In most strength and bodybuilding training program, the barbell is usually the standard of reference. After all, Olympic and powerlifting competitions only involve barbells. And when we talk about how you one can bench, squat or deadlift, we mean the exercises done using barbell. However, what many people do not know is that dumbbell exercises provide many advantages to athletes, bodybuilders and anybody that trains for general fitness. And in many cases, dumbbell exercises are actually much better than its barbell counterparts. This article will give you a list of the advantages of dumbbell exercises over barbell exercises.
Training with dumbbells requires more balance than with barbells or machines. Most of us are unsymmetrical in strength, one arm or one leg tend to be stronger than the one on the other side. And unlike with barbell, the stronger arm cannot assist the weaker arm when you train with dumbbells. So when training with dumbbells, you have to use the resistance that the weaker arm can handle. Training with dumbbells will prevent the imbalance of strength and muscle development and also enhance athletic performance, a significant consideration in fitness programs.
One huge benefit of training with dumbbells is that you can train one limb at a time, which can emphasize greater movement specificity in the training programs of athletes and greater program variety for bodybuilders and those training for fitness. And by training for one limb, you can improve the strength and muscle mass of a limb without effecting the other, which definitely helps in case you have an imbalance of development.
Dumbbell training requires more muscular control than barbells. You can check it yourself when comparing dumbbell benchpress with barbell benchpress. So in order to train with dumbbells, you will need to recruit more stabilizing muscles thus enhancing joint stability and hypertrophy and kinesthetic awareness.
Some exercises can be done safer with a pair of dumbbells than a barbell. For example, when performing certain types of leg exercises like step-ups or lunge, it is usually much easier and safer to hold a paid of dumbbells in your hands rather than a barbell on your beck. If you lose your balance, you just need to drop the dumbbells from your hands instead of letting the barbell slide off your back.
And more than that, dumbbells are much safer when you work out alone without any spotter. It is very common in the gyms to see guys getting stuck under the barbell when doing benchpress if there is no spotter around. But with dumbbell benchrpess, you can just the dumbbells to your sides without any problem at all.
And another safety benefit of dumbbell training is that it can prevent potential injuries in shoulders, elbows and wrists. You can see the problem when comparing doing barbell curl or barbell benchpress with dumbbell curl or dumbbell benchpress. When you curl or bench press with a barbell, your hands are fixed with the barbell and this leads to unnatural positions for the joints. That is the reason why should injuries are common with barbell benchpress and wrist and elbow injuries are common with barbell curl. But if you curl or benchrpess with dumbells, your elbows, wrists and shoulders are allowed to rotated freely and naturally, thus protecting them from any potential injury.
Both dumbbells and barbells are equally effective in general for your training goal, but in some specific situations one type of exercise may be a little more beneficial for you than the other. So the best advice for you is to combine both dumbbell training and barbell training into your work out program and get the most out of both types of training.