Dumbbell vs Barbell- Which Is Better For You?

Dumbbell vs Barbell- Which Is Better For You?

Dumbbell vs barbell debate is a very common debate topic for almost every gym-goers. There are different opinion of different people when comes to maximize muscle growth.


Free weight exercises are a better option for maximizing your muscle growth. But there is only two option left when it comes to free weights.


Some say dumbbell is better for maximum muscle growth and some say that the is far better.


So, today I am going to discuss this topic, dumbbell vs barbell for maximum muscle growth.



The barbell is a piece of very commonly used and essential gym equipment in a gym. There are various types of barbells available.


  • Standard bar
  • Deadlift bar
  • Powerlifting bar
  • Olympic bar
  • EZ bar
  • Hex (trap) bar
  • Swiss bar
  • Safety squat bar


Although standard bars are commonly used in most of the gyms for power and strength training like squats, shoulder press, etc.




Dumbbells has also many variations and types like the barbell have. Dumbbell has more flexibility than a barbell. Let’s see some types of dumbbells:


  • Fixed hex dumbbell
  • Fixed rubber dumbbells
  • Fixed chrome dumbbells
  • Studio dumbbells
  • Spine lock dumbbells


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Dumbbell vs Barbell


If you are a gym-goer then you should definitely know the pros and cons of using dumbbells and barbells. This will give you the advantage to change your workout strategy according to your goals and demands.


Maximum weight loads


You probably heard that “The more you lift, the more you gain”. and that is true. So if you want to gain weight or build some muscle mass what you should choose to work with?


Studies have shown that you can lift much heavier weights on the barbell compared to the dumbbells. In fact, you can lift up to 10-20% more weight compared to the total weight of two dumbbells.


So, if your goal is to gain weight or you want to gain some muscle mass in some specific muscle group, then you must go for the barbells.

bench-press- benefits

Range of motion


When it comes to gain muscle there is another factor that comes into play which is the range of motion.


You need to stretch your muscle to its maximum potential and then contract it as hard as possible. That is the fundamental of muscle growth.


With a barbell you will face a restricted range of motion; for example, in the bench press, you can not lower the bar when it touches the chest.


But with dumbbells, you can lower it further which gives your chest muscle fiber the maximum stretch. On the other hand, when you push the barbell in bench press your wrists are restricted.


So, you can not bring them closer. That restricts your chest muscle fibers to contract at its maximum. But with,  have that advantage.


You can closer your wrist and squeeze your chest hard so that you can feel that contraction at the top.


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With a barbell, you have very little flexibility to perform an exercise. you can not make any minor to major changes to the workout with a barbell.


But with the dumbbell, you have more flexibility to perform an exercise. Let me explain you with an example:


During the barbell curl, you can not twist your wrist. It would be fixed and you have performed the exercise as it is. So, you can not target your short head of biceps that efficiently.


But with dumbbell you can, you can twist your wrist and this is very important for your bicep peak.


On the other hand with the bench press, you have not much flexibility to target your chest from different angel if you perform it with a barbell.


But with dumbbell you have that flexibility; like you can have a neutral grip to target your chest muscle fiber differently. You can also twist them throughout the range of motion.


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Unilateral exercises


With a barbell, you can not perform any kind of unilateral exercises like single-arm bench press, one arm curl, etc.


But with the dumbbell, you can perform this kind of exercise easily. Now why unilateral exercises are important?


Unilateral exercises can isolate a particular area of muscle group so that they can grow individually with its full potential. And secondly, it builds a strong muscle and mind connection to that working muscle group.


For example, if you perform one arm bench press, you can concentrate more on that side of the chest and isolate it properly for better growth.


Muscle imbalance


Muscle imbalance is a common issue among the gym-goers, especially among the beginners. A lot of my clients also ask me about that.


So, to fix this muscle imbalance the dumbbell can be a game-changer. Because as I mentioned earlier that you can target a particular of a muscle group by performing unilateral exercises.


And that is possible by a dumbbell. So, the barbell can not help you to fix your muscle imbalance issue. Go for dumbbells.


What To Choose Dumbbell vs Barbell


So now here comes the big question that when to choose barbell and when dumbbell comes into play.


Weight gain


As per the discussion you already know that you can lift much heavier with the barbells than dumbbells. So, if your goal is to gain weight, gain some muscle mass then go for barbell exercises.


To gain weight start your workout session with barbell exercises to lift maximum weights. Then to isolate your muscles use the dumbbells.


Read Also: How To Gain Weight Naturally- Without Gaining Fat


Fix muscle imbalance


For those who face the issue of muscle imbalance, should focus on unilateral exercises more than the bilateral exercises.


So, to perform unilateral exercises you need to focus on all kinds of dumbbell exercises. And it also helps to build a better muscle and mind connection.


Develop a definition to your muscles


Barbells are great to build muscle mass there should be no doubt but to give a proper shape to that muscle mass you need to isolate them with dumbbell exercises.


Let me give you an example; with barbell curl, you definitely build a lot of muscle mass to your biceps. But with the dumbbell curl, you can achieve a great shape like the peak of the bicep.


So, if you are looking to develop some definition of your muscle mass then go for dumbbell exercises.




So, get out of this myth about dumbbell vs barbell, because as you can see both have their significant role to build muscle mass.


Now it’s all up to you that what you want. According to your goal choose the dumbbell or the barbell.


But remember one thing that you should combine both dumbbell and barbell exercise in your workout more or less. Now design your workout routine according to your goal.


That’s it for now; if you have any queries or want to ask me something then go ahead ask me in the comment section below.

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