Which is Better?
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
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: