Frequently asked questions about dumbbell training
This is a short overview of the most commonly asked questions I get about dumbbell training. Feel free to add your own one in the comment section.
Why dumbbell is better
A dumbbell is better equipment than a barbell or machine in certain scenarios. These scenarios are mostly related to space, budget and training goals.
In terms of space, a barbell will take up less than most other options for fitness. The only equipment I could think of which beats dumbbells is jump ropes while kettlebells come out on par.
If you are only buying for yourself a new dumbbell or a pair of dumbbells will be cheaper than a barbell. If you want a set of barbells with a different weight you might be better of buying a barbell with various plates. A compromise between these to worlds is a loadable dumbbell.
In terms of training goals, barbells are usually more suited to a regimen that is focused on putting on mass and building maximum strength. Dumbbells are usually a better fit for circuit training and anything involving jumping around. You might also look into weighted vests for this purpose.
Why dumbbell exercises
Dumbbell exercises offer you more flexibility to put your muscles through various ranges of motions. Barbells can only be used in straight lines. Machines dictate the range of motion based on their construction. Dumbbells leave you with the possibility to turn your wrists, change direction in the middle of the movement or swap hands.
Why dumbbell row
The dumbbell row will activate your core more than the barbell row. If you don’t hold on to a bench or a dumbbell rack, your stabilizing muscles will have to work harder on a dumbbell row. A barbell will provide more stability based on the fact that you hold on to it with both hands.
In addition, you can also pull the dumbbell I to and beyond your armpit to prolong the range of motion. With a barbell, you hit the maximum when you reach your chest. The ability to turn your wrist for dumbbell rows also leaves you with more options.
Why dumbbell overhead press
The dumbbell overhead press can help to address imbalances between your left and right hemisphere. If one side is a lot stronger than the other, keeping the arms apart helps. The dumbbell overhead press will also make it harder to turn the overhead press into a push press by driving form the hips. This means less cheating involved for more muscle activation from the arms and shoulders rather than further down the kinetic chain.
When to dumbbell bench press
You can dumbbell bench press when you do not have access to a barbell. You can also use the dumbbell bench press when you feel like you are not getting anywhere with the barbell bench press. It is also a good variation to attack your chest from different angles as the dumbbell can be tilted.
When to dumbbell curl
Dumbbell curls are great to build your biceps. I usually like to do them as accessory work once to twice a week after my main session.