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  1. #1
    Registered User kyle38's Avatar
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    The Dumbell vs Barbell debate

    I was at the gym and a trainer made a comment that I should stop doing dumbbells and focus on heavy barbell instead. Now if I was training as a power lifter I might agree. When I questioned him on it he literally said " I train the CEO of Nike, I made a quater million dollars last year, when I give you advise you just take it, or not". As far as I've heard, he really does train the CEO of Nike.

    To say Tony is dusche, is an understatement, but is there anything to lifting heavy barbell over dumbells? I normally lift at home and have a good groove going, so not sure why at almost 40, I'd try to go for a 400lbs bench. Not to mention I don't know anyone I'd really trust to spot with that weight. If I do barbell it's to usually see how many times I can get 225lb up.

    My home workout without a spotter inorder(Sundays & Wednesday):

    Incline
    118lb dumbbells 9-10
    110lb dumbbells 9-10
    105lb dumbbells 9-10

    High incline
    95lb dumbbells 15-20 reps x 2 sets

    Incline
    95lb dumbbells 10-15 reps 1 set

    Flat bench
    95lb dumbbells 10-15 reps 1 set

    Standing front military press
    85lb dumbbells 10-15 reps 1 set

    Hammer curls 80lbs each arm separate 1 set

    1 set 50 push ups

    Barbell curls 75lb 1 set as many as possible

    Squats 80lb dumbbells, weight on shoulders 15-20 reps. 1 set

    Dumbell deadlifts 118lbs dumbells 8 reps
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    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Barbells are easier to microload but dumbbells enable you to put your wrist in its "friendliest" orientation . . . especially for older lifters. But if Tony doesn't know what your goals are, I'm not sure how he's able to make such a blanket statement.
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    Registered User radrd's Avatar
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    Use both. Why not?
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    There can be advantages to having barbell in your program, but if you're meeting whatever your muscle development and/or strength goals are with the dbs (and your elbows can take those weights at high reps just fine), then there's no need to change to barbell.

    Your 2-day/week program could use better balance and progression, but you sound like you've been lifting long enough to know this and have chosen to do it this way for your own reasons.
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  5. #5
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    wait is that workout all you do in a week? Or am I misunderstanding this

    why squats and deads after chest?
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    Registered User kyle38's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    There can be advantages to having barbell in your program, but if you're meeting whatever your muscle development and/or strength goals are with the dbs (and your elbows can take those weights at high reps just fine), then there's no need to change to barbell.

    Your 2-day/week program could use better balance and progression, but you sound like you've been lifting long enough to know this and have chosen to do it this way for your own reasons.
    I am always willing to take constructive criticism. I do more during the week, but it's body weight stuff mostly and an hour of aerobics a day. Elliptical, jump rope, weighted stairs, and bike. I only lift heavy 2 days a week, and at this point I look at is as more maintaining what I currently have. And like I said, if I am doing 25 reps with 225lb on barbell, I feel good about that, not sure why I'd feel the need to do 350lb plus anymore, just to eventually injure myself.

    As far as balance, each one of my dumbbell lifts is a full body lift. So I'll start from the ground, bringing the weight back to the bench and push off, and bring the weight back to the ground, so the legs are getting more work than it appears. It also takes a good amount of core strength to consistently set the heavier weight. I also do weighted high steps to make up for lack of quad work through out the week.

