Many people like you and I often wondered what provided a better workout, dumbbells or barbells. Is there really a difference? If so, what are the benefits and/or downsides of training with either?

Just like every form of training dumbbells and barbells both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Most trainers (such as myself) will advise you to incorporate both into your workout program, but before you do that, we also have to go over some key factors of when and how to add dumbbell and barbell training into your workout routine.

First let’s look at the benefits of dumbbells and barbells.


Benefits of dumbbells:

Builds more stabilizer muscles and activates more muscle fibers which improves your balance and control

It’s easier to spot yourself and reduces the risk of getting injured (since the weights aren’t as heavy)

Exercises and movements provide a full-fluid range of motion

Helps improve any imbalances you might have i.e., left arm stronger than your right


Benefits of barbells:

You can lift heavier weights (meaning more strength gains)

Better for building mass as well

It’s easier for beginners because the weight is evenly balanced

Are better for comfortably working out major muscle groups like back, legs and chest. Squats, deadlifts, snatches, jerks and power cleans give you better results when working out with barbells.

 Q: So which is better – dumbbells or barbells?

After seeing the benefits of both, it’s up to you to decide, based on your training goals.

If you’re new to the gym or working out it’s probably better to start out with light dumbbell training for the upper body.

This will build a solid foundation of both balance and strength.

You stand a less chance of getting hurt because the weights typically only go up to 150 lbs.

However, with lower body training and implementing exercises such as squats and deadlifts it’s much better to use barbells because it enables your entire body to function cohesively, and it doesn’t apply as much pressure to your spine as opposed to squats and deadlifts with dumbbells.

So if you are new to the gym, don’t have great form, have muscle imbalances or need more stability training dumbbells are your best bet.

Keep in mind, if you are used to going to the gym, want to build serious strength, practice great form and don’t have major skeletal muscle imbalances then barbells are the way to go.

Still incorporate dumbbell training into your workout program because control of the weight is important, but you can stick to the heavy lifts that generate sheer power and physiques.

Most people favor dumbbells or barbells, which do you prefer? Have any thoughts, questions or concerns? Contact Body By Bell through email or social media.