Many wonder what’s more effective for biceps growth – barbell or dumbbells. To come up with an answer, we have to examine the benefits and disadvantages of both methods.
Barbells allow you to lift the heaviest weight possible – a property that has earned them the name “mass builders”. However, it’s not that simple. You lift more with a barbell because it’s stable, and both arms are working against a single load. The stronger side can help the weaker side. Meanwhile, dumbbell curls require each side to do its job independently.
But the uneven distribution is not a major problem as long as you make a conscious effort to prevent balance disruptions. The major issue with barbell curls is the stress on the elbow and wrists. If you are using the straight bar for your curls, you are a candidate for wrist pain. Dumbbells fix this problem by allowing the wrists to rotate freely. That’s the biggest advantage of dumbbells over barbells – proper alignment of the joint is easier to achieve. In return, there is less pain.
At the end of the day, the only advantage of the barbell, in this case, is its convenience and the opportunity to lift higher loads. When it comes to biceps training this is not a big deal. The weight that you are going to use for your dumbbell curls will still be plenty to stimulate growth. If it hurts, switch to dumbbells.