    The other part of that though, is the full range of motion. I know there are guys that are overall stronger, but can't hang with me on dumbbells, because they don't take the time to develop the stabilizer muscles. My concern also is overall strength and health, rather than six packs and body fat percentage. So like you said, it's my goals vs someone else's in that respect, which I get. I see guys doing 500+ squats and I can do maybe 400 if I tried, but I really feel that's only really works towards causing a lower back injury, so I am not interested in trying to be at that level. That's not to take away from people that can do it though.
    Last edited by kyle38; 09-28-2020 at 10:26 AM.
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    I get that you're in maintenance mode, but even just for overall body health esp shoulder joint as you get older, consider adjusting your program to have some db rows and pullups (or at least some rear delt isolations) to balance out all the presses even if you don't want extra leg work, esp since you take the time to do other stuff during the week. Just my opinion, might even be a fun change of pace or challenge for yourself.
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    I get that you're in maintenance mode, but even just for overall body health esp shoulder joint as you get older, consider adjusting your program to have some db rows and pullups (or at least some rear delt isolations) to balance out all the presses even if you don't want extra leg work, esp since you take the time to do other stuff during the week. Just my opinion, might even be a fun change of pace or challenge for yourself.
    I do some rows with lighter dumbbells, lat pulls and work out with the 60lb pack for those weighted stairs during the week along with pull ups. My back isn't lacking much. i try to work out large muscle groups and don't iso much, especially on shoulder. 3 screws in the right shoulder. To be fair, I've never figured out a good technique to get rid of the should dimples in the back of the shoulder without aggravating the past injury.
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    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    Who cares who he has trained, that means nothing. He needs to train you for your specific goals, and if he had any common sense he would know that each movement has its benefits. Last I seen the CEO of Nike doesn't even looks like he lifts...
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    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    I see guys doing 500+ squats and I can do maybe 400 if I tried, but I really feel that's only really works towards causing a lower back injury
    ?
    Are you 40 or 50? Your avi says 50, then you mention 40.

    I’m 42 and I’ve never done a legit squat with 400 or 500, however a decade ago I would train bottoms up partial squats with 500 just to build a foundation.

    I could maybe do 400 now if I tried too? But I’m more so planning on squatting 10 or better with 400 when I’m in my 50’s.

    Right now on a good pain free day I can get 10 clean reps with 295-305. I never could do that in my 20’s or 30’s I only train once a week these days.

    You can let Tony know that too if you wish.
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  11. #11
    temporary illusion supramax's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    ... I only train once a week these days...
    That's not enough to elicit the health benefits that you purport to attain from lifting. I don't lift as heavy as you do, but over a week (and using the deadlift as an example), I deadlift over 14,000 lbs. My advice to you is to lift a bit lighter more often.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

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    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    That's not enough to elicit the health benefits that you purport to attain from lifting. I don't lift as heavy as you do, but over a week (and using the deadlift as an example), I deadlift over 14,000 lbs. My advice to you is to lift a bit lighter more often.

    There is zero proof of that and while I respect Pavel, he also can’t say that for certain.

    Btw I walk at a fast pace every day several times for approx 20-30 minutes. I don’t consider that training, but a everyone tells me it’s healthy, I’ve done this for 13 years everyday.

    I also don’t use any PEDs or sups. Like creatine, imo they are unhealthy.

    My last point if I’m unhealthy it’s cause I Eat too much and I eat unhealthy I not only drink plenty of beer but also whiskey. Lifting once a week even for 20 minutes is the secret to quality of life, quality means healthy too. Anyone of us could die from many things at anytime no matter how perfect the exercise regimen is.
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    Barbell is more for mass, dumbells are more for cuts
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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    There is zero proof of that and while I respect Pavel, he also can’t say that for certain.

    Btw I walk at a fast pace every day several times for approx 20-30 minutes. I don’t consider that training, but a everyone tells me it’s healthy, I’ve done this for 13 years everyday.

    I also don’t use any PEDs or sups. Like creatine, imo they are unhealthy.

    My last point if I’m unhealthy it’s cause I Eat too much and I eat unhealthy I not only drink plenty of beer but also whiskey. Lifting once a week even for 20 minutes is the secret to quality of life, quality means healthy too. Anyone of us could die from many things at anytime no matter how perfect the exercise regimen is.
    **** Pavel! You're getting away with the boozing and **** eating lifestyle, because you're young and active; not because you lift weights once a week. It's what you do every day that counts, so your walking counts for a lot and your weightlifting not so much, if it has any benefit, at all. Make an extreme effort everyday is my advice. Take it or leave it.
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    Dumbbells have a place.

    Dumbbells are excellent for unilateral movements. They will carry over to bilateral movements like bench, squat and deadlift. But not the other way around.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    **** Pavel! You're getting away with the boozing and **** eating lifestyle, because you're young and active; not because you lift weights once a week. It's what you do every day that counts, so your walking counts for a lot and your weightlifting not so much, if it has any benefit, at all. Make an extreme effort everyday is my advice. Take it or leave it.


