Dumbbells vs Barbell Exercises. Which one is better? For me, it comes down to personal preference and it should for you too. Im a firm believer in listening to your body. Do the exercises and use the equipment that your body responds well to. The only way to figure that out about yourself and your body is through a lot of trial and error. That what fitness and nutrition is in my eyes. Its constant trial and error until you find what works for you. Then your body will change with your age and its back to the drawing board. So let me save you a little time and let you know why dumbbells are my favorite of the two.
Dumbbell vs Barbell Bench Press
Dumbbells are my preference for the bench press for a few different reasons. First, bench press is one of the basic dummbell exercises that you can do. Im all about the basics when it comes to movements. I may do some accessory work but my main movements are mostly basic free weight dumbbell exercises. Dummbells allow me the freedom to change the path of the weights when i press. Its easier for me to keep my elbows tight since I can turn my grip in a little. The times when Ive injured my wrist it was on barbell bench press due to how my wrists are during barbell bench.
Also, dumbbells allow me to fix the discrepencies in strength between my right and left sides of my body. Being left hand dominant, I try to make sure I use my right side of my body as much as the left, to help not only visual symmetry but symmetry in strength as well. Now this is not to say that barbell bench isnt good, because it is the king of chest exercises. But again, I am now all about longevity, and ive had more success and way less injury with dumbbell vs barbell bench press.
Dumbbell vs Barbell Rows
When it comes to rows I love them all; barbell, dummbell, plate loaded, cable. Each one of them has a purpose but let me tell you why believe dumbbell rows are the best for overall fitness and longevity. Rows of any kind, whether bent over rows or seated rows, are essential when it comes to back development. Dumbbell rows benefits outweight the others for me and heres why.
Again, I like to make sure that im training my body as symmetrical as possible now. Trying to make sure that my right side of my body can perform to the same standard as my left side and dumbbells allow me to do that when training. Using dumbbells instead of barbell for rows helps me spot my weaknesses in my right side, and since its moving its own weight separately, my left side cant over compensate for the lack of strength.
What exercises can I do with dumbbells?
Honestly, you can do any free weigfht dumbbell exercises that you can think of. Again, basics are the name of the game in my eyes, so I use dumbbells for bench press, rows, curls, skull crushers, etc. There ae still plenty of movements that I will use barbell for like squats. Ill even use barbell for the basic push-pull exercises at some point too just to switch things up. Next time youre in the gym and youre doing a barbell movement, ask yourself if you can do it with dumbbells, and figure out how.
The benefits of dumbbells for me are :
- Allow different ranges of motion than a barbell
- Helps identify and strengthen and inconsistencies in sides of my body
- Isolated movement doesnt allow for stronger side to over compensate
Give em a try….
I would say 90% of my workout is done with dumbbells. That being said, I am not a barbell hater whatsoever. For me and my body I get more results and a better overall workout when I use dumbbells over barbells. THis might be whats stopping you from getting through that plateau, or from correcting an imbalance. Dumbbell exercises and routines have served me very well throughout the 13 years ive been lifting weights and I hope they can do the same for you.