April 8, 2012
As you go about your fitness program, there are a number of different choices that you’ll have to make. Will you do an upper/lower workout split or perform a full body workout program? Will you perform compound exercises or turn to isolation exercises to really zero in and target one particular muscle group? How many sets per exercise will you perform?
These are just a few of the questions that you might find yourself wondering about and looking for answers to.
Another key question to ask yourself is whether you should be using dumbbells or barbells as you go about your weight lifting exercises. Which will yield you optimal results? Is there a difference between these two pieces of equipment that you should know about?
Let’s walk you through the main differences that you should keep in mind so that you know precisely what to do with your workout program.
The very first thing to consider is the amount of strength that you’ll be able to generate with each piece of equipment. Generally speaking, for maximum strength gains, turn to barbells over dumbbells. While dumbbells can help you get stronger, it’s barbells that will really allow you to see clear progress as you won’t have as much energy going towards maintaining balance like you do with dumbbells.
In addition to this, since you’ll have the bar connecting the weights, this makes for a more stabilized movement pattern, allowing you to recruit more total muscle fibers to hoisting it upwards. More muscle fibers being worked means greater strength progress.
The next factor to consider is muscular imbalances. If you’re suffering from muscular imbalances or are worried about developing some, dumbbells will be what you’ll want to turn to.
By using dumbbells you can be sure that one muscle group is not overcompensating for the other, which would eventually cause one side of the body to become weaker.
Instead, both sides will have their own weight to lift upwards, so will have to put in an equal amount of effort. If you participate in sports or have a physically demanding job, there is a chance that you may be dealing with some muscular imbalances so this should be of special concern for you.
The third factor to consider is core muscle activation. When you perform dumbbell based exercises you are going to notice that you see better overall core muscle requirement taking place as the core muscles will be fighting to keep the body balanced.
Dumbbell based exercises will give you a slightly better core workout compared to barbell based exercises, so if developing a strong core is on your list of things to do, this is definitely something to consider.
Finally, the last factor to consider is workout variety. This is one place where dumbbells tend to shine again. They’re going to offer slightly more variability in terms of the exercise selection that you have so you can be sure to keep changing it up so that you continually respond.
Those who aren’t incorporating in enough workout variability are more likely to hit a progress plateau, so this can be one thing that you can do to overcome it.
So there you have the main things that you should keep in mind when deciding whether you’ll use barbells or dumbbells to complete your workout program. Ideally you should aim to include a combination of both pieces of equipment for the absolute best results.