    Pavel stated the exact same thing.

    I’m not getting away with boozing buddy you are wrong, however my genetics could play role if I was getting away with it.

    Also I’m not oblivious to say doing light deadlifts in the middle of the week for a bunch of reps and sets not going to near failure, it would do my lower half some quick recovery, I’ve done it, I kinda look at your advice as the option for open heart surgery to save my life and yeah I’m young so I’m looking to lift big.

    Btw there is an old man in Canada who knew Louis Cyr, when was in his 80s he would do a patial deadlift with heavy wheels approx 700# he was lean and ate healthy, he said on days he felt up to it would do finger tip chin ups, for most of his lift he trained heavy and I’m sure life got in the way and maybe didn’t train several days a week.

    Read the above about life getting in the way, that’s the problem with statement, I’ve been training for decades, there times I’d train 7 days a week and times of stress only in something that month, I still got a shot to train 500 in dead’s cause I’m young, if I die doing it I’d be happy, life’s too short anyway. I got exerpiance so your judgement means very little to me as I’ve actually done what speak anyway.

    Dying knowing I can do an impressive KB 10 minute snatch test means nothing to me, if I’m dying I’ll be thinking of the 500 pound lift training sessions to put that smile on my dying face, that’s me no regrets Mr. Nanny you ain’t talking to your kid in thier twenties.
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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    ?
    Are you 40 or 50? Your avi says 50, then you mention 40.

    I’m 42 and I’ve never done a legit squat with 400 or 500, however a decade ago I would train bottoms up partial squats with 500 just to build a foundation.

    I could maybe do 400 now if I tried too? But I’m more so planning on squatting 10 or better with 400 when I’m in my 50’s.

    Right now on a good pain free day I can get 10 clean reps with 295-305. I never could do that in my 20’s or 30’s I only train once a week these days.

    You can let Tony know that too if you wish.
    I'm 39. I don't know why it says 50. I've tried to change it.
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    Who cares who he has trained, that means nothing. He needs to train you for your specific goals, and if he had any common sense he would know that each movement has its benefits. Last I seen the CEO of Nike doesn't even looks like he lifts...
    I honestly thinks it's jealousy. Not that I try to brag too much, but there isn't a lot of guys that can hang with the dumbbell workouts. It took at a long time to work up to doing that weight, so any bragging rights were earned (AC joint sprain and all). And, I agree with the above statement about adding more mass and well - strength with barbell, but for me personally I don't see adding a ton of mass without using gear, which I am not will to do. My T levels are at 900, my BP this morning was 120/60. What I really need to do is just eat less and maintain, which I'm doing. My weight in the morning was 237 and before bed it's 240 as of yesterday, that's a couple lbs down from last week. So I'm just sticking to a long term 2000 cal / day diet. Not trying to be a Nazi about it, but if in a year or so I can get to 220lb, I'll be a lean 220lb at about 10 - 12% bodyfat.

    My other thought and this is just from talking to body builders in the gym and football players. Someone brought up squats. I've seen plenty of guys praise squats and get good at it, but it's an injury prone exercise. Most the football players I've talk too (college) tend to use leg machines to reduce injury. I don't personally use machines, since I don't have one at home, and I like to do things and get good with exercises that I have access to, I don't like to go too far off script. So that's one of my major pro to dumbbells, is the access one has, although there are definite cons to lifting heavy with dumbbells. It's just harder.
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    ... Someone brought up squats. I've seen plenty of guys praise squats and get good at it, but it's an injury prone exercise...
    I love dumbbell cleaned front squats, but of course, you're limited to what you can clean.
    Here's another upright torso squat that's only limited by how much weight you can hold onto for the duration of the set: https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a...umbbell-squat/
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    I have too many injuries from barbells at this age. I default to dumbbells at every opportunity.
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    Originally Posted by supramax View Post
    I love dumbbell cleaned front squats, but of course, you're limited to what you can clean.
    Here's another upright torso squat that's only limited by how much weight you can hold onto for the duration of the set:
    Thanks for the advice. Definitely need to get more cleans in. Adding barbell front squat would be good with that setup too. Got to purchase some bumper weights first though.
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    Thanks for the advice. Definitely need to get more cleans in. Adding barbell front squat would be good with that setup too. Got to purchase some bumper weights first though.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way but if you think cleans are any better as far as not being injury prone to your squat analogy, you may need to think about that? In a way your thinking reminds me of the Rovert Orbust comment on Deadlifts.

