building involves the use of weights to develop bigger and stronger
muscles. You can use machines or you can simply stick to the basics
which are dumbbells and barbells. But what should you choose?
Usually, what can be performed with a barbell can also be done
with two dumbbells, the major difference is each arm will support
the weight completely and is independent of each other. With a
barbell, if you put more effort in only one arm, you might not
be able to do the exercise effectively. You have to use both arms.
has a major advantage in that it allows a greater range of motion.
Say you're doing bench press with two dumbbells, you can lower
the dumbbell on each side of your body much further to stretch
your chest muscles also known as the pectorals. With a barbell,
once the bar reaches your chest, you can't lower it anymore. Another
exercise which is great for using dumbbells is bicep curls. With
two dumbbells, you can use the full weight for each arm, so no
cheating. With a barbell, sometimes, one arm might be doing more
of the work to raise the barbell. Most often, this is the stronger
which dumbbells fit well are dumbbell press and dumbbell lateral
raises. Dumbbell press works the whole shoulders and allows you
to focus on each shoulder independently. Dumbbell lateral raises
work the middle shoulder muscle and can't be performed with a
barbell. So sometimes, you're limited with a barbell. With dumbbells,
practically all exercises can be performed. You can have a full
body workout just with dumbbells and you can isolate the muscles
more. Even the powerful compound exercises like squats, bent over
rows and deadlifts can be performed with two dumbbells.
you only use dumbbells? Not necessarily. You can use both in fact.
With a barbell, it's good to have that feel of supporting the
weights completely with both arms and usually, a barbell is more
convenient for squats and deadlifts. You can incorporate barbell
and dumbbells together in your workouts. For eg, you can do dumbbell
bicep curl and barbell bicep curl during your bicep muscle workout.
Also, you get more exercises to perform to vary your training
you're using dumbbells or barbell, the important thing to remember
is to concentrate well on what you're doing so that you can feel
the muscle really working. Feel the burn and get the muscles really
About the author
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.