Posted July 21, 2012 by Shannon in Workouts
 
 

Dumbbells Versus Barbells – Which Is The Better Choice?

dumbell_barbell
dumbell_barbell

As you move through your workout sessions, you might come to wonder whether you should be utilizing dumbbells in your free weight exercises or whether using a barbell would be a wiser decision.

There is no right and wrong answer here, but rather it depends on your own unique individual preferences along with your fitness needs.

Different people will prefer different exercise modes, so it’s important to match the right one to your desires.

Let’s have a quick peak at what the main differences are between dumbbells and barbells so you can make an informed decision.

Barbells

First let’s take a look at barbells. One of the great things about barbells is that most people will find they can lift the most weight using them, therefore if strength is your primary concern, it’s likely what you’ll want to be turning to.

In addition to that, barbells will help you maintain better balance as you go about the movement pattern, so this also assists with you being able to lift more weight.

Since more weight lifted means further strength gains, this definitely goes a long way towards getting you to your goal.

On the flip side of the coin, one drawback to barbells however is that you can’t spot muscular imbalances as well.  In some cases one side of the body may be doing far more work than the other and with a barbell, this wouldn’t even be noticeable.

You’d just continue going about your workout session thinking both arms were evenly doing the work when really this isn’t the case at all.

If you participate in any type of competitive sport, there is a very high chance that you will have one side stronger than the other, so using barbells with your training can increase this imbalance over time.

Dumbbells

Moving over the dumbbell side of things, these will decrease the risk of those imbalances.  By using dumbbells you’ll be forcing each arm to perform the work on its own, therefore if you find one side fatiguing far faster than the other, you know right away an imbalance is present.

Another nice thing about dumbbells is that since they will require slightly more overall stabilization as you do the dumbbell based movements, this means you’ll get a better core workout as well. Your abs will have to be constantly contracted to maintain your balance, so this means you’ll have to spend less time performing abdominal exercises later on.

Furthermore, dumbbells also offer slightly more variety in exercise selection as well.  You can’t perform exercises such as chest fly’s or lateral raises with a barbell for example, so having some dumbbell work present in your workout program can assist with your overall improvement.

So there you have a few important differences to note between dumbbells and barbells. Both come with their own unique set of benefits that cannot be overlooked if you want to succeed with your workout program.

In most cases, using a combination of both types of equipment will lend to the best well-balanced approach.


Shannon

 
Shannon
Named ‘Writer Of The Year’ two times running, Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now. For more information on Shannon, please see her website, www.ShannonClarkFitness.com