    There is far less impact on squats versus cleans, the reason why a squat gets bad rap is because people over load and full clean squats become half squats.
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    Clearly Irrational blue9steel's Avatar
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    I like both. The main advantage of barbells is that you can provide a greater raw stimulus magnitude as super heavy dumbbells are hard to work with. There is no magic exercise so if you're getting good results with just DBs that's fine, it just may not be fully optimal.
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    Originally Posted by blue9steel View Post
    I like both. The main advantage of barbells is that you can provide a greater raw stimulus magnitude as super heavy dumbbells are hard to work with. There is no magic exercise so if you're getting good results with just DBs that's fine, it just may not be fully optimal.
    I agree. I do both. I like to switch between the two. Heavy dumbbells are obviously cumbersome so I'll do high reps with those at a lower weight and save the 5x5 heavy loading for the bench.
    Amateur boxer turned bodybuilder...

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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    Please don’t take this the wrong way but if you think cleans are any better as far as not being injury prone to your squat analogy, you may need to think about that? In a way your thinking reminds me of the Rovert Orbust comment on Deadlifts.

    There is far less impact on squats versus cleans, the reason why a squat gets bad rap is because people over load and full clean squats become half squats.
    My argument to that, is that you are forced to do weight you can manage through the whole lift. I have no issue with squats at moderate weights. It's when the bar gets loaded, it becomes a problem.

    I've also said for me personally I won't take on that risk. If you want to do it, that's fine, and some guys have the frame to do that. I am also not going to say I know everything about everything either, so I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, if the argument is sound enough.

    And to be fair setting 120lb dumbbells on incline has a lot of impact. It's what you can reasonably manage, and for every guy that can handle loading up on squats, there are 10 guys that are going to slip a disk.

    And I get a lot of flak for how much I dead lift. I feel comfortable doing it, but I get why a lot of guys aren't.
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    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    My argument to that, is that you are forced to do weight you can manage through the whole lift. I have no issue with squats at moderate weights. It's when the bar gets loaded, it becomes a problem.

    I've also said for me personally I won't take on that risk. If you want to do it, that's fine, and some guys have the frame to do that. I am also not going to say I know everything about everything either, so I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, if the argument is sound enough.

    And to be fair setting 120lb dumbbells on incline has a lot of impact. It's what you can reasonably manage, and for every guy that can handle loading up on squats, there are 10 guys that are going to slip a disk.

    Don’t blame the exercise, blame the guy doing the lifting. In our gym everyone squats and if they don’t the owner may kick them out, this don’t mean they load the bar up, they primarily work on form and if challenged higher reps.

    I’ve never seen an injury in our place I’ve seen guys in thier 50s squat 405 for 20+ along with other older guys doing 1 plate challenges 135 for 50,60,70 up to 100+ reps.

    When I say the owner may cancel a membership is because the place is a strength studio not a gym, he gets paid to take person who thinks squats cause injury and make them able to perform all lifts. Please note there are everyday life situations that cause an injury or a surgery and squats may be put on the back burner, but the goal will be to squat.

    Also cleaning dumbbells takes great strength and I love em but if you are truly going to this mindset of blaming the lift, a kettlebell is more technique and takes longer to learn but also safer.
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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    Don’t blame the exercise, blame the guy doing the lifting. In our gym everyone squats and if they don’t the owner may kick them out, this don’t mean they load the bar up, they primarily work on form and if challenged higher reps.

    I’ve never seen an injury in our place I’ve seen guys in thier 50s squat 405 for 20+ along with other older guys doing 1 plate challenges 135 for 50,60,70 up to 100+ reps.

