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should dumbell equal barbell weight?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:09 am
by leif3141
That is...should I be able to say, for instance, shoulder press as much with dumbells as barbells? I used to go over to my dad's place to work out, and he actually has a bench with lots o 45,35,25 plates...etc etc...but when I moved a little far away I only have access to dumbells. The reason why I am asking is because with barbell I could do around 125 ten times...but now with dumbells its only around 100. I cannot even fathom adding 225 pounds to the dumbells and attempting I still make the 40 min drive on my leg day to squat and such. I guess the real reason I am asking is because I just have dumbells that you add plates too...and is it really worth spending the extra dough to buy a cheap bench and more plates for say something like bench press...or just leave that for the barbells. To me, it just seems that those exercises were you have to lift so much weight would be to awkward to even attempt with dumbells...but has/does anyone use dumbells for exercises like squats and bench presses?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:32 am
by Scribbles
Matt, generally speaking, the individual dumbbell weight will be a little harder to lift than an equivalent barbell weight. This is in part due to proprioceptive element in balancing an individual weight. You have less stability than holding an anchored barbell with both hands.

In addition, you may very well find that one hand gives you more difficulty in lifting than the other when using dumbbells. When using a barbell, this is not noticeable because the other hand will always compensate for the difference.

You will always have more leverage with two arms.

I'm a little older so I'm less concerned with heavy loads. Since I have a slight penchant for post-rehabilitation fitness therapy, I tend to always favour training individual limbs (arms + legs) separately. But you can't go as heavy with that approach.

Best wishes to you.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:08 am
by Matt Z
I agree, you can generally use a lot more weight with a barbell than you can with a pair of dumbbells.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:51 am
by OliverFromPerth
I hate the fact my leg arm and leg is naturally weaker because I am right handed.

I always try to individually work arm and leg as well as combined exercises.

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:14 am
by quadfrog
One thing that I have noticed: when you have even a slight pull in one shoulder, your other will try to overcompensate when you use a barbell to bench press. When you use dumbbells, you are forced to lower the weight (on both) and your rehab time is quicker. YES, you can do all kinds of leg exercises with dumbbells, including types of squats. This forum should illustrate some of those, I'm sure. John Grimmek was a strong proponent of dumbells in his bodybuilding days. He started out as an Olympic weightlifting competitor and used the barbell primarily for putting weight overhead. When I visited him at York, PA in 1968, his routine was almost entirely with dummbells, ranging from light to very heavy.

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:38 pm
by Bananas
lol ok guys but you didnt answer his question. he wants to know if he should go out and buy a bench and a barbell set for things like squats. he also wants to know how to do akward exercises like squats with dumbells.

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:40 pm
by TimD
Bananas wrote:lol ok guys but you didnt answer his question. he wants to know if he should go out and buy a bench and a barbell set for things like squats. he also wants to know how to do akward exercises like squats with dumbells.
While DB's are fine for most things, i would definately invest in a barbell and more plates, a bench if you don't have something like a picnic bench seat thingy available, and a pair of adjustable squat stands, which could be lowered for benching as well.

Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:43 pm
by Matt Z
I agree with Tim. Dumbbells are great, but I've never been a fan of Dumbbell Squats or Dumbbell Deadlifts.

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:14 pm
by quadfrog
Of course, any weight set wouldn't becomplete without a barbell and 45# plates. I prefer and recommend having an adjustable bench and a power rack or a free-standing squat stand, like mine. TDS makes a great free-standing squat rack that can be use with a bench, too. This is what I have, and it take up little floor space. I do bent-over rows, squats, and deadlifts with my barbell. Everything else is dummbell-oriented, except for curls, wich I use an EZ-curl bar for. Again, I am 57 years young and maintaining not building muscle mass. My connective tissue looks like well-worn lifting straps from years and years of heavy compound pounding, for football and competitive bodybuilding.