Dumbbells Versus Barbells: Which Is Best

As you go about your strength training workout routine, one question that you may start to ask yourself is whether you would be best off training with barbells or with dumbbells instead.

Most people understand that using free weights over machines is the better choice as free weights will incorporate the abdominal core to a larger extent and don’t lock you into a specific position, which could actually put you at risk for injury.

But, few people understand the differences between using dumbbells and barbells, so this is something to go over so it’s straight in your mind.

Let’s have a look at what you need to know.

The Strength Imbalance Factor

The very first thing that you’ll want to think about is the factor of strength imbalances. Barbells are going to set you up to experience strength imbalances to a slightly larger degree because one side of the body could start to overcompensate for the other, making it harder to spot these imbalances.

If you feel as though you may have some strength differences going on between sides, you’ll want to be sure to use dumbbells instead. Since each arm will be responsible for its own weight, there’s no way that one arm can overpower the other.

The Weight Lifted Factor

The second thing to think about is the amount of weight lifted factor. If you’re looking for maximum strength gains, barbells will likely be your better option.

Most people find that they are able to lift a little more weight when using barbells verses dumbbells and since strength gains are all about lifting more and more weight over time, this really improves your progress rates.

That’s not to say you can’t use dumbbells as well, just that barbells should take priority.

The Exercise Variability Factor

The third thing to think about is the exercise variability factor. There are going to be slightly more options for movements that you could do with dumbbells, so if you’re someone who likes a lot of variability in your routine, that’s definitely something to take into account.

Movements such as lateral raises, reverse fly’s, and chest fly’s would be impossible to do with a barbell.

The Stabilization Factor

Finally, you’ll also want to take into account the stabilization factor. This is simply how hard the body must be working in order to keep you stable on the ground. Since there is a slightly greater chance for the path of movement to shift when using dumbbells, this means that more stabilization support will be required.

The more stabilization that occurs, the more you’ll work the muscle fibers deepest in the muscle body, therefore this is a good way to maximize your workout potential.

So there you have a few things that you should note about the argument of dumbbells versus barbells.

There’s really not one ‘best’ piece of equipment here but rather it’s all about choosing which is best for you in your particular situation. Often adding a few exercises with each piece of weight is going to be the best way to build the most well-rounded program for success.