Serious strength and mass goals can be achieved by training with dumbbells. To fully maximize strength and hypertrophy, dumbbell training must play at least a partial role in one’s training regimen.
Here are 4 advantages dumbbell workouts have.
Stabilization and Activation
One study compared the EMG activity of the chest, triceps, and biceps when performing a barbell bench press, smith machine bench press, and a dumbbell bench press. The dumbbell bench press and barbell bench press were similar in chest and triceps activity. Biceps activity was significantly higher with the dumbbells. This is because dumbbells require greater stabilization and in turn, greater stabilization means more muscle fiber activation.
Identification and Elimination of Strength Imbalances
Dumbbells force limbs to work unilaterally. If one side is significantly weaker than the other, that will be obvious almost straight away because over-compensation is impossible with dumbbells.
Increased Range of Motion
One of the most effective ways to overload muscles for strength or muscle-building purposes is to increase the range of motion. There is only so much range of motion one can accomplish with a row or press, not the case with dumbbell variations! Dumbbells can add a new dimension of overload to your go-to mass movements by extending the range of motion.
When bench pressing with a barbell, your arms and shoulders are in a fixed position and move through a set range of motion. In contrast, dumbbell presses allow one to alter the movement pattern slightly and let the shoulders move freely.