Dumbbell Training & Why You Should Do It
What is one of the most versatile and therefore critical pieces of the gym?
Dumbbells of course. They allow you to do several different exercise variations and offer a completely free range of motion. Let’s go over 3 of the main of the benefits of using dumbbells in your workouts.
1) Free Range of motion
2) Stability muscles!
3) Limb Isolation/ Corrective Exercise
The first point I want to get to is the fact that they offer a free range of motion. Machines, bands, and even barbells can only go so far. With how compact dumbbells are, you are free to move in several different planes of motion.
Athletically, this means that you can grab a single dumbbell and perform a forward lunge, lateral lunge, and a reverse all without changing your grip or hand positioning. This offers users a ton of convenience and versatility.
Another example is the Bench Press. Now, the classic Bench Press exercise is great but when you perform the same movement with dumbbells, you can usually go a little bit lower at the bottom of each rep given the nature of two separate dumbbells versus a bar hitting your chest and getting in the way.
Stabilization training became a hot phrase in physical training (much like Crossfit, Plyometrics, or my favorite “functional”). The stabilization I’m speaking of here is in reference to the smaller, Stabilizer muscles that work in conjunction with your bigger muscles.
When you perform a standard Squat properly…what are you working? Glutes? Hamstrings? Quads? Absolutely.
But what are the stabilizer muscles that help those prime movers during the lift?
Calves. Lower Back. Abdominals.
Those are stabilizer muscles. Training stabilizer muscles becomes way easier with dumbbells! Because dumbbells are smaller than barbells, your body is forced to balance and control the weight. This becomes much more taxing to the prime movers as well as the stabilizer muscles. More muscle activation. More motor recruitment.
Limb Isolation for Muscle Imbalances/ Corrective exercise are a huge benefit to dumbbell training. By working one side at a time, you are able to correct muscle imbalances more efficiently using dumbbells. For example, if you are doing Single Arm Dumbbell Rows (one of my favorite Back exercises) and notice that one side gets significantly more tired with a given weight/ repetition scheme then you know you must have an imbalance (ie: strong side, weak side). Being more aware of these can allow you to program for them and work towards being as symmetrical and equally strong all around.
There are several other benefits to dumbbell training but in my opinion, these are some of the most important ones. To give you an idea, no matter what phase of training I’m in, I usually try to include at least 1-2 Dumbbells exercises per workout! Give dumbbell training a chance in your program! I hope you get amazing results!