You hear it all the time; which is better for building muscle? Dumbbells or barbells. Well, they both have their good points. In this instance, the points talked about are applied to a pressing motion, however this can nearly always be transferred to a pull too.
BarbellsSo, what are the positives of a barbell? Firstly, you have Less need to worry about controlling a weight in each hand, this allows for a much better balance when completing the exercise. Barbells also allow for a unique contraction of the chest, something i hardly ever see people incorporating into a workout. Obviously you will never be able to bend the bar, but if you drive inwards towards to the midline of your body with your hands on the bar, to almost feel like you are trying to bend it, then you will notice a contraction like no other when pressing. This will also take any tension away from your shoulders, encourage you to complete the exercise correctly and make sure your chest is being used to it’s full potential.
DumbbellsOn the other hand we have dumbbells. Now dumbbells will allow for a greater range of motion and when performed correctly, a much more fluid and natural movement. With this in mind, they also put less stress on the shoulder, something which is very important when training chest, for injury prevention more than anything. So with a greater range of movement, comes a greater chance of improving the muscle, how you desire, whether that be with size or strength.
Which is better?[caption id="attachment_3816" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Which is better? It depends on your goals[/caption] So which is the better choice? Well, ultimately the best choice for you is which ever one you feel more comfortable on and whichever one feels best for you when performing the exercise. In an ideal world, you should include both evenly into your workout, this way you can maximise the positive effects each will have on your goals. However, most people somewhere down the line have had a shoulder niggle whilst on their gym journey, and if not treated with respect and care, these can affect you for a very long time. So with that in mind, it is important take to into consideration, the effects both sides of the argument can have on your rehab. Going forward from this, next time you train chest, regardless of whether you use dumbbells or barbells, remember that the form of each is more important than choosing one or the other. Do not let your shoulders take over on a barbell exercise, and ensure you use the greater range of motion, to your advantage, safely, when using dumbbells. As ever, post-workout remember to help your body recover with an appropriate protein shake.