Dumbbells VS Barbells

A lot of gyms today offer a lot of different equipment and machines to help you exercise in the way you want to and reach your goals.

And because of that, lifters today can target specific muscle groups in different ways with the help of specific tools.


Even though we can’t say that there is one piece of equipment which is the best, because different tools are made to help you achieve different results, we can say that dumbbells and barbells are still the most popular tools in any gym.

Dumbbells are used mainly for joint – isolation exercises, and barbells are thought to be the most effective tool for strength development.

But there is more to dumbbells that you might think – dumbbells can be used for multi-planar, full body exercises and give different strength gains which the barbell can’t provide. Here is a list of one of the biggest benefits of working with dumbbells:

1. Unilateral training

Working with dumbbells will force your limbs work with the same amount, and help you overcome any strength or muscular imbalances you may have.

A lot of people have a more dominant side of their bodies which takes on a lot of the stress when working with a barbell. But when working with dumbbells, muscular imbalances are more obvious and are more easily solved.


2. Joint safety

Everyone knows that working with dumbbells is more joint-friendly than working with barbells. Your hands aren’t locked in one position when working with dumbbells which enables a greater range of motion.

If you experienced any joint pain when working with a barbell, you can try performing the same exercises with dumbbells, which will allow you to change your technique and form so it suits your joints.


3.Muscle activation

Working with dumbbells requires more stabilization and balance, so the muscle fibers are recruited to the maximum in a way that barbells or machines don’t provide.

In addition, dumbbell exercises need both inter ad intramuscular coordination, which is activates the muscles to a greater lever and improves the coordination between body parts.


The dumbbell bench press

An amazing way to add more dumbbell work into your program is to replace the barbell on the bench press with dumbbells. The dumbbell bench press has amazing advantages which other chest exercises don’t offer.

This exercise works the tops and the fronts of your shoulders, the chest muscles and the triceps, and also activates the serratus anterior and the rhomboids.

The main advantage of working with dumbbells is that you need to engage more muscles than when working with a barbell or a machine. It also activates the lower fibers of the chest better than a barbell does because you can move your hands more freely.

How to perform the dumbbell bench press in the proper way:

  • Start by lying down on a weight bench and extend your arms over your chest while holding the dumbbells with overhand grip over your eyes.
  • Your elbows should be bent at your sides so you can lower the weight down slowly and in a controlled manner.
  • Your arms should be parallel to the top of the bench at the final position.
  • The dumbbells should slightly touch your chest, and then you should extend your elbows to push the weight upwards. You should perform the upwards movement powerfully and it should last 1 – 2 seconds.
  • At the highest position, you should squeeze your chest muscles together.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions with a weight with which it’s difficult to finish the last few reps.

Usual mistakes

1. Too heavy weights

Trying to work with weights with which you can’t achieve the proper form limits the range of motion, decreases the effectiveness of the exercise and increases risks of injuries.

2. Arching the back

An arched back limits the range of motion which is decreasing the effectiveness of the exercise because the limited range reduces the number of recruited muscle fibers.

3. Not having a spotter

You need a spotter with any free weight exercises. This helps when you struggle to complete the last few repetitions, or when you don’t know if your form is proper. And the most important thing, a spotter can help you in the moments when you can’t handle the weight.