Choosing what type of equipment to use for a workout can be a very confusing situation. When you invest your time in a workout you want to get the greatest benefit and you certainly do not want to waste your time. There are lots of different types of equipment including barbells and dumbbells. Which do you choose? Actually comparing these two types of weightlifting equipment is a little like comparing apples and oranges – they are both really good for you; but they offer different benefits. The choice will be somewhat easier if you know what your own personal workout goals are. By listing the benefits of barbells and of dumbbells, you can compare each set with your own personal goals to determine which form of exercise is going to help you achieve your personal goals.
Benefits of Barbells
Barbells are great for working out the legs. Dumbbells can become too cumbersome to hold while doing exercises like squats or deadlifts but barbells allow the weight to be evenly distributed so that you can actually lift more weight safely and comfortably. For various pressing exercises such as an incline press, bench press or overhead shoulder press the barbell is much easier to handle, especially as you increase the weight used for the exercises. This basically means that making progress with barbells is much easier than it is with dumbbells. When you are ready to increase weight on barbell exercises, you can increase in 5 pound increments which is a gradual increase. Dumbbells increase by 5 pound increments also – but this means that you are actually increasing by 10 pounds altogether. Barbells allow for the addition of more weights in progression and this facilitates in building muscle mass. However, once you get past a certain point you’ll have to have someone spot for you.
Benefits of Dumbbells
Dumbbells have to be held in each hand and then the weight has to be stabilized. This is a very good thing for a beginner since it helps to improve coordination and activates lots more of the muscle fibers. The design of dumbbells allow for more natural range of motion and it is easier to make minor adjustments in your moves. For instance, if you are doing a bench press and using dumbbells it only takes a minor shift of the wrists to remove the pressure off the rear deltoid. You will never need anyone to spot for you if you use dumbbells and at any point if you get into a bind you can simply drop them to the floor. Dumbbells are also a better choice for those times when you want to focus on a particular muscle group and increase strength in the muscular region. It’s much easier to isolate a particular muscle group to work on when using dumbbells.
Why not use some of both?
Both the barbell and dumbbells have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages and in many cases an individual just simply prefers one method over the other. In general, they are both going to be equally effective even though there are some specific instances where one of them is slightly more beneficial than the other. It is possible to just use a good mix of both dumbbell and barbell exercises. Since they both have their drawbacks and positives by favoring one of these methods over the other all of the time, you will actually miss out on the benefits that the other one has to offer. Alternating between them can ensure that you have the “best of both worlds.” Barbell exercises can be used for the primary compound movements and then dumbbell exercises can be used for secondary compound movements or exercises for specific muscle groups. Remember that variation is one of the primary keys to successful results from working out; by using both of them in your exercise regimen you ensure you have well rounded workouts and results.