold it in position for a brief pause before pressing it back up. This increases time under tension and forces your muscles to work harder, particularly at the bottom of the lift. Start by incorporating a 1-2 second pause and gradually progress to longer pauses as you become more comfortable.

    Using Bands and Chains for Explosiveness and Lockout Strength

    Bands and chains are commonly used tools to enhance explosiveness and lockout strength in the bench press. By attaching bands or chains to the barbell, you create accommodating resistance, which increases the load as you approach the lockout portion of the lift. This helps train your body to generate more force and power through the entire range of motion, leading to improved explosiveness and lockout strength. Experiment with different band tensions and chain weights to find the optimal setup for your needs.

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    Board Presses to Target Sticking Points

    Board presses are a valuable technique for addressing sticking points in the bench press. By placing boards, typically 2 to 4 inches thick, on your chest, you limit the range of motion and focus on specific portions of the lift where you struggle the most. This allows you to overload the targeted portion and strengthen the muscles involved in that specific range of motion. Gradually reduce the number of boards over time as your strength improves.

    Implementing these additional techniques into your training regimen can have a significant impact on your bench press performance. Whether you’re aiming to increase bottom-end strength, explosiveness, lockout strength, or target specific sticking points, these techniques offer a strategic approach to help you overcome challenges and continue progressing in your bench press journey.


    When it comes to finding a dumbbell equivalent to a 225-pound bench press, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The appropriate weight will vary depending on individual strength and capabilities. However, by implementing tips for bench press improvement, focusing on technique and mental focus, and incorporating progressive overload training programs, individuals can work towards increasing their bench press capacity and reaching their goals.

    Consistency and proper form are essential factors in long-term progress and success in the bench press. Whether you are using dumbbells or a barbell, maintaining a structured training program and challenging yourself with heavier weights over time will help build strength and overcome plateaus. It’s also important to listen to your body and make necessary adjustments to your training routine.

    Remember, the journey to a stronger bench press is a gradual process. Patience and perseverance are key. With the right mindset and dedication, you can continue to make progress and achieve your desired results. Stay focused, train smart, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey towards becoming a stronger and more powerful lifter.


    What are some tips to increase my bench press for the 225 reps test?

    To improve your bench press for the 225-rep test, include maximal effort work in your training program, focus on your technique, and consider incorporating speed work and over speed work with bands.

    What are the differences between dumbbell and barbell bench press?

    Dumbbell presses require more stabilization and may engage additional muscles like the wrist, forearm, and triceps compared to barbell presses. The choice between the two ultimately depends on individual preferences and goals.

    What factors can affect performance discrepancies in the bench press?

    Differences in muscular development, strengths, techniques, range of motion, repetitions, and specific exercises can all contribute to variations in bench press performance.

    How important is mental focus and technique in the bench press?

    Maintaining a strong mental game and proper technique are crucial for bench press performance. Counting reps down and focusing on technique, such as maintaining straight wrists and avoiding bouncing weights, can optimize results.

    How can I build strength and overcome plateaus in the bench press?

    Focus on progressive overload by consistently challenging yourself with heavier weights. Incorporate exercises like rack lockouts, skull crushers, and close grip incline presses, and manipulate variables like rest times and grip width.

    What should a training program for bench press progression include?

    A structured training program can include phases of speed-strength development and heavier weights to focus on tendon strength and maximum force. Incorporate specific assistance work to target weaknesses.

    Are there any additional techniques to improve bench press performance?

    Yes, techniques like pause reps, using bands and chains, and incorporating board presses can target specific weaknesses and improve strength at different points in the lift.

    What are some alternatives to a 225-pound bench press with dumbbells?

    The dumbbell equivalent to a 225-pound bench press can vary depending on individual strength and capabilities. By following tips for bench press improvement and progressively challenging yourself, you can work towards increasing your bench press capacity.

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