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Are Dumbbells as Effective as Barbells?

When it comes to lifting weights, there are many different approaches one can take. Do you focus on free weights or are machines going to help you bulk or tone better? Even once you have found what works better for you, you will find a second debate as controversial as the last. What is more effective, dumbbell or barbells?

While both can certainly be effective when it comes to different exercises, it is important to know the pros and cons of each so you can make the best decision for your health goals and home workout routine.

More Natural Movements

Using a dumbbell is sort of like using two smaller barbells. This ‘broken-up’ barbell allows for more movement options. In comparison, barbells restrict your movements by forcing you to grasp the entire bar throughout your workout, sometimes putting you in unnatural positions.

Throughout your exercise, if you notice you need to make a tiny adjustment in a movement to make the exercise easier on your joints or muscles, it is much easier to do with a barbell.

For example, it is not uncommon for people to have issues with the barbell incline press. For some, it tends to feel uncomfortable on their shoulders. This differs from the dumbbell where you can perform the exercise without the strenuous bar resting on your shoulders.

Can Be Safer and Easier to Use

One of the most important things to remember when performing exercises is to maintain proper form. This is especially true for beginners as they are continuing to learn, build muscle, and respond to what their body needs while working out.

Dumbbells allow individuals to focus more on their form, rather than focusing on managing a large object to lift. This is especially true with leg exercises. There are many barbell leg exercises that require the bar to rest on your back. If you are not practicing the proper form or if you lift weights you are not ready for, you are much more likely to cause injury. For this reason, dumbbells are usually the safer option.

Fight Strength Imbalance

Have you ever broken a bone in your arm and leg? Once the cast is removed you may have noticed you lost some muscle and your other limb is much stronger. This is because your limb had been doing much of the work while your broken arm or leg rests. The same sort of principle applies to barbells.

When you are using a barbell, it is too easy for one of your limbs or stronger muscles to do more of the work. This does not help strengthen your weaker side but rather reinforces the strength on your already stronger side. This cannot be done with dumbbells. With dumbbells, each limb is required to lift the same amount of weight unassisted.

Ideal Progression

When it comes to improving your performance in the gym, barbells can help you streamline. When you are ready to increase some weight to lift, you can simply add a few pounds onto your barbell. If you are using dumbbells you will likely have to increase it on both the left and right dumbbell, potentially doubling the weight you are ready to lift.

It is also important to explain that not all exercises can be performed with each. For example, you cannot perform a proper lunge with a barbell.

Neither barbells or dumbbells are better. It is simply based on what exercises you are doing, your workout plan, and what is best for you personally. Consider these examples next time you are wondering which one to reach for.

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