Originally Posted by massiveguns
I've heard the debate between free weights and weight machines, and many of my friends and stuff I've read say that free weights are always better.
But what about between the free weights themselves...
What's better for building muscle - especially chest muscles?
Dumbells or barbells???
for "chest development" i would say dumbbells because of the range of motion mostly. by having more control over the range of motion you can limit the movement where the triceps or shoulders start to take over. also, you can more easily "focus and squeeze" the pecs using dumbbells.
however, like mentioned above, I wouldn't recommend this mostly due to imbalances. I would say muscle development should come at the rate at which your body needs them to develop. so, when conducting a similar movement as the dumbbells but instead using a barbell you develop the chest, triceps, shoulders, (and even lats) as the body was meant to function. i.e. if your shoulders are the weak link in the movement, eventually as you increase weight or reps (stimulate growth somehow) they will become as strong as they need to be.
but I'm biased, as a powerlifter.