Barbells vs dumb bells


Hi - I have a set of dumb bells (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30) that I use for all my Cathe weight workouts. I'm able to use dumbbells for just about every exercise Cathe does with a barbell. Sometimes placing the dumbbells on the shoulders slightly during squat is a bit uncomfortable but not too bad. And when I do bent over lat rows I try to bring the dumbbells up at the same time mimicking as if I have a straight bar in my hands.

Should I invest in a barbell set? Am I missing out on something by not using a barbell set? I saw one on for a decent price. I thought I'd ask my hubby for that and one of Cathe's new DVD's for Christmas.

I'd be interested in your thoughts. Thanks.


I don't have a barbell but have recently started taking a class at the gym that is mostly barbell work. I can definately see the advantage to using a barbell for some exercises as opposed to DB's. In bicep work a barbell is great because IMO it helps to force the weaker arm to work harder to keep up with the stronger side. I find heavy chest work to be more comfortable using the barbell. Those are just a couple of things I've noticed since taking the class.


I am by no means an expert, but I would have thought the opposite - the stronger arm will compensate for the weaker one when using a barbell and therefore the weaker one will not work as hard. This can be avoided by using DB's since each arm has the same amount of weight...

I work out at home and only have DB's so I can't really compare, except to say that it can be uncomfortable to do leg work with heavy dummbells on your shoulders. If I'm doing squats, I'll hold the dumbbells on either side with my arms down..

Try doing a search on dumbells vs. barbell... I know I've seen this come up numerous times before. Good luck!

ETA - I did a search and here's what I came up with in less than 2 minutes... I'm sure if you keep looking you'll find more. Hope this helps!
I'm no expert either, :p but I find bicep work with the barbell harder than I do with dumbbells. In general, it is easier for me to lift dumbbells in any sort of move than it is a barbell. Not sure why, but for this reason I would say yes to using a barbell when Cathe does!
I recently bought a barbell and I'm glad I did. I can go heavier with the barbell and my form is better. I bought mine at sports authority for less than $50.
Thank you for the feedback and the links to previous discussions on this topic. This is the best place to come for information. I'm going to ask for the 55 lbs set on That should be more than enough weight for me. If anyone has this set I'd love to hear your feedback on this set.

Thanks again.
Carmen, it's not a necessity, but when you're able to, I would recommend adding a barbell just for variety and the "fun" factor. The more variety your workouts have, the more fun they are.
Carmen, I have one suggestion when choosing your barbell set. I
would get the type where the clips are used to hold the plates.
I had the bar with the grooves, and I had to screw the "bolt"
on each end to hold the plates. It took too long. I'd recommend
the kind of barbell set with the clips. Cathe uses this type. I
just got my set on sale at Sports Authority for $50.
Take care.
I went to dumbbells only when my youngest started to walk and was bumping into everything (she still does!). They were easier to keep out of her way.

I don't miss a barbell, but I don't go superheavy on anything, either. Dumbbells are more comfortable for me to handle and I can go heavier if I want without worrying about getting them up and over my head.

I sometimes wish I could use a barbell for legs, but my workout space is limited and I"m too lazy to break it down when I'm done.;)
>I'm no expert either, :p but I find bicep work with the
>barbell harder than I do with dumbbells. In general, it is
>easier for me to lift dumbbells in any sort of move than it is
>a barbell. Not sure why, but for this reason I would say yes
>to using a barbell when Cathe does!

I have to agree with this one.


My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is.
--Ellen Degeneres

Our Newsletter

Get awesome content delivered straight to your inbox.