Don't get us wrong, we love the barbell. When it comes to building power and strength, it's hard to beat. It's a piece of equipment you'll find that we use both in the gym and online all the time. But let's not forget about those dumbbells baby! Dumbbells are a great way to to build stability, strength, and power when it comes to your fitness...and even cardio when programmed correctly. But why or when would you want to use a dumbbell instead of a barbell?
The barbell is a great way, if not the number one way, to build absolute power and strength. However, it is also one of the toughest to master. So, one reason to use dumbbells is to modify a barbell movement. For instance, you can use two dumbbells in the front rack position instead of doing a barbell front squat. Or you can use a single arm dumbbell snatch instead of a barbell power snatch. It is great way to get a similar power stimulus without needing the efficiency or technique of olympic lifting.
Another reason we love to use the dumbbell is for some conditioning! It is a fun, safe, and effective option to add to your metabolic conditioning or HIIT training workouts. However, the main reason we love dumbbells is for their stability!!! Pressing one dumbbell overhead in one arm will force you to stabilize your body more than pressing just one barbell overhead with both hands at the same time.
So when should you use dumbbells over barbells or vice-versa? It is really based off of the stimulus you are looking for. So mix it up a bit. Some days hit up a back squat for some power, other days, hit up a Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat to work on both strength and stability.
A good rule of thumb is, for more absolute power and strength, grab that barbell. For more stability, balance, etc. grab those dumbbells. Either one though will help you get crazy strong and fit. So mix them up into your routine, keep getting after it and earn that rest.
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