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Old 09-19-2006, 09:21 AM   #1
Matt Richardson
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Anyone know of a formula or comparison for dumbell weight versus barbell weight? For instance.... I usually workout in dumbbell presses with 90lbs in each hand, what would that compare to weight wise in the Barbell bench press? It's more of a curosity thing... not a vanity issue.
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:17 AM   #2
Steven Low
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DBs will pretty much always be less than barbell. As for comparison, that can't be done really. If you are going from DB to barbell, there is a good amount of carryover and you will probably be able to put up around the same weight if not more. Going from barbell to DBs, you will be able to put up significantly less weight -- all depending on how strong your stabilizers are.

Stabilizer strength plays largest factor in putting up weight between different exercises like DB and barbell, but it can't really be quantified unless you actually do it. Let's remember though that the more you do an exercise, the more your CNS and muscle activation patterns adapt to it -- so the specific strength of certain exercises might get easier, while your absolute strength and stablizers may or may not be going up.
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:22 AM   #3
Jon Gilson
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I don't have a hard and fast formula for you, but consider this:

The amount you can lift with a barbell will always be greater than the sum of your uni-lateral lifts if one arm is stronger than the other.

I.e., if you press 90 lb. with each hand, your non-dominant (weaker) side can handle that weight. Presumably, your dominant (stronger) side can handle more. Therefore, the analogous barbell press will be greater than the sum of the dumbell weights, because your dominant side will contribute more than 50% to the barbell press, compensating for the non-dominant side.

Your barbell lift will be greater than 180 lbs.

The degree to which it is greater will depend on the relative disparity in strength between each side. Any formula would need to take the dominant v. non-dominant strength differential into account.


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Old 09-19-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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As said above, BB will always be heavier due the increased stability compared to DB. If I were to guess a %...I'd say (of course depends on the person as we are only as strong as our weakest stabilizer muscle) it's probably %80 from BB to DB...of course still have to divide the 80%xBB by 2 to get the DB...rough estimate.
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Old 09-19-2006, 08:37 PM   #5
Veronica Carpenter
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Can we say "synergy"? :msn-wink:

Haven't used that word in a while, just wanted to say it! :banana:
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:34 AM   #6
Lynne Pitts
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Moving to Fitness.
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:41 AM   #7
Herb Sampson
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I do not think there is a “rule” per se. from my own experience (for BP only) I can press sum of db weight equal to the amount of weights on the ends of the bar. (E.G. 135# barbell would be 45#db’s in each hand. So try subtracting the 45 (or 20k) bar and find db’s equal to that amount of weight.

It could be just me, so start slowly, please.
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