Are Dumbbells Or Barbells Better?

As is with almost every exercise in the gym, people will always have their favorites. Usually this comes down to what they connect best with, what exercises they can actually ‘feel working’, or exercises that they can easily add weight to i.e. are strongest at. But when it comes to using barbells or dumbbells, which equipment is actually better? Here’s our take…

Gaining Strength

Free weights in general are a fantastic equipment choice for those looking to gain strength. When it comes to barbells vs dumbbells though…there’s a clear winner. The same reason powerlifters use barbells exclusively in their meets (competitions), is the same reason barbells take the win in this particular area. Barbells enable you to progressively overload more effectively (add weight over time) and are typically better for your heavy lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press etc. Having more balance over a weighted bar is the reason you can control it better and therefore add more weight over time.

Building Muscle

Again, both barbells and dumbbells are fantastic for muscle building, but in terms of better body balance dumbbells are a clear winner here. Because you can work each muscle independently and have to work harder to actually balance the dumbbells (which brings in more stabilising muscle groups), you’re getting a much better bang for your buck out fo dumbbells. Dumbbells work fantastic in muscle building rep ranges and work excellent as muscular endurance work too. You’ll also find that with dumbbells you have a bigger range of motion of exercises. Take bench press for example, with a barbell you’re limited by the movement once it reaches your chest…but with dumbbells being at your side you can actually get a bigger better stretch.


By fitness we mean circuit style training or endurance work. Both pieces of equipment can be massively helpful with this. With barbell you can use multiple muscle groups in one movement with exercises such as clean and press, front squat to overhead press etc. which in turn will burn huge calories. Dumbbells will allow you to do the same though, although once again you can work one muscle group at a time/one side at a time. You’ll find that dumbbells are also easier to hold at your side on hold or swing type movements. No clear winner here, use both!


  • If you’re trying to get stronger, opt for more barbell work
  • If you want to build muscle faster, try dumbbells more often
  • If you want something closer to machines, try barbells as their better balanced than dumbbell work
  • If you have imbalances on certain muscle groups, try adding in more dumbbell work to hit muscles independently
  • Use a mixture of ALL equipment if you want the perfectly balanced routine

Try Gym Plan free for 7 days!

With our comprehensive range of workouts, exercise tracking, and progress monitoring, you will experience faster gains and unstoppable progress. You'll have a dedicated fitness companion, motivating you to crush your goals and achieve a level of fitness you never thought possible. Start your journey now and unlock a fitter, healthier you!



Whether you want to target specific muscle groups, improve your endurance, or try something new, Gym Plan will has workouts that align with your unique goals. See them all grouped in the extensive categories, such as Weights & Cardio, Bodybuilding, Transformations, Legs & Glutes, Machine Focus and many more.


You can modify an existing programme (workout routine) and edit the workouts to suit your personal tastes. Maybe you prefer one exercise over another or want to tag on your favourite exercise at the end of an awesome chest day. Simply imagine our workouts as your professional blueprint! Saving you endless time planning from scratch. Have the confidence it will work yet know it can be changed to match your needs perfectly.


Discover a vast collection of meticulously designed workouts tailored to different fitness levels and goals. From strength training and cardio to HIIT and flexibility exercises, Gym Plan has something for everyone. Say goodbye to monotonous routines and hello to exciting, challenging workouts!


Keep tabs on your workout performance and witness your growth firsthand. Gym Plan lets you easily track your exercises, sets, and reps, allowing you to monitor your progress over time. Watch as your strength and endurance skyrocket, and stay motivated by celebrating every milestone you achieve.


Push your limits and set new personal records with Gym Plan. Track the weights you lift and the calories you burn. As you consistently beat your previous achievements, you'll experience the satisfaction of knowing that you're making significant strides toward a fitter, stronger you.


We understand the importance of motivation in reaching your fitness goals. That's why Gym Plan offers a variety of training styles to keep you inspired. Plus, chat live with our team who provide support every step of the way.

You might also like