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Dumbbells vs. Barbells


Which is Better?
Dumbbells vs. Barbell

There’s no question that dumbbells allow for some great workouts. But any experienced trainer also knows they are much harder to lift than barbells. If you can just press a hundred pound barbell ten times, trust me, you won’t be able to lift two fifty pound dumbbells ten times. You’d be lucky to get eight reps but more likely, you’d conk out at five or six. It takes greater effort to control the independent movement of dumbbells.

By the same token, if you can press two fifty pounders ten times lifting a hundred pound barbell would be a breeze. You could probably handle a hundred and twenty for the same reps. And this brings me to my point: for a raw beginner, dumbbell lifting is just too hard. Yet most beginners, especially women, head right for the dumbbell rack when it comes to free weight exercises. The net result is they have to choose weights that are pathetically light in order to get them up at all. And the result of that is frustration and slow gains.


Bodybuilding is all about progressing, and when it comes to incremental gains in muscle and more weight plates on the barell/dumbell overtime, you will find out that barbells will simply allow you to progress easier. You can be stuck at the same dumbell weight for long periods of time but you will notice yourself getting stronger each week with barbell lifts. Which is an indication to me that barbells are overall a bit better than dumbells when it comes to strength progression.

Beginners should train exclusively with barbells. Save the dumbbell exercises for a challenging change of pace a few months down the road. Put your effort into building a solid foundation of strength and mass rather than trying to corral wayward dumbbells.

I think barbells are overall the winner in my opinion mostly because you can handle a heaver weight with the same exercises.  And more weight equals bigger muscles.

So overall I recommend using barbells most of the time, but any once in awhile use dumbells for a change in stress. Dumbells (done occasionally) will be a different form of stress that your body is not used to and the result will be a nice burst of anabolic hormones (GH and testosterone).


Here is a quick pro/con list of barbell/dumbells:




Heavier weight handled.

Better mass gains.

Easier for beginners.  
Better overall.  
Better for building balance and stabilization.  
Easier to self spot yourself with.  
Greater range of motion.  
Great to do occasionally for change in stress.  






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