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Dumbbell/barbell question


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Hi!

 

I've been doing dumbbell bench presses for a few months and have progressed well up to 10kgx3x8. 

 

I originally chose to use dumbbells for safety as I work out alone and don't have a spotter. 

 

Today I tried the barbell, I used the 10kg bar and found it too easy so then moved to the 12.5kg bar. This was still relatively easy and did 3x10 sets. I'm wary of moving up through the weights, again for to safety. However if I stick to dumbbells am I going to reach a point where I struggle? Will I be able to do more with barbells or are they much the same? 

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Barbells often allow you to lift more because you have two points of contact, so it's therefore more stable and requires less effort from your muscles to keep things moving in a straight line - so if you have 10KG in each hand for DB bench presses, you can likely use at least 25kg on a barbell in my experience. If you're nervous about lifting without a spotter, and your gym isn't busy, you can press in a squat rack and use the safety bar.

 

Dumbbells ensure that both sides are staying even in their strength levels, and are often considered a better choice for long-term joint health as a result of greater flexibility for alignment/movement throughout the lift (eg. using a neutral grip for DB press instead of the barbell fixed shoulder position). Either is a good choice, so long as you're not feeling any discomfort or pain. You can make good progress with either, and the only limitations you'll likely find are from getting into position with DBs instead of the easier option of setting up a barbell on a stand.

 

EDIT: Short article on pros/cons of both https://builtwithscience.com/barbell-vs-dumbbell/

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On 3/11/2019 at 6:41 AM, Jka14 said:

Hi!

 

I've been doing dumbbell bench presses for a few months and have progressed well up to 10kgx3x8. 

 

I originally chose to use dumbbells for safety as I work out alone and don't have a spotter. 

 

Today I tried the barbell, I used the 10kg bar and found it too easy so then moved to the 12.5kg bar. This was still relatively easy and did 3x10 sets. I'm wary of moving up through the weights, again for to safety. However if I stick to dumbbells am I going to reach a point where I struggle? Will I be able to do more with barbells or are they much the same? 

 

I don't think barbell bench presses will get dangerous for some time yet... even if you fail a lift you can lower the bar gently to your chest and roll it down to your hips, then sit up. Eventually it will be too heavy for this and you might need to rethink how to manage safety. But you're probably not going to hurt yourself with a 20 or even 30kg bench press (unless you literally drop the bar from a locked out position, but I don't see how that would happen if you don't attempt something way beyond your abilities). And it will get uncomfortable before it gets outright dangerous, so you will have some warning. It might also be worthwhile to start paying attention to your sets and learning when you're one or two reps from failure... you'll get familiar with what the second-from-last rep feels like (for me, it's significantly slower than the preceding reps). Then you can get into the habit of leaving one or two reps "in the tank" so you never fail a rep.

Actually, I hurt myself a couple of times in the gym, both times with dumbbells.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 9:14 AM, Defining said:

the only limitations you'll likely find are from getting into position with DBs instead of the easier option of setting up a barbell on a stand.


Yeah, this is how I hurt myself. My fault for thinking DB and BB were interchangeable... I should have been much more conservative with my DB weights.  So by all means keep doing both, and maybe keep the dumbbells at a slightly lower weight with higher reps so you know for sure that you can control them when getting in and out of position for the lift itself. 

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I did the same starting out but found eventually the jumps were hard to do. Instead of moving up 5# the dumbbells were twice that in addition to being harder. So I had to increase reps more before moving up weight. I’ve known folks to mess up shoulders with DB press not because of how they press them but the picking up and setting down while still laying on the bench. Make sure with DB you can sit up with them and set them down.

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