One of the most common debates in weight training is whether it is better to use dumbbells, or barbells, for specific movements. Regardless of what anyone tries to tell you, both should be used in similar amounts if you want to build a well-rounded and healthy body! Each of these pieces of equipment has advantages over the other, and they are most effective when used in correlation with each other!
Benefit of Dumbbell Training
The advantage of using dumbbells lies in the fact that they can be used in a wider range of motion, and they much more effectively work your smaller muscles and stabilizing muscles.
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Choosing the correct dumbbell to work with can have a huge impact on how you train, as well as how often you use the equipment!
For an athlete or sportsman, dumbbells can be advantages to use for many motions that help you build stability and strength for athletic movements.
Even for simple motions such as biceps curls or the bench press, dumbbells can be an effective alternative because they are less stressful on your joints, and allow you to use a much wider range of motion.
People who suffer from shoulder injuries may find it very difficult to perform the bench press or any type of overhead press with a barbell, but may easily be able to perform these movements with dumbbells. By understanding the proper situations to use dumbbells, you can effectively build and strengthen your body without over stressing certain joints.
Athletes are required to have total control over their movement patterns when playing sports, and using dumbbells can be more effective than barbells for training many sport-specific movements.
Benefit of Barbell Training
The main advantage of barbells is that it allows you to easily and effectively move more weight, work multiple muscles at once, and perform movements in a more condensed range of motions.
Many movements such as the Olympic lifts, squats, and deadlifts, do not correlate well with dumbbells. Although you certainly can do variations of these movements with dumbbells, they are generally not as effective.
Movements such as the goblet squat are a great way to use dumbbells for squats, but it won’t have nearly as much of a benefit for building mass or explosive power as a barbell front squat or back squat.
Since barbells do not require you to use as many stabilizing muscles, you will be able to move more weight overall, and stress your muscles in a uniquely different way. For some people, it can be much easier to bench press 300lbs on a barbell, than it is to press 80lb dumbbells. Although it would certainly help this person overall to become stronger on that part of their body they are weak in, it is generally beneficial to work towards your strengths.
Long term use of barbells only can damage your body by over defining the larger muscles, and leaving smaller muscle groups behind. Barbells are great because they easily allow you to perform compound movements and work your body intensely all at once, but there certainly is more to training than this alone!
Bodyweight Exercise Training
As an alternative to both types of training, bodyweight only exercises are also very effective for training your body. Bodyweight exercises such as the push-up, sit-up, body squat, pull-up and inverted row can effectively train your larger muscles, smaller stabilizing muscles, and multiple muscles all at once!
These movements are often overlooked because they seem easy, but they are sure to stress your body in a unique way! A person who has mastered the ability to perform a wide range of bodyweight only exercises will certainly be able to perform dumbbell and barbell movements effectively!
Both dumbbells and barbells are effective at training your body, although they have their differences. The best idea is to make sure that your training program is well rounded with exercises using both training tools.
If you are only using one or the other of these, you will eventually plateau and not be able to push your body to the extent that you would like!