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  1. #1
    Registered User Gstaaan's Avatar
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    Dumbbell Curls vs Barbell Curls

    I find I get a better contraction with dumbbells as I can really focus on that one muscle
    Which do you prefer or do you use both?
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    Each are as useful as the other.
    Elite coaching is about getting the last 5% out of a person's performance, personal training is about getting the first 50%.
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    Registered User joebrosef's Avatar
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    dumbell and cable. Barbell curls cause sharp pain in my forearms.
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    Registered User LulzYeah's Avatar
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    Are there any advantages over each other?
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    Registered User fearbrandon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gstaaan View Post
    I find I get a better contraction with dumbbells as I can really focus on that one muscle
    Which do you prefer or do you use both?
    i like barbell due to the wide grip and close grip. i do some barbell. always try to switch it up.. andi like the rope hammer curls on the a cable machine.
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  6. #6
    Pokesmot&liftheavysh!t Devildowninga's Avatar
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    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=471725

    Link to EMG studies showing which muscles were stimulated most by which exercises. For bi's the top 3 were BB Preachers, Incline DB's and standing BB Curls...
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  7. #7
    Registered User Gstaaan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by joebrosef View Post
    dumbell and cable. Barbell curls cause sharp pain in my forearms.
    Yeah I broke both my left arm and both wrists before so i get pains in them sometimes when doing BB so i tend to stick to db or ez bar
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    I prefer DB as well.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  9. #9
    Registered User firstmark's Avatar
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    Dumbells give you more flexiblity in finding a grip and bar path that suits you compared to barbells. They require more effort to stablize and can be worked one arm at at time. They also can have increased range of motion compared to the barbell for some.
    Its also not possible for the weaker arm to be carried by the stronger as it the case with barbell movements. Also if you want to develop to your fullest you can use more weight on your dominant arm and develop its strength faster than if you were limited to what your right and left can handle together on a barbell.

    Dumbells also allow you to supinate the curl and work supination ability. I do kind of dig one arm barbell curls though as a variety move from dumbells. I do them with the grip4orce stiff flex on there to make them harder. I do not unevenly load the bar to work supination as much on these just yet but thats another way to make dumbell movements harder.
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  10. #10
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by firstmark View Post
    Dumbells also allow you to supinate the curl and work supination ability.
    Er, unless you're holding the weight offset, I don't think a properly centered/balanced dumbbell is going to provide any notable rotational resistance to work the supination ability.

    This would sort of be like doing a dumbbell front raise and then bringing the DBs out to the sides. Sure, the change in position will subtly shift the stress from the anterior to the lateral head of the deltoid, but you're not going to put much stress on your posterior deltoid as a transverse extensor even though the movement emulates that of a bent-over lateral raise, simply because it's not being resisted by anything except inertia.

    If you want to work supination ability, you can use things like adjustible DB/bars with only one side weighted, or maybe if you're curling/supinaton a kettlebell, or sledgehammers.
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  11. #11
    Registered User Birddog6424's Avatar
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    I do both.

    My bicep workout consists of standing BB curls, EZ bar preacher curls, DB concentration curls.

    Just trying to hit it from multiple angles.
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  12. #12
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    Both.

    However, I've found that warming up with DBs helps the MMC with barbell or straight bar curls.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by firstmark View Post
    Also if you want to develop to your fullest you can use more weight on your dominant arm
    Surely you don't really want to be lifting a considerable amount more (and for many it is) on your dominant arm compared to the weaker one if symmetrical hypertrophy is the desired result?
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    mix it up
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    Originally Posted by Gstaaan View Post
    I find I get a better contraction with dumbbells as I can really focus on that one muscle
    Which do you prefer or do you use both?
    dbs you get to work each muscle individually but have to use less weight by default than you would with a bb, so both have their uses; i personally make use of both, alternating each workout.
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  16. #16
    Registered User firstmark's Avatar
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    If you work your dominant and weaker arm to maximum potential with dumbell weights one arm is not going to get dramatically stronger than the other. The gap in strength will narrow in time. Some will want to develop one arm more than the other if its possible and get strength gains they can get. This is possible with dumbells and not barbells and is a possible benefit for some. Why half ass work your right arm so it can equal your left. People have no issue with using barbells that can allow the dominant arm to take over.

