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Dumbbells or Barbells

Barbells vs Dumbbells for Bodybuilding

If you have been training with weights for more than 6 months, then you will know very well that if you can bench-press 100lbs for ten reps you will not even come close to lifting two 50lbs dumbbells for ten reps. You might get to 6 or even 8 reps but dumbbells will always be more difficult.

Beginners always start off using barbells for a good reason. They can use a heavier weight and concentrate on perfecting form without using the stabilizing muscles supporting the targeted muscles. The objective is progressive resistance so a beginner should always start using barbells.

But if you are a bodybuilder wanting to increase muscle mass then you need to use dumbbells is order to recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibers when doing a movement. The use of the stabilizing muscles that are needed to lift any dumbbell will always call on more muscle fibers, which is why the weight feels heavier when using dumbbells.

If you have been training for more than 6 months and you still look better in a T-shirt than you do without it, then you have something called Benchers Chest. This means your pecs are developed from the outside inwards from doing max-load bench, instead of developing from the middle pecs outwards.

For example, if we look specifically at bench-press and D/B press the dumbbells wins every time. Not only will it recruit more muscle fibers working with dumbbells but it will also be more effective by using incline and decline D/B pressing movements.

For example, a simple thing like lifting your feet up on a bench when you do a movement like D/B flies or press will transfer the joint stress and the weight will be more isolated on the muscles doing most of the work. Additionally, dumbbells never connect your hands together like a barbell will, they therefore will stimulate and need more active, conscious and concentrated control.

Another advantage of using dumbbells compared to barbells when you are an intermediate level lifter is that dumbbells keep the movement honest. You cannot bounce or rebound off the chest when training with dumbbells, like you can do very easily when performing a standard barbell bench-press.

In conclusion dumbbells are a better option if you have been training for a while. The variations that you could use dumbbells to focus on any specific body-part far more than when using a barbell. Plus, you get the additional advantage of recruiting more muscle fibers.

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