Barbells vs Dumbbells for Muscle Growth – Which is Better?

Which is the best?

So, barbells vs dumbbells, which is the better option when it comes to muscle building?

Jeremy Ethier tackles the topic in his illuminating video and text below.

Barbells vs Dumbbells for Muscle Growth – Which is Better?

“When it comes to your choice of free weights exercises for muscle growth and adding muscle mass, you’re stuck between barbells vs dumbbells. And although you can put on size and increase your strength effectively regardless of whether you use a barbell vs dumbbell, you should be aware that each have their own advantages that need to be considered.”

Advantages of the Barbell Bench Press

“For example, looking at the barbell vs dumbbell bench press, the barbell enables you to lift heavier weight and more effectively progressive overload which helps to maximize mechanical tension.”

Fitness benchmarks Biggest Bench Press Mistakes to Avoid Barbells vs Dumbbells for Muscle GrowthSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Advantages of the Dumbbell Bench Press

“Whereas the dumbbell bench press provides a better range of motion and elicits greater muscle activation. The same is true for other exercises like the barbell vs dumbbell shoulder press and the barbell vs dumbbell bicep curl or row.”

Source: Alesia Kozik / Pexels

Which is Better? Barbells vs Dumbbells for Muscle Growth

“So, which is better? Barbell or dumbbell exercises? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, incorporating both is the best approach – however, it’s important that you do so in the best way possible.”

“This is done by using barbells for your main heavy compound movements (bench press, overhead shoulder press, squat, deadlift) especially when a lower rep range is employed, and then adding in dumbbell exercises particularly for upper body exercises and with a higher rep range to maximize metabolic stress. Doing so enables you to get the best of both worlds.”

Video – Barbells vs Dumbbells for Muscle Growth

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Muscles of the Upper Body

The muscles of the upper body are some of the most important in our bodies. They help us move, protect our organs, and in many cases, they can also be used to make us look as good as possible. In the rest of this article we’ll discuss these muscles in detail so that you can better understand how they work together and how to target them when working out or creating exercise programs.


The deltoid muscle is one of the most important muscles in the upper body. It is a shoulder muscle and forms a triangle shape that covers most of your shoulder. It’s made up of three parts: anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (back).

The Anterior Deltoid Muscle

The anterior deltoid muscle is the muscle of the shoulder and is visible in the front of your shoulder. It works to lift the arm up and out to the side. This powerful muscle can be found between two other large muscles: pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi, which sit on either side of it.

The Posterior Deltoid Muscle

The posterior deltoid muscle is located on the back of the shoulder. It is responsible for flexing, rotating and abducting your arm. To work it, you can do a side-lying external rotation exercise with your elbow flexed at 90 degrees to target this muscle. To stretch it out, try stretching in all directions from a tabletop position or laying across a bench with your arms outstretched in front of you

The Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius is a broad, flat muscle that extends from the base of the skull to the lower part of the neck. It also acts to elevate and rotate your scapulae (shoulder blades) in relation to your thoracic spine (middle spine).

Pectoral Muscles

The pectoralis major muscle is the large fan-shaped muscle that covers your chest, and is important for strength. Pectoral muscles can be exercised by doing flys, push-ups and bench presses.


The bicep is a muscle in the upper arm that flexes, supinates and weakly extends the elbow.

The biceps also function as an antagonist to triceps (the other muscle located on the posterior aspect of the upper arm) because it assists in stabilizing your shoulder joint when it performs its function as a flexor/supinator/weak extensor.

In humans, there are two distinct heads of this muscle: long head (located near your shoulder) and short head (located near your elbow).


The triceps is the muscle on the back of your upper arm. It is a large muscle that contributes to the shape of your arm, and it is responsible for extending the elbow joint. The triceps gives your arm its shape and helps with other movements like throwing a ball.

The triceps can be further divided into three different heads: long head, lateral head, and medial head. The long head originates from two places: one at the infraglenoid tubercle of your scapula (shoulder blade) and another just below it on top of your humerus (upper arm bone).

The lateral head originates from just above where the long head begins to originate from.

Finally, the medial part comes from underneath where both heads come together at their distal end along with some fibres from your humerus bone as well as inserting into your forearm.


In conclusion, it’s important to focus on all the muscles of your upper body.

Not only will this help you look better, but it’ll also keep your joints healthy and strong. By working out regularly in the gym or at home with some dumbbells and barbells, you can ensure that these muscles stay strong no matter how old they get!

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