Barbell exercises have been a symbol of badassery for a long time. “How much do you bench?” is casually thrown around in the gyms all around the world. Many people are always on the quest to increase their 1RM (one rep max).
“Why?”, you ask? Because, as the broscientists put it; if the rod ain’t bending, you’re just pretending. Barbells are great if you’re just starting to lift weights because they can correct your form. Compound movements with barbell also help in increasing your core strength.
There is no doubt, barbell can be really helpful in building muscle mass and strength, but it comes with a price. This is why you should stay away from the barbell –
1. Increases The Chances of Injury
Compound exercises using a barbell can shoot up your chances of an injury since multiple joints are involved. For eg – in an exercise like the squats, your legs are the focus muscle group but you might recruit your lower back while performing the movement.
Supporting muscles will always be weaker than the primary muscles. This puts you at the risk of an injury. The three exercises where most injuries happen are the barbell bench press, squats, and deadlifts.
It is especially important for a person with a record of injuries to stay away from the barbell. There is an alternative exercise or a variation of these exercises you can perform while significantly reducing the chances of an injury.
2. Play Safe With The Dumbbells
If you’re looking for a substitute for the barbell, dumbbells are your best bet. Dumbbells help you do all the exercises you perform with a barbell while reducing the chances of an injury.
Using dumbbells can also help you improve your range of motion resulting in a better development of muscles. If you’re suffering from joint pains or an injury, you should switch to using dumbbells.
Many pro athletes like Kris Gethin have almost eliminated the use of barbell in their training routines. If you plan on staying in the fit lifestyle for an extended period, do yourself and your joints a favor and start working with dumbbells.
3. Squeeze Your Way To Growth With Cables
Cables are an incredibly effective isolation exercise which can help in getting muscle ripping pumps. Apart from the good feeling, bodybuilders chase a pump because all the nutrients travel to your focus muscle group through blood.
The muscle building macronutrient, protein travels through the blood to your target muscle and helps in repairing and developing the muscle. Add a cable exercise in your workouts to optimize your muscle growth.
Using cables makes sure there is constant tension on your muscles throughout the movement. On the barbells and dumbbells, your muscles are worked on the concentric (flexing) movement and all the tension is released on the eccentric (downward) movement.
4. Avoid Muscle Imbalances
It is no secret one of your sides is stronger than the other. For a right-hander, his right side might be stronger than his left, and a left-hander might be stronger on his left side.
Using a barbell can make your muscle imbalances more prominent as your stronger side might take over while performing an exercise with the barbell. Your body does this to compensate for the weaker side.
Using dumbbells, on the other hand, makes sure both your sides are equally used. You can even work on your weaker side by performing unilateral exercises. Unilateral exercises involve working one side at a time. This helps in focusing on and developing the weaker side.
Do you agree with this approach of training?
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