Which is better to choose - a barbell or dumbbells?

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Which is better to choose - a barbell or dumbbells?
Which is better to choose - a barbell or dumbbells?

Find out what is best for you for home training - dumbbells or a barbell, what are the pros and cons of these popular equipment. Athletes can use various sports equipment and equipment, for example, dumbbells, exercise machines, kettlebells, barbell, etc. The main question is not what is better than a dumbbell or a barbell, but what tasks were assigned to the builder. For example, if you need to increase your strength by working with 2 to 6 repetitions, wouldn't dumbbells be the best option?

Or another example - in recovery training, it is probably worth giving up the barbell. With simulators, the situation is even more complicated. Many are sure that they are great only for professional athletes, but sometimes you may need to use them. Let's talk about which is better than a dumbbell or barbell. Or maybe you should prefer another sports equipment?

Pros and cons of the barbell

Barbell on white background


One of the main positive qualities of this sports equipment is the ability to achieve maximum innervation of the muscle group being worked out. This is due to the involvement of a large number of synergistic muscles. If an athlete needs to increase strength indicators, then a barbell will be an ideal choice for this, since it provides an opportunity to ensure the most comfortable work of the articular-ligamentous apparatus.

As a result, the nervous system is obliged to send powerful impulses so that the muscles actively contract. You probably know that only in such a situation can all the power capabilities of the athlete manifest themselves. If you have a strength training cycle ahead of you, then only work with a barbell. Dumbbells. Exercise equipment and other sports equipment should be set aside.


As such, the bar has no pronounced negative sides. Perhaps, it would be appropriate here to say about the absence of advantages of other shells. The barbell can be used to improve general physical fitness, as well as perform isolated exercises for a specific muscle group.

Unfortunately, you cannot perform with a barbell, for example, supination of the hand or connect some stabilizer muscles to work. It is also difficult to perform movements in a strictly specified amplitude. This is a rather serious disadvantage for novice athletes. However, it is difficult to attribute all of the above to serious shortcomings.

Advantages and disadvantages of dumbbells

Pair of dumbbells on white background


Let's move on to the answer to the second part of the question, which is better than a dumbbell or a barbell. The main advantage of training with dumbbells is the ability to use additional stabilizers. Since the dumbbells are not connected to each other, the athlete can perform movements with greater amplitude. If the barbell does not allow supinating the hand, then with dumbbells it is possible. As a result, it becomes possible to use additional functions of the muscles.

Based on all of the above, we can state the following - dumbbells are an excellent tool when using a high-volume training program or during recovery sessions. Let's not forget that with the help of dumbbells, you can perform specific and fairly effective movements, for example, swinging or spreading.


You can definitely say that using dumbbells, you will never be able to lift the same weight as when exercising with a barbell. This suggests that the innervation of the muscles is much weaker and a barbell should be used during refusal training.In addition, dumbbells are more difficult to take and when working with large weights, assistants may be required.

When performing movements that can be done with a barbell, such as a bench press, the working weight may not be enough for you. It should also be remembered that it is more difficult to progress the load when working with dumbbells. If you want to increase your strength parameters, then you should alternate training with these shells. In such a situation, the load progresses with the barbell, and dumbbells are used as a means of consolidating the results obtained.

Advantages and disadvantages of simulators

Various gym equipment

We considered the question of which is better than a dumbbell or barbell. However, athletes often use exercise equipment and weights. These types of sports equipment should also be discussed.


Provides the ability to work with the required amplitude and thus the athlete can fully focus on muscle contraction. On simulators, you are able to conduct fail-safe classes without an assistant, since you can fix the bar at any moment. Some movements can be performed only on simulators or it is more convenient to do it.

For example, scissor squats are recommended to be performed on sports equipment, and not with free weight. Most often, beginner athletes resort to using simulators, since they do not have sufficient technical skills. Since they work in a strictly specified amplitude, it is much more difficult to break the technique.


Work in simulators is ineffective for most people. This is due to the fact that the amplitude set in them is averaged. If your performance is significantly different from the average, then the workout will not be of sufficient benefit. However, it is extremely difficult to name the serious disadvantages of this type of sports equipment.

