Image Credit: Sidereal
Brian asked about using dumbbells on the Beginner Strength Training Program:
“I am in week 4 of my workout and I feel a lot stronger than when I started. Just want to ask if it is possible to substitute dumbbells for this workout. Or is there another version for dumbbells?
Due to heavy workload I was thinking I might save time by cutting travel time to the gym & working out at home. But dumbbells is all I have at the moment.”
The Problem with Dumbbells. Dumbbells add a stabilization challenge & let you work both sides equally in case of muscle imbalances. This makes dumbbells great for assistance exercises, but not for main exercises.
- Progressive Loading Impossible. The key to building muscle & strength is progressive loading. Beginners can easily add 2,5kg on the bar each workout as they’re using both sides. With dumbbells you’re only using one side. Systematic increases of 2,5kg lead to stalling sooner.
- No Quality Leg Workout. Dumbbell Lunges, Step-ups & Dumbbell Squats will never stress your legs as hard as Squats & Deadlifts.
- Time Consuming. I have adjustable dumbbells. Changing the weight on these takes longer than changing the weight on a barbell. Unless you have tons of dumbbells, you’ll lose time adding & removing weight.
Mixing Work with Strength Training. I understand Brian. My work is also more important than strength training. Even though my work revolves around it.
But I don’t see myself quitting strength training soon. I feel weird when I don’t train for more than a week. I need physical activity after sitting behind a desk for hours. And I don’t think you’re different than me.
You’ll lose time travelling to the gym. But you won’t lose more than 5 hours a week, workout time included. Those 5 hours are worth it. One of the benefits of strength training is better sleep, increasing your productivity at work.
Strength Training at Home. Training at home saves time. No waiting for the Squat Rack to get free & no travelling to the gym. Brian has only dumbbells, so he needs to invest in a barbell. Tons of exercises you can do with one barbell.
Quality barbells are an investment. They don’t lose value, they increase the quality of your workouts & add safety. Buy equipment from a company that walks the talks, like EliteFTS. It’s founded by competitive Powerlifters.
- Barbell. If you have plates, you’ll only need a barbell. EliteFTS sells quality bars at 190$ including shipping.
- Weight Set. I presume Brian hasn’t 50mm plates at this moment. 300lbs weight sets including barbell & shipping start at 335$ on EliteFTS.
If you think this is expensive: you’re only buying this once. This equipment lasts a lifetime. And if you ever quit strength training you can always sell it on eBay or Craigslist, it doesn’t lose value.