If you could only choose one which would you choose dumbbells or barbell?

Without a doubt, I would have to give first prize to the dumbbell! You may be wondering why I would award these wonderful inventions the first spot on a list of bodybuilding essentials? I’m going to give you some points as to why I think dumbbells are great to use in your strength training program.

5 reasons why dumbbells are key to your strength training gains

  1. They are safe to use. Dumbbells allow you to perform your heaviest lift, without deeming it unsafe or best suited to a spotter you don’t seem to have. If you are like me, training in the morning doesn’t provide a suitable buddy to help me on those heavy lifts. With dumbbells, you don’t need anyone’s help. Just load up, one on each arm, lay back and get the work done. Dump to the side when you fail. Easy.
  2. The freedom of movement with each exercise. Take the bench press. You will notice that your biceps work extra hard to bring the pair up. It also causes a lot of instability, forcing you to recruit muscle fibers that may not be activated when using the barbell bench press alone. If your key focus in strength and muscle gains, this will be very important for you. Throw it in your chest program once in a while and notice the difference.
  3. They help you overcome and strength imbalances & recuperate injuries. Dumbbells help you train in a unilateral way. If you have any imbalances or injury’s, that require certain exercises, this will be the best way accelerate your recovery and increases strength. What you want to do is train in this fashion once a week or fortnight (depending on your schedule). Adding these into your strength program will really peak your results.
  4. Increasing your total range of motion. With any strength training program, range of motion is key to enhancing your strength and muscular gains. With dumbbells you can alter the movement slightly (such as an Arnold press) which will recruit more muscle fibers than say, a barbell shoulder press. You can say this will give you more “bang for your buck.” It’s important with any program, to achieve the most benefits with the least amount of time possible.
    When it comes to rotator cuff issues, dumbbells allow you to increase that range of motion a lot more, in a pain free way, so that you are not further damaging your connective tissue. Rather, you are strengthening it.
  5. Provide more stability for the legs. Dumbbells foster proper form when performing a squat. They force you to evenly balance the weights on either arm, and allowing for an even balance regarding your leg development. Dumbbells also permit a greater range of motion, letting you perform exercises that work more of your muscles. As an added benefit, dumbbells require greater coordination and stabilisation of your core and limbs.

I do hope this information helps you somewhat.
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