Dumbbells are a hallmark of high-quality training, but they’re often considered secondary to barbells.
When is it time to use dumbbells in your workout plan and make the most of these smaller weights?
Here are 3 of my favourite things to do with dumbbells!
Dumbbells are perfect for accessory work. They force you to use smaller weights because of their increased demand or stability and control – things you should be working on anyway!
With limited weight, dumbbells are a perfect follow-up to big barbell compounds. Bench pressing is great for overload, but getting higher-rep work in with dumbbells is a great way to change gear, focus on muscular balance, and get the volume work in.
They’re not secondary to barbells: they should be your first choice for accessory work.
There are some exercises that just work better with dumbbells than barbells or machines. These often involve interesting balance or body positions that don’t suit other exercises.
The lunge or Bulgarian split squat are great examples. You can perform these exercises with a barbell but it just doesn’t suit as well – and really complicates the exercise!
Keeping it simple is a good habit to get into, and dumbbells in your workout plan are a versatile way of loading dozens of different movements in a safe, predictable way.
Longer Ranges of Motion
This is key for exercises like the dumbbell row, as an example, where barbells are limited in their ability to move through the muscle/joint’s full range of motion.
Getting full-ROM training is important for building strength in the muscles at any length and keeping joints controlled. If you don’t use this range, you WILL lose it!
Dumbbells can be moved through long ranges of motion since they move independently and you don’t have to worry about the awkwardness that a barbell presents.