Shots Fired: Two Reasons Dumbbells are Better Than Barbells
Before your blood boils and you send threats via Twitter, I do value, love, and dream about barbells. They’re vital to long-term training success. Barbells allow you to lift the heaviest weight, and build more strength and mass.
But dumbbell training is superior in some situations. And barbell training is superior in others. At the end of the day, every training modality is simply a tool of the trade.
MMM’Kay? Back to my point:
1) Dumbbells require additional balance and proprioception compared to barbells.
- Dumbbells create a higher demand for stability, potentially improving your joint stability during exercises to prevent injury and improve athletic performance.
- Greater muscle unit recruitment means you’ll hit more muscle fibers during your exercises. This increases the potential for muscle growth and strength.
- All else (such as total weight) being equal, dumbbells have a higher metabolic demand due to increased muscle unit recruitment. This means you’ll burn relatively more body fat.
2) Dumbells Allow Greater Exercise Variety
Let’s be honest here:
Getting some exercise variation keeps you mentally and physically fresh, stimulates new neural pathways, and activates more muscle than simply training with barbells alone.
Instead of getting bored silly with your routine and just going through the motions, dumbbell exercises will provide a change of pace for greater focus and intensity.
Variety is the spice of life.
So I’m going to hook you up with five uncommon, yet super-effective dumbbell exercises to help you build athletic muscle, no matter how poorly equipped the gym is.
Dumbbell Goblet Squat into Step Back Lunge:
Dumbbell Push Press
One Arm Dumbbell Snatch
How they’ll make you a beast: The Renegade Row with a push-up is an awesome exercise that builds a strong core, chest, and back. The key component on the Renegade row is trunk position: Keeping the hips and spine neutral and preventing the hips from rocking side to side. By keeping the hips neutral, you’ll hit your core with anti-flexion and anti-rotation stress.
Basically, this works to bulletproof your spine by teaching muscles of the hips and spine to work together and prevent movements that could jack you up.
No, dumbbells won’t let you hammer the big three like a barbell. Nor are they as trendy as kettle bells.
But the unique benefits of dumbbells should warn them a key place in your training, regardless of your goal.
The bottom line? To maximize strength and the development of hypertrophy, dumbbells are better than barbells alone.