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Barbell Curl Vs. Dumbbell Curl

Barbell Curl Vs. Dumbbell Curl

It is not uncommon to see people torn between barbell curls and dumbbell curls, when they go to the gym. This is when they start debating, if they should do barbell curls or dumbbell curls. At the same time, people want to know which is the better of the two. Let's find out...
Bhakti Satalkar
When you enter a gym, you will see that some people are practicing dumbbell curls, while there are others who are practicing barbell curls. If you have to talk to a person doing dumbbell curls, he will tell you why they are better than the barbell curls and vice versa when you talk to a person doing barbell curls. However, there are some people who will rather not get into the debate and alternate between the two. Having said that, we will see how are the barbell and dumbbell curls practiced, before we find out barbell curl or dumbbell curl - which is better.

Barbell Curl

The barbell curl mainly works the biceps muscles. The forearm muscles are the other muscles which are worked by this exercise. To do this exercise, stand with a barbell in your hands. There should be shoulder width distance between the grip. When you are gripping the barbell, make sure your palms are facing forward with your elbows sticking to your waist. Without moving the upper arms, contract the biceps, as you curl the weights. When you curl the weights, make sure only the forearms move. Your biceps should be curled, till the barbell reaches shoulder level. Hold in this position for a couple of seconds and squeeze the biceps, before you release and come back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Curl

Like the barbell curl, the dumbbell curl also works the biceps and the forearms. However, when you are doing this exercise, you can either do it one hand at a time or both hands. Hold dumbbells in both the hands with your elbows pressing in to your waist. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights as you contract your biceps. Continue to contract your biceps till they come to shoulder height. Hold the dumbbell in this position for a few seconds, squeeze the biceps, and slowly return to the starting position.

Barbell Curl Vs. Dumbbell Curl

If you see the method to do the exercise, you will wonder what is the difference between barbell curls and dumbbell curls. However, there is indeed a lot of difference when you are doing the exercise. When the exercise is done with the barbell, the arms and wrists are locked. On the other hand, when you are doing the exercise with the dumbbells, you will see that the wrists will supinate on their own. This helps in increasing the intensity of the exercise of the dumbbell curls.

However, there is one area where barbell curls scores over dumbbell curls. It is the weight. When you are doing the exercise with the barbell you can increase the weight which is not possible when doing the exercise with dumbbells. However, if you have a dumbbell bar where you can add weights, then this difference is nullified.

People suffering from wrist injuries will not want to include barbell curls in their exercise routine. This is because when one does the barbell exercise, there is a slight change in the target muscles. In other words, barbell curls place a lot of strain on the wrist joint, which is not really desirable for people with wrist injuries. Also, people who are starting off with an exercise regime are recommended that they make use of dumbbell to do the curls, because using the barbell may create an imbalance in the muscles, which is not really desirable.

To sum up the answer to barbell curl or dumbbell curl, which is better, it is advisable to include both the exercises in the workout plan. If one practices any one of them only, then after sometime the results will be hard to come by. Unless a person has any particular issues with the joints, then they can talk to their physiotherapist and decide which is the best for them. I hope with this write up, you no more have any questions, which of the two you should practice and when.