Barbell vs Dumbbell: Pros & Cons: Which Is Better

When it comes to barbell vs. dumbbell, which one is better? Before we answer this question, you’ll want to learn the pros and cons of both. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which one is better.

Barbell: The Pros

Training with barbells is great. This is because of the many benefits they offer. Below are the top three.

1. Go Heavy

You can go heavy with barbells, and the heavier you go, the stronger and bigger you will get. This is why many people focus on doing barbells before any other exercise. If your goal is to make serious gains, then use barbells before machines, dumbbells or cable.

2. Great For Chest And Legs

Barbell training will quickly and efficiently build up your legs and chest, which is why they are used for squats and bench pressing by professional athletes around the world, as well as bodybuilders and regular people looking to add mass. The bottom line is if you want to build up your legs or chest, then you should be using barbell exercises such as squats, lunges, the bench press and incline bench press to name a few. Remember, the bench press is the king of chest exercises and squats are the king of leg exercises, so make sure to do them with a barbell.

3. Explosive Training

Sure, there is a certain level of explosiveness you can train with when using dumbbells, but not quite the same with barbells. When you want to train with serious intensity and explode during workouts, then barbells are necessary, especially for exercises such as the  dead-lift  or  clean-snatch-jerks . If you train with great intensity with dumbbells, as well as barbells, you will know exactly what we’re talking about. We’re not saying that dumbbells are useless because we still think you can train with a lot of intensity, but we also believe barbells are better for high-intensity workouts.

You can go heavy with barbells. They are great for leg workouts and chest workouts. The bottom line is you should train with barbells.

Dumbbells: The Pros

barbell vs. dumbbell

There are a lot of benefits of training with dumbbells. Although there are a lot, we’ll discuss three of them. Below are the three key advantages of dumbbells.

1. Great For Beginners

Dumbbells tend to be better for newbies or those with little workout experience. This is because you are forced to stabilize the weight of the dumbbells you’re holding. This actually improves the coordination of your hands and more fibers are activated. If you don’t have a lot of training experience and you want to ensure one side of your body (such as arms) are equally strong, then you’ll want to train with dumbbells.

2. Safer

With a barbell, you can easily injure yourself, especially if you’re tempted to load up the bar with a bunch of weight. What happens when you go as heavy as possible when you use a barbell, you struggle to get it back to the starting position. If you can’t lift a loaded barbell off of your chest or squat it back up, then you could end up seriously injuring yourself. With dumbbells, you just drop them. When you can’t lift them to complete your rep, then simply let them go to the ground. It’s as simple as that and you reduce the chances of injuring yourself by a lot.

3. Correct Imbalances

Newbies and even experienced lifters alike will sometimes realize they have strength imbalances. For example, if you get under a barbell and you start bench pressing it, you might notice your right arm or left arm gets to the starting point before the other. This is an example of having a strength imbalance. The easiest way to correct this would be to start training with dumbbells. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking dumbbell training is useless for accomplishing this. However, it is the best way, so make sure you use dumbbells when you need to fix imbalances.

Those are only a few of the many benefits of using dumbbells. As for how often you should train with them, this depends. Figure out what your goals are and then create a schedule incorporating dumbbells.

Barbell vs Dumbbell: The Cons Of Each

Barbell and dumbbells offer an array of benefits. There are a few cons associated with both too. Below are the cons of each.

1. Barbell

One con is you usually need a spot for certain exercises, such as the barbell shoulder press or the barbell bench press. If you go heavy with barbell training, then you’ll definitely need a spot. Another potential con is you really have to load more weight on the bar if you want to make meaningful progress, but this isn’t necessarily the case with everyone.

2. Dumbbells

The main con of dumbbells is that most of the exercises are considered isolation exercises. It is quite difficult to target multiple muscles with dumbbells, but this isn’t always a bad thing, especially if your main goal is to target mainly one muscle. Other than that, there really aren’t any other major cons associated with dumbbells.

Barbell vs Dumbbell: Which Is Better

The truth is that none is better than the other, but what you should focus on is the advantages that they both offer. Once you determine this, then you can decide which one to use the most. You can’t go wrong with either, which is why we believe they are both good. After all, they both offer an array of benefits and whether one is better than the other will be determined by what your fitness goals are.

As you can see from the above barbell vs. dumbbell article, it’s a good idea to use both. What you really want to do is determine what your fitness goals are and then this will help you decide whether to focus more on barbell or dumbbell work. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but it’s a good idea to do both.


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