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Old 11-15-2011, 09:44 AM   #1
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Default Dumbbells vs Barbells?

hey everyone
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???
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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Neither. Just do dips!

Kidding. A little.

For barbells or dumbells, both our great and useful.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:56 AM   #3
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Both.

Barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight movements are all a solid choice.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:57 AM   #4
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I honestly use very very little DB work. And don't put emphasis on your chest; that's how you end up with muscular imbalances.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:01 AM   #5
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I honestly use very very little DB work. And don't put emphasis on your chest; that's how you end up with muscular imbalances.
If anyone wants to be a beast, they should do 2 pulling sets for every pushing set. Posterior chain wins games AND girls.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #6
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Everyone brings up a great points, especially about have 2 pulling movements for each pushing movement.

But, back to your main question about barbell or dumbbell for chest development. When performing chest exercises with dumbbells you are able to use a bigger range of motion allowing for a greater stretch, you also have to recruit more muscle fibers in order to stabilize the dumbbells which will aid in muscle growth (the more motor units you activate during a lift the more you prime your body for muscle growth).

Barbell Bench on the other hand - is more stable, you are able to use a heavier load and makes it easier to emphasize the mechanical stress of the eccentric portion of the lift.

Also, technique plays a huge role when bench pressing. Many benchers have horrible form and put the majority of the stress on their anterior delts rather than using their chest.

My thoughts are kind of all over the place, i know, but just wanted to get some simple things out there.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:01 PM   #7
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It's funny, I always hear people say that barbell bench press isn't the best movement for chest, but I used bench presses for chest almost exclusively for most of my training life and I've got great chest development. It's just another case of how we all respond differently to different movements.

I also have full chest development throughout the entire muscle, inside to out, lower to upper, and I've never used incline or decline movements. I once saw a diagram showing all the different places on the chest that each exercise worked. I call BS on that. If you only do decline presses you aren't going to have some huge lump of muscle sticking out between your nipple and your abs.

One good thing that benefitted me is that I learned very early on about arching and pulling the shoulders back throughout the movement. I blame that for my lack of shoulder issues and good chest development while basically using only the bench press.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by massiveguns View Post
hey everyone
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.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:28 AM   #9
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I think you'll have to experiment and see what works best for you as far as chest goes. I always get better chest training with dumbbells, and I think most people will have similar experiences.

But it depends on your own body mechanics--you may get great chest training with barbell movements.

We are on a beginner section of the forum, so I'll assume you are relatively new. I'd say focus more on your overall foundation with compound movements (dips, squat, deadlift, etc), and in time you can learn how to train any "lagging parts."
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:52 AM   #10
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I like to do both. Bb is great for over all heavier weight and chain work, but Db's hit stabilizers more and you can put your hands in a natural position.

Both are important for development as even a small % of machine work for a overloads.

Bottom line is, find what works for your body not the guy next to you in the gym.


Bottom line is I agree with Kevin. Build a base and then try more advanced lifts.
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