Biceps Training – Dumbbells Vs. Barbells

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The biceps is the most overtrained muscle group because everybody wants to have huge arms. Many wonder what’s more effective for biceps growth – barbell or dumbbells. To come up with a definitive solution we have to examine the benefits and disadvantages of both methods.

Biceps Training - Dumbbells Vs, Barbells

via: msjensen.cehd.umn.edu

Barbells allow you to lift the heaviest weight possible. That’s why they are considered “mass builders”. However, it’s not that simple. Barbells allow you to lift more weight because the weight is already stabilized for you to a certain degree. Both arms are working against the one single load. This causes a serious issue: the stronger arms takes over and imbalances can be developed. You have all seen many bodybuilders who do their barbell curls unevenly – one side higher than the other. On the other hand dumbbells distribute the stress evenly since each arm has it’s own weight to lift.


While the uneven distribution is a problem, it’s nothing compared to the elbow and wrist pain often experienced during barbell curls. If you are using the straight bar for your curls, you wrists will most likely start hurting sooner or later. Development of elbow tendonitis is possible too, because the poor wrist-elbow alignment forces the joint in a compromised position. Dumbbells fix this problem and your wrists can assume the position they prefer. That’s the biggest advantage of dumbbells over barbells – proper alignment of the joint is easier to achieve. In return, there is less pain.

So, it turns out that the only advantage of barbells is the ability lift a lot of weight and that’s about it. When it comes to biceps training this is not a big deal. The weight you are going to use for your dumbbell curls will still be plenty to stimulate growth. To tell the truth, make other exercises joint friendly too. Of course, dumbbells squats and deadlifts are neither comfortable nor effective. All other movements, however, tolerate the use of dumbbells. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience joint pain when performing an exercise with a barbell and to feel no pain at all when the some movement is done with dumbbells.

Many people love to brag about how much they lift. In most cases the weight is lifted in uneven fashion and the lower back is also getting a serious workout. The only thing that is being stimulated that way is the ego of the bodybuilder. In case you don’t know ego is not an ingredient for muscle building. If you were to try strict dumbbells curls for your biceps training, you would be surprise how much better your joints will feel.

Another bonus factor of using dumbbells for your biceps is that drop sets are much easier – you don’t have to load and reload the barbell. Just prepare the weight you are going to use and switch from one dumbbell set to another.

To summarize: In the long run training your biceps with dumbbells will save you the trouble of dealing with overuse injuries while providing plenty of growth stimulation. Good luck with your biceps training and don’t forget that you can also build big arms by using solely bodyweight exercises.  Here’s how to do it: Building Big Arms With Bodyweight Exercises

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