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Can dumbbells replace barbell [Article, Free download]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 2, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Can dumbbells replace the barbell

Can dumbbells replace the barbell

Dumbbells can replace barbells in most fitness scenarios and not for competitive powerlifting and weightlifting scenarios. 

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What is your why 


Before we get into whether dumbbells can replace barbells let me ask you a couple of questions: 


  • Why do you want to use dumbbells
  • Why do you want to get stronger? 
  • Why do you want to build muscle? 
  • What happens if you do? 
  • What happens if you don’t? 


These questions might seem unrelated. They will determine your success whether with it without barbells. Taking time to reflect on your motivation to take action and which means now to these actions have us the real game changer. Not whether you use dumbbells or barbells to get there. Most people go through their lives in this way: 


  • What do I want?
  • How do I get it? 
  • Why do I want it? 


If you focus on what you want you will be standing in your own way. What you want changes a million times a day based on what you see, hear and whom you spent time with. Your thoughts and actions will not be connected. You will adrift and unhappy as there is no guiding principle in your life and therefore not in your fitness regimen. If you flip these questions on their head this dynamic changes: 


  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it
  • What do you need to do to get it


This way you will connect your thoughts and actions to your purpose. Once you make this change everything you do in a day makes more sense. It all feeds into the overarching goal and feeds energy into and from it. Ultimately this will determine whether you will reach your fitness or other goals, not whether you use a dumbbell or a barbell. If you want to learn how this works on a psychological basis read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek makes a very compelling case telling the story of the Wright brothers in his TED talk on the golden circle. 




For weightlifting, dumbbells cannot replace the barbell. Weightlifters need to the dynamic of the barbell to be successful in their sport. Dumbbells can supplement the barbell routines or use them for rehab after an injury. 




For powerlifting, dumbbells cannot replace barbells as the sport is all about lifting the weight on barbells. Dumbbells are great tools to supplement for powerlifters to address weak links in their body. All in all barbell training is mandatory for powerlifters. 




For bodybuilding, dumbbells can replace barbells. Depending on your training style and what your body responds best to you might want to use dumbbells. Dumbbells give you the advantage to attack your muscles from more angles. Most bodybuilders use a mix of barbell and dumbbell exercises. I would not be surprised if they were also able to build a winning physique without ever touching a barbell




For general fitness purposes at home dumbbells can definitely replace barbells. They take up less space at home and you do not need to go as heavy. Any routine that gets your heart rate up will also work without dumbbells. The key is intensity. I would highly recommend kettlebells instead of dumbbells or barbells for staying fit at home. Read Pavel Tsatsoulin’s book simple and simple and sinister to learn what you need to know to never look at another fitness regime again. Unless you get bored with kettlebells of course. 


Can dumbbells replace the barbell 


Dumbbells can replace barbells in most fitness scenarios. The only exception is the sports that directly demand the use of a barbell. These would be weightlifting and powerlifting. 


Topics: Lift stronger, Fitness, Strength, Barbell, Dumbbell