Barbells vs Dumbbells – The Final Battle

Barbells vs Dumbbells – The Final Battle
ProFi Fitness, 11-12-2020



If we want to compare barbells and dumbbells, we should first answer the question: why do I choose this particular piece of equipment and what purpose  should it  have in my training? The role of barbells is to teach the correct technique, improve muscle awareness and control, and... break records. Imagine these two scenarios:


1.You are a beginner learning how to do the bench press. Your nervous system remembers both the path of movement and a plane in which you work. In turn, your muscles gradually get used to the effort and work in the correct range of motion. This is not the time to break records. Remember! Technique first, adding more weight later.


2.You are an intermediate person and you already know what the correct movement looks like, what the pace of the exercise should be and how to breathe correctly to maximize your results. Strength building is the next stage in your preparations, and it is time to start adding weight. Let's assume that the number of your bench press reps is 5 and you decide to work with a barbell. Why not dumbbells, if you can already work in uniplanar movement?




Exercises using dumbbells allow for multiplanar movement increasing the range of muscle work. Using the example above (bench press), please notice that holding a barbell is much easier than holding a dumbbell in both hands. In addition, you can lower the bar to a certain point. The final phase is touching the barbell to the sternum. However, when using dumbbells, this point is determined by the degree of stretching of your muscles, your mobility and proper neuromuscular connections (your nervous system sends signals to your muscles when you finish the negative phase and stretching movement so that the muscle does not get injured). Working in maximum ranges of motion causes greater stimulation of muscle fibers ;thus stimulates them to greater hypertrophy.




The shoulder girdle is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body when it comes to injuries. Exercising with dumbbells reduce this risk. Holding weights in both hands requires paying full attention to the movement. Also, muscles responsible for the stabilization of your shoulder joints (rotators) play a hugely important role here. In addition, you can be sure that if you can’t press the weight, it will not fall on your chest; you can just throw the dumbbells on the floor.




Multiplane movements with the use of dumbbells allow for a greater variety in our training through the choice of different versions of a particular exercise. The maximum range of motion of individual muscle groups and diversification of exercises in various rotations engage muscle fibers to work from many angles. Additionally, each rotation  strengthens  tendons and ligaments, which in turn also strengthens the skeletal system and improves the functionality of the muscular system. You can work bilaterally (with both hands), unilaterally (with one hand) or alternate movements – this way you force additional work of stabilizing muscles, which allow you to maintain proper body posture.


To sum up, if you are a person beginning your adventure in the gym, starting with barbells is a way to go. This way you will learn correct technique and control your muscles. However, if you are a more advanced person, working with dumbbells should be the basis for your training.