With COVID19 going on a lot of people are building their home gyms and I have been getting more and more inquiries on whether people should be focusing more on dumbbells or barbells. This is something that also comes up frequently with workout plans and while I normally recommend a combination of both I can understand why people would want to focus on one or the other. With that said, my vote would always go dumbbells first.
Why? Well for starters, it’s a lot easier for beginners. Perhaps you are lifting alone or in a gym where you can’t get a spot, well you’re less likely to need one with dumbbells. If you’re unable to finish a rep, you can easily just drop the weight without worrying about a barbell crushing your chest.
Stability is the most important aspect of any left and having to stabilize the weights you’re lifting on both hands will help break down and build more muscle. By lifting dumbbells and improving your stability you will lift heavier, quicker. Think about the struggle you see in the gym with a heavy barbell, where the weight cannot be stabilized and the barbell is wobbling around. This is not activating muscle fibers properly or to their full potential and it can cause injury.
However, I would advocate for barbells in certain situations mostly around leg workouts. Basically, if you are doing squats or deadlifts, it is always better to use barbells. The barbell will allow you to be more explosive, and lifting heavier weights would actually be easier.
Bottom line, if you have to choose one over the other, the best option is dumbbells. Now get Busy Lifting!