Jump to content

Barbell vs Dumbell? Pain?

Recommended Posts

Hey all,


What are your thoughts on this topic?


I have had some injuries with lifting and always find I have the least amount of pain or problems when using DBs, since it allows greater freedom of movement of the joints with any movement. For me personally, as I get older, I find DBs to provide less stress on my joints. I recently had a bad strain that took a while to heal. In coming back, I was able to do DB bench presses but in trying to do light bench presses, I felt pain in my shoulder. Proving at least to my own body, DB movements are better for me.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Barbells are a great leveler. If you have a weak side, it will show when the weight starts to get to be too much for that weak side. This would be evident if it was your left or right shoulder that bothered you?


Also, the weight you put on for the chest barbell press might be too much for your shoulders (a weak bodypart). Barbells can show where you might be weak in other bodyparts that are utilized in supporting the big bodypart's movement. Dumbbells are great at isolation of the bodypart to be used in the exercise. You can back off from the angle that utilizes the other secondary muscles of other bodyparts, and focus on using just that focused bodypart. But this can also cause an imbalance in bodyparts, in which one bodypart gets too strong and the others remain weak.


Shoulders are also the mainstay of a bodybuilder's workout for most of the other big bodyparts. You might need to warm up the shoulder girdle before you do any weightlifting of the upper body (and for legs if doing squats and other exercises where the weight is on your shoulders). I remember hurting my left shoulder (weak bodypart as I am right handed), and I was not able to workout the Chest, Back, Arms, and even running was painful. I then focused on making sure my deltoids (the front, middle, and rear parts of the shoulder) were flexible, and strong enough so as to handle the weight loads of the bigger bodyparts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing with a barbell in the bench press is I get stabbing pains in my right trap just above the clavicle. I don't get that now with Dumbell presses.


My shoulders are strong. I had the same experience in times past doing barbell presses. Could do DB presses with 115 lb sumbells but as soon as I even did a light warm up with the bar, I had shoulder pain, on the right side. I think going forward I will stick to Dumbells. I got the biggest and most muscular in my life, doing no barbell movements, onlt DBs, other than squats and deadlifts.


My shoulders are fine, the pain is around the clavicle, like it is a tendon. My orthopedic doctor thinks it is my anatomy, just the way my tendons attach to the clavicle and I may need some prolotherapy. All my MRIs, Ultra Sounds came back great, they said my rotator cuffs look fantastic, nothing wrong anywhere.


I am also not a big fan of isolating the delts becaus ethey get hammered when doing chest, and back. Plus dips hammer the shoulders as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do know that barbells put more stress on the wrists. as opposed to dumbbells and ez curl bars, mabye there is a correllation here





Thank you, I was partially aware of this already, I should have stated what i meant clearer: In general barbells will put more stress (not pain) but willl recrute a larger effort on behalf of your wrists, as they limit the range of motion of the wrists when gripping a straight 'fixed' bar, as it is an unnatural state for the human body. The ez curl bar takes this into consideration as it allows the user to have their wrists on a slight angle "a more natural state".


You will notice that with an EZ curl bar (cambered bar) you will feel bicep curls more in the actual biceps and virtually nothing in the forearms and wrists, in conjunction to the straight bar, where it puts stress on the wrists and will work the muscles surrounding that area also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plus dips hammer the shoulders as well.

It is funny that you should mention clavicle pain, but only with the chest press.


I got this clavicle pain when doing dips. I have found that if I shift my body around - more weight in the back, keeping my chest up, elbows pointed straight back . . and if I can remember to point my fingers forward instead of gripping the handles - then I don't get that pain in my clavicle. I know it has to do with the fulcrum and torque of the weights in relationship to the body, that determines which muscles and tendons/ligaments are needed for the movement.


For your clavicle pain, I also wouldn't rule out scar tissue hidden from an MRI within the deep tissues surrounding the delts and pectorals. Because of my experience with an old shoulder injury, I was having the hardest time doing lat pulldowns. I used all the various pulldown bars that were there, and finally settled on a short bar with a slight angle down for the overhand grip. I worked on increasing the reps and the weights for years till I am where I am today. Somehow I was able to keep pulling on the muscles and tendon/ligament (probably with a mass of scar tissue) and strengthen it up to where it is today. Then again, I had to persevere with that exercise, how else am I going to be able to get the wide lats that I desire? Can't use dumbbells for that exercise.


I do like using dumbbells for when I start dieting down. I like to use the quickness of dumbbells to superset exercises and do them fast. I can then tweak the exercise by using different angles on the bodypart and fine-tune its look as the bodyfat melts away from it. To get the peak on a bicep, or the striations on the delts all around the whole head as an example.


The only exercise that I have to use dumbbells during the bulking season is the incline chest flyes. And I don't like them. . well actually I am scared of them . . because I did hurt myself pretty badly with a microtear in my left pec with a couple of 45lbs dumbbells, and the left one couldn't come back up even though I tried with all my might (I had no spotter/partner at that time) and I may have tried to override the golgi tendon reflex. So to me, dumbbells can be dangerous too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So then how do you all explain that the most pec mass I have been able to develop was using the dumbell press?


All I can say is this week doing the dumbell chest press, I had no pain. Yet, doing a barbell press with only 135 cause a Sharp pain in my right clavicle area. No loss of strength, just pain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess what I might be saying is that barbells have the potential to cause the most OPTIMAL mass building. Since you have pain, then that is stopping you from using barbells. You can build with anything, as long as you keep upping the weight on your workouts.

What I was trying to say from my own experience with pain, is that I had no choice but to work thru the pain, build and repair whatever I had going on, and then work hard till I could do what I do now - with no pain.


Everybody's optimal is whatever they can make of it.


The way I did it was to keep the weight low and do many reps. Once I got to 50 reps, then I would up the weight by using increments of 2.5lbs. Whatever was causing the pain started to go away. Perhaps do your dumbbell press, and then do a high rep barbell (and try different angles, and different support positions) with any easy weight, just for fun or for therapy - not building mass. See what happens as the weeks go by. See if your pain starts to subside. Though I do have to say I was doing yoga at the time also, so that might have strengthen or stretched something to help also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Pain has been getting MUCH better....not bothering me too much anymore other than a little twingy on chest day! Getting better.


If you keep upping the weight, you can build with anything. I was able to get my chest and shoulders larger than they have been in years by doing mostly heavy DB presses and heavy weighted dips. Bench pressing really bothers my shoulders using a bar so I gravitated to the dumbells after years. Some of us have to find other ways to get form point A to B. Look at Robert, he has had to approach his legs differently due to a back injury. He can't do squats or deadlifts so had to concentrate on leg press, etc. Personally, for me the leg press is harder on my low back at times than the squat.


What ambetious says, I sort of agree with from my own experience...dumbbells allow your joints to move freely and naturally and thus decreasing the chances of injuries.

However, I am going to see if I can start slipping some bench press back in with a barbell.


I wish I could find a way to squeeze the squat and dead lift into my program because I find too much overlap with back work so I tend to stick with squats and sometimes I will go through a period where I will do a leg press program and deadlifts, cutting out the squats for a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definitely was able to build more upper body strength and size doing dumbell chest presses than I have in a very long time and I was constantly reaching new bests. also including weighted dips made a big difference. I find dumbells much easier on the joints.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...