It would be more correct to speak of simulators as a tool for solving specific problems. These include tonic classes or relief work. But after an injury, it is recommended to work on simulators. This is due to the ability to eliminate the negative load on the damaged part of the body.

Will weights for strength training be effective?

The guy trains with a kettlebell

As in a conversation, which is better than a dumbbell or a barbell, you can state a fact. That weights will help you in solving certain problems. Often, people who want to train at home have a question about what kind of sports equipment they should buy. Ideally, you should purchase not only dumbbells, but also a barbell and weights. So you can progress faster and develop your body harmoniously. If he speaks specifically and kettlebells, then they should be used to solve the following tasks.

Supplement strength training with cardio load

You can work with weights in a wide range of movements. This leads to an increase in heart rate and as a result strength training is combined with a cardio session. If you don't like a treadmill or exercise bike, then a kettlebell is a great choice. By introducing exercises with this sports equipment into the training program, you can significantly improve endurance and normalize the work of the cardiovascular system. We recommend paying attention to the following exercises:

  • Jerk.
  • Throwing kettlebells on the shoulders.
  • Kettlebell slopes.
  • Turkish climbs from the ground.
  • Machi.

Improving explosive strength

Regular execution of certain movements with a kettlebell will dramatically increase explosive strength. Recall that this is the ability to show maximum strength abilities in a short time frame. Explosive power is essential in a variety of sports. Also note that doing these exercises helps in overcoming plateaus:

  • Swing kettlebells with resistance.
  • Jumping sumo squats.
  • Lifting the projectile over your head.

Complication of movement due to unstable body position

When working with a kettlebell, the center of gravity moves away from the hand by 20 centimeters, which makes them less stable.Additional efforts have to be expended to hold the projectile. This statement is true for most of the movements performed with kettlebells.

Development of an indicator of functional strength

Working with a kettlebell, you develop not a separate muscle group, but almost the whole body. For example, when performing swings, the muscles of the core, buttocks, legs, shoulder girdle and chest are actively involved. As a result, you have the opportunity to harmoniously develop your body and increase the indicator of functional strength, which is useful in real life.

Increased grip strength

Since the handle of the kettlebell is curved and has a fairly large thickness, the muscles of the wrist, which are responsible for grip strength, are strengthened. For example, doing bent-over rows can help you prepare for pull-ups and other horizontal bar exercises.

Now we want not just to talk about the advantages of kettlebells, but to compare this apparatus with dumbbells. Let's find out in what situations the use of dumbbells seems to be the preferred solution.

Performing basic exercises

For most of these movements, dumbbells are just perfect. When working with a kettlebell, you often have to make a preliminary swinging movement, then in the case of using dumbbells, inertia will not interfere, and you will not be able to simplify the exercise.

Beginner athletes

Dumbbells differ from kettlebells in greater stability, and this particular projectile can be recommended for beginners. With dumbbells, you can safely train yourself at home, but the skills of working with a kettlebell should be mastered under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

For mass gain and isolation exercises

In fact, with the help of dumbbells, you can gain mass and increase strength. It is for these tasks that most people train.

If you are just starting to play sports, you can do many exercises for kettlebells with dumbbells. For example, instead of jerking kettlebells, do dumbbell swings. The main difference between these movements is at the top of the trajectory. As a result, you can perfectly work the muscles of the arms, core and legs.

If we talk about which sports equipment to choose for home workouts, then we give three reasons in favor of dumbbells:

  1. It is a versatile sports equipment with which it is convenient to perform a large number of exercises.
  2. Most often, at home, you have to work in a confined space. When doing kettlebell exercises, you must perform swinging and swinging, which can cause injury or damage to furniture.
  3. Stacking weights are more difficult to find than dumbbells. This suggests that the load in the first case will be more difficult to progress.

Certain conclusions can be drawn from the foregoing. If you train in the gym, then it is worth combining work with a kettlebell, dumbbells and a barbell. At home, dumbbells should be preferred. If space and financial possibilities permit, it is worth purchasing a barbell. In fact, these two sports equipment will be enough to solve the assigned tasks. That's all we wanted to tell you about which is better than a dumbbell or barbell. Whichever sports equipment you choose, you need to train regularly.

For more about the features of training, the pros and cons of dumbbells and barbells, see the video below:

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