I was using dumbbells for bench presses and my husband uses the barbell, last upper body I decided to switch to the barbell because I am getting jealous of his cleavage, LOL!
Seriously though, I do think it seems that the barbell does better for the middle chest area while the dumbbells do more for the outside chest (armpit) area...
It has been my experience that I can lift heavier with the barbell because what one arm doesnt want to lift, the other one can/will.
With free weights, alot of stabelizer muscles are engaged and it does make a harder lift to get proper form on, and therefore I can not lift as heavy that way.
LegsC3 pretty much summed up my findings too. I can lift a lot heavier with the barbells than the dumbells and have better form and control.
I needed this. I've been using dumbbells because I lift in our school gym at the same time as our whole 9th grade football team is in there. So rather than take up a power rack, I've just used dumbbells, but I can't lift nearly as much with them and have been rather frustrated.
Are there benefits in using the lower weight (as compared to barbell w weights) dumbbells to strengthen the stabilizer muscles? Or does the barbell work those just as well?
"The limits you are living with right now, in every aspect of your existence, have been created by your mind. They are perceptions. And they are holding you back. You are capable of far more than you think you are." -Bill Phillips
From what I have read and heard several of the men on here say - dumbbells are the way to go for strength. Main thing is to keep your form. It is not safe to increase your weights with dumbbells unless you can keep your form. Injuries can happen otherwise. You can always grab a heavy dumbbell and use 2 hands to lift into your bicep curl and then slowly lower it - this will in time increase your strength so that you can curl it with one hand.
Although I use my dumbbells more than barbell, I still like to switch it up some workouts to break any monotony I am feeling.
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