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Can you do powerlifting with dumbbells? [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jul 31, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Can you do powerlifting with dumbbells

Can you do powerlifting with dumbbells?

No powerlifting cannot be done with dumbbells. The sport is heavily geared towards the barbell.

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What is your why 

Before we go into the details of whether you can do powerlifting with Dumbbells, let me ask you a couple of questions: 
  • Why do you want to powerlift 
  • Why do you want to get stronger 
  • What happens when you do 
  • What happens if you don’t 
These questions will make all the difference between your success and failure. Research shows that people who reflect on and worries their goals down are more likely to achieve them. Time to get your brain going and note lads ready. Most people go through their lives like this:
  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 
This is a good way to go insane. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. It depends on whom you are with, what you see and where you are. If you make what you want the center of attention you will run in hundreds of directions and arrive nowhere. Your resources will be spread thin and time will be scattered between too many projects. Something interesting happens when you flip the order of these questions on their head: 
  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it 
  • What needs to be done 
This way your life will center on your core values and dreams rather than material pleasures. This will change the entire dynamic. Your thoughts and actions will become more connected and success more likely. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will change your life.


The sport of powerlifting aims to establish the highest possible total. Your total consists of three lifts, the bench press, deadlift, and squat. For each lift, you get three attempts. The best attempt for each lift gets counted towards your total. 
Usually, the be ch press contributes around 20% to your total while the deadlift and squat get 40% each on the board. Another big difference to lifting in the gym is that you get judged. Three referees observe your lifts from different angles. You need two out of three to approve it to count the lift towards your total. The criteria for judging thefts vary by the federation. The IPF standards are usually deemed the hardest. 


Dumbbells come in different shapes and forms and are popular across the board. You can get them in plastic and metal. Some have them for home use while others like to use the ones provided in the gym. 
If you have access to a gym they usually stock dumbbells which run up to 100 pounds. Higher denominations than this are not the rule. 
Dumbbells are great for beginners in strength and bodybuilders. Powerlifters will use them as a supporting tool, but their main workhorse is the barbell


Olympic barbells are standardized to 20kg for men and 15kg for women. What you find in your local gym is usually a 20kg version. 
Barbells come in all kinds of forms. The ones for powerlifting usually are a bit stiffer than the ones for weightlifting. They also do not have as much of a need for spin, as you do not rotate the bar heavily during the lift. 
Powerlifting is a sport that revolves around the barbell. Thenarbell is the lifeline without the sport would not exist. 

Can you do powerlifting with dumbbells 

No, you can not do powerlifting with dumbbells. The sport is fitted towards the barbell and there are no lifts done with the dumbbell. Dumbbells can support to develop the necessary strength, especially for smaller muscle groups that the barbell does not isolate. 

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