Author Topic: Dumbbells or Barbells  (Read 11197 times)

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March 12, 2013, 11:47:10 AM
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Rayn

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Really not sure where to put this. What is the difference between doing bench presses with bar bells versus doing them with dumbbells of the same weight?
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March 12, 2013, 03:21:27 PM
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Mind_Bender

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The dumb bells will be harder on the shoulders but will also give you more range of motion, thus more muscles will be targeted, but the barbell will give you more stability and an exact range of motion.
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March 12, 2013, 04:21:19 PM
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Faijer

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Generally speaking you're better off with the barbell for bench press because it's easier to keep the weight high if you need to, and it will better ensure balance between the left and right side of your chest. If you're not training strength (see below) and want to really get the chest working, I'd say supersetting with dumbbell flyes is one of the best ways to go; you can also do a giant set of flat bench > flat flyes > incline bench > incline flyes that will murder your chest.

If you're doing strength, the barbell is generally better than dumbbells because it ensures that both sides of your body remain balanced, and the fact that you need to be lifting at your 1-5 rep maximum (6-12 is sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and 12+ is endurance), which can be hard as dumbbells often don't come in weights high enough; I would need 60kg dumbbells. When they do, you might find it hard to get into position with them, whereas a bench should have a barbell rack.
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March 13, 2013, 03:15:22 AM
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Akenu

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I prefer dumbbells because they do not limit possibilities of the exercise. Stability of the barbell is not so great. If one arm gets tired sooner than the other, you will still use it less than the other arm.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 10:44:17 AM by Akenu »

March 13, 2013, 11:48:50 AM
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Rayn

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I prefer dumbbells because they do not limit possibilities of the exercise. Stability of the barbell is not so great. If one arm gets tired sooner than the other, you will still use it less than the other arm.

I normally use dumbbells for arms. I am going to up my weights, again, so I am trying to figure out do I want to invest in my plates for my adjustable dumbbell set or my bar bell set. I want to work more on my chest. I normally use my dumbbells for concentration curls, renegade rows, bicep curls, and front raises. I don't get the same versatility with my bar bells, though, I want to work on my chest some more.
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March 14, 2013, 02:31:28 AM
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Akenu

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Dumbbells can be used for exercising the chest and back as well.
Examples:



And for back:


Of course barbell can completely replace dumbbells, it's just that I do prefer dumbbells.

March 14, 2013, 03:08:17 AM
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Mind_Bender

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If you really want a good chest and back workout after your weight training end with calisthenics- wide push ups (and dips if you have a set up)- slow, concentrated reps until failure and do pull ups ending with the bar behind your neck- hold at top position.

I honestly don't use weights much any more because of an old injury, but I prefer dumbbells because of their versatility- although you can roll your barbell on your forearms for tricep, shoulder and chest work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzJ9feYAfv8 (skip to 50 seconds- except as you roll the bar, straighten your arms so they are at shoulder level if you can for more of a muscular workout). It kills the shoulders more than anything, though.
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March 30, 2013, 06:42:29 AM
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Dumbbells. Mostly cause if the weight slips or get's too heavy for your grip, your not looking at a broken sternum. You can handle more without a training partner as well. Plus it's easier to go from one exercise with free weights than with a bar. Even doing push-ups after or before a dumbbell benching session can do wonders. People without the money for a weight bench can create a solid and functional routine. One that revolves around calisthenics and free weights. Toss in some isometrics and you'll get a good build.

March 30, 2013, 01:07:55 PM
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Rayn

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And for back:


Of course barbell can completely replace dumbbells, it's just that I do prefer dumbbells.

What is that exercise called?
Noein - A Resource on Psi, Science, and Philosophy
but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.

March 30, 2013, 01:27:19 PM
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March 30, 2013, 01:57:55 PM
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Hellblazer

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One Arm Row. Works the back. I used to be a gym junkie.

April 01, 2013, 03:14:45 AM
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Akenu

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What is that exercise called?

The toe-smasher.


I had to see the picture again to get the joke... Anyway, that explains why gym junkies walk so weird :D

April 09, 2013, 09:22:19 AM
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donjitsu2

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Really not sure where to put this. What is the difference between doing bench presses with bar bells versus doing them with dumbbells of the same weight?

Obviously, this all depends on what you have access to but: If you're a fighter, martial artist, or weekend warrior, use dumbbells.

Dumbbells offer you a less strict motion pattern (which is great for your shoulder health and movement options) compared to the barbell. Using dumbbells is a little bit better for training all those little muscles that help you stabilize the movement - since your trying to move two disconnected weights through space rather than one, solid weight.

Don't get me wrong training with a barbell is still effective. I just think if you have the option, go with dumbbells.

Now, if you're low on $$ and want to get the most "bang for you buck", then a barbell is the way to go. As Faijer pointed out, progression might get tricky when using dumbbells since you'd pretty much have to belong to a gym or own a decent sized plate loaded dumbbell set. With a $150 barbell set, however, you've got the ability to progress from a light 45lbs press all the way up to a 300lbs press - not to mention all the other stuff you can with a basic Oly barbell. To do the same thing with a dumbbell set it would end up costing a good bit more.


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April 09, 2013, 09:55:49 PM
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Koujiryuu

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Everyone's advice is good. Especially Donjitsu's.

I can only come to the conclusion, however, that it's pretty simple: use both.

If you have access to both, use both. I have both and do.

Also, a word of advice: it doesn't have to be expensive to get barbells.

I got a full size weight bench from craigslist for $20 along with a full set of weights in various sizes. I think I can load the thing to at least 150 lbs with all the weights on it (which is far too much for me to lift anyway). I got it from an elderly couple who's son had moved out and left it behind. It wasn't in the best shape and the seat has a few discolorations.

Other alternatives include stores like Play-It-Again Sports, but I'm willing to bet if anyone looks on their local craigslist they can find a good bench set much cheaper. People practically give them away because they're heavy and awkward to haul off.
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May 12, 2013, 02:41:52 AM
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Faijer

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I used to do shoulder press with dumbbells. Was at about 17.5kg with a single low-rep set at 20kg, and it took me months to get to that point. Decided to move to overhead press at an equivalent weight, which was tough at first. But, after about a month I progressed from 35kg to 50kg, then another month put me up to 60kg. By that point the dumbbells had become just as easy to use, and I gradually phased out bothering to use them for stabilisation (even though it's a single solid weight, the weight is separated by several feet and both arms have to work together to support one another- if one arm lags behind, the other is dragged down with it). I'm currently shoulder pressing 85kg for 5 reps, and probably wouldn't be if I hadn't moved to the barbell.

Similar story for bench press. And for one-arm rows, which I exchanged for pull-ups with a weight belt and can now do multiple sets with 25kg strapped to me (I weigh 80kg); the one-arm row by comparison brought slow, limited progression and has since become rather too easy. And don't get me started on the deadlift and the squat, which dumbbells simply cannot keep up with (find me some 80kg dumbbells for my squat with which I can actually keep good form and we'll talk).

If you have a barbell available, use it. If you want to get the best of both worlds, find exercises for the dumbbells which only the dumbbells can do (of the two pieces of equipment) and which you will gain different benefits from. Flyes for the inner chest; front, side, and rear (most important one, as most shoulder exercises focus on the front, which can lead to hunching problems) lateral raises for shaping the shoulders; etc.
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