    When I say the owner may cancel a membership is because the place is a strength studio not a gym, he gets paid to take person who thinks squats cause injury and make them able to perform all lifts. Please note there are everyday life situations that cause an injury or a surgery and squats may be put on the back burner, but the goal will be to squat.

    Also cleaning dumbbells takes great strength and I love em but if you are truly going to this mindset of blaming the lift, a kettlebell is more technique and takes longer to learn but also safer.
    I'm thinking more about the points of impact on the lower back, which is greater with squats. Again, I do squats, just not heavy. I've also been bring up other things I've heard, doesn't mean I fully believe or agree with those things, but what do I know? if I believed them 100% I wouldn't do any squats. And to be fair, I have personal bias too. Tore my back summer of 2017 doing 400lb. Got slanted to one side, and instead of dropping the weight I powered through the lift, correcting the slant on my way back up, tearing the muscle in my lower back. That's on me, I knew better, and couldn't sit up in bed for 2 months as a result.
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    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    My argument to that, is that you are forced to do weight you can manage through the whole lift. I have no issue with squats at moderate weights. It's when the bar gets loaded, it becomes a problem. .

    I don’t agree here because with most stronger lifters with crap technique can still powerclean a hell of a lot of weight, and guess what, they too much back and high pull on it.

    Once a lifter learns technique which varies because it takes time to learn, some lifters can add a hell of a lot more to there cleans with technique that’s proven safer.

    When did that squat that fuked your back, the same could happen with torn pec in the bench, so if your thinking on the bench is lighter weight, the same can be said for squats.

    Squats are usually the hardest thing to learn along with cleans, but actually benching technique ain’t easy eithier.

    The real expert around here though is Arch Angel, wink wink!!!
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    Originally Posted by LWW View Post
    I don’t agree here because with most stronger lifters with crap technique can still powerclean a hell of a lot of weight, and guess what, they too much back and high pull on it.

    Once a lifter learns technique which varies because it takes time to learn, some lifters can add a hell of a lot more to there cleans with technique that’s proven safer.

    When did that squat that fuked your back, the same could happen with torn pec in the bench, so if your thinking on the bench is lighter weight, the same can be said for squats.

    Squats are usually the hardest thing to learn along with cleans, but actually benching technique ain’t easy eithier.

    The real expert around here though is Arch Angel, wink wink!!!
    When I bench barbell, I am always surprised how balanced it feels. I am not sure what I could max out at on bench with barbell. It's definitely not apple to apple from dumbbell to barbell. And thinking about cleans, I feel more balanced there too. But cleans were the first thing I leaned in weight class as a kid. I never feel that way about squats. It's like pole vault and back hand springs. With good enough floor mats I can still do both, even at 240lb, but I also learned how to do both in grade school.
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    Registered User LWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kyle38 View Post
    When I bench barbell, I am always surprised how balanced it feels. I am not sure what I could max out at on bench with barbell. It's definitely not apple to apple from dumbbell to barbell. And thinking about cleans, I feel more balanced there too. But cleans were the first thing I leaned in weight class as a kid. I never feel that way about squats. It's like pole vault and back hand springs. With good enough floor mats I can still do both, even at 240lb, but I also learned how to do both in grade school.

    I can’t powerclean worth a chit weight wise because like the bench and any press my strength sucks, but I do work on my form, I’ve made vast form improvements over the years, back when I was 23 I powecleaned 190 and fuked myself up, after a few years of technique I could do 190 everyday.

    Did you use the dead hang clean back in school as drill or anything?

    Take this with a grain of salt but what I’m about to say only reveals who I am, I’ve cherished every injury and every pain from weights only because it teaches me something, maybe to rest etc.

    Three weeks ago I broke my PR in dead lift with 460 my back was hurting, but I loved every once of it, I regained my back for two weeks and hit 440 lift which was worse than my 460 I could barley move the rest of the day, but I don’t care, I did front squat with 240 and felt better, today 3 days later I just did 30 ATG bodyweight squats, I feel great, can’t wait to lift again, but I’m sticking with 425 for a few weeks but ultimately I’m going to train weekly with that 460, and the i still cherish the pain!
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