Dumbbell presses were once the most effective exercise for increasing strength and muscle mass, but researchers are now beginning to question their effectiveness.
Researchers at the University of Iowa and the University at Buffalo have found that while dumbbells are more effective than barbells at increasing muscle mass and strength, dumbbell exercises do not elicit the same response as barbell exercises.
“In contrast, a more dynamic movement such as push-ups can elicit a stronger, more stable muscle mass than a dumbbell exercise,” the authors write in the study, which was published online in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
In addition, the authors found that dumbbell pressing and dumbbell curls can produce similar results.
The study found that both dumbbell and barbell presses produce significant increases in muscular strength in the bench press and snatch.
However, the researchers found that barbell curls, which produce a more pronounced upward push, were more effective at increasing strength than dumbbell bench presses.
The researchers say the lack of a similar increase in strength after dumbbell squats and dumbbbell rows, which they say can be performed on a variety of different exercises, could be a result of the fact that dumb exercises tend to be more difficult to perform than bar exercises.
“The reason why dumbbell training is more effective in the long run than bar training is because it is more dynamic and thus requires more coordination,” they write.
“In contrast bar training tends to be much more difficult, as the muscle-building benefits of bar training are largely determined by how much the muscle is contracting during the movement.”
The study also found that the dumbbell squat resulted in a greater increase in muscle strength than the dumbbout.
A similar study published in the American Journal of Physiology and Endocrinology in 2016 also showed that dumbbouts can be more effective, although the authors cautioned that it’s possible that the results could be due to differences in the intensity of the exercises used.