    True without offeset grip or loading plates more on one side the supination function is worked
    in a real minor way with dumbells over barbells. But dumbells allow you to do hammer curls that you can not do with regular straight bars as easily. For supination function I use a 28 inch handle with weight on the end do supination moves, and try to curl it holding it level also. Its very tough. If you truly wish to work supination ability you probably need to do it bent arm to work mostly biceps and straight arm to work mainly the forearm supinator muscles. but thats beyond what the poster is asking about.
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  17. #17
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    heavy barbell curls to bicep as is squats to quads
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    I always do both, I do seated db curls after Barbell curls.
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    Not a fan of isolations. As of now, dumbbell curls feel too easy to use shoulders while Barbells wide gravitational pull make for steady development.

    I imagine cable curls are good for more isolation, but I don't like how the resistance varies as the angle away from the pulley changes.
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  20. #20
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    I use an EZ bar for curls (i don't really get the "proper positioning" of my hands right with barbells they are either to far apart which hurts my wrist or to close together and i can't get my arms up properly with my palms facing upwards). I use Dumbbells for hammer- (obviously ;P) and concentration curls.
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  21. #21
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    Old thread I know but, these threads always come up in Google searches and there's no point starting another one just for this.

    Personally I could never do curls with a straight bar, too much strain on my wrists (cue the masturbation jokes), it has to be the EZ bar for me.

    I only do those because it is inconvenient to do DB curls, but I am sure DB has to be better.

    DB curls = bicep.

    Bar curls = bicep... but surely the abs, pecs and delts are all helping when its a bar? At least it seems that way.

    Never seen Arnie lifting a bar that way, although I am not saying he never did, I just don't recall him doing curls with a bar, it was always DB's.

    Then again what worked for Arnie won't necessarily work for everyone.
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    Choose one or the other.

    #1. Straight Barbell or Standing Dumbbell Curl
    #2. Incline Dumbbell Curl
    #3. Preacher Curl or Concentration Curl


    That's all you need.
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    Originally Posted by Gstaaan View Post
    I find I get a better contraction with dumbbells as I can really focus on that one muscle
    Which do you prefer or do you use both?
    I prefer compound back movements for biceps and not wasting my time
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  24. #24
    Kettlebell Twink IDrinkBloodLOL's Avatar
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    I personally find barbell curls to be harder. I don't know why. I find that when I do barbell curls, my dumbbell curls get stronger but when I do dumbbell curls it doesn't help my barbell curling.

    I'll use both, but I use the barbell curl to test my bicep strength.
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  25. #25
    Banned DerekEt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by akmusclehamster View Post
    I prefer compound back movements for biceps and not wasting my time
    Enjoy the red .
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    Registered User akmusclehamster's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DerekEt View Post
    Enjoy the red .
    negged comment? NO
    Compound Weights, Bodyweight Exercises and Sprinting
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  27. #27
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    Originally Posted by Gstaaan View Post
    I find I get a better contraction with dumbbells as I can really focus on that one muscle
    Which do you prefer or do you use both?
    You feel a better contraction because its more of an isloation exercise versus the BB which is more compound. Both are good to use. I like doing BB first and hitting it with different DB islolated curls to hit the last fibers good.
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  28. #28
    Doesn't Eat Enough Tillday's Avatar
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    My elbows lock up on barbell due to tendonitis or something, they are a non-option for me.
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  29. #29
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    -Barbell Cheat Curls (105% of 1RM)
    -Incline Dumbbell Curls (75-85% of 1RM)
    -Overhand Spider Curls w/EZ Bar (Loading is variable)

    Plus your typical heavy back work (deadlifts, pullups, chins, rows).

    Most of the guys I see curling at the gym are too busy chasing a pump and trying to work their arms from various "angles", instead of focusing on having great form/tempo and moving some weight. Not surprisingly, they wander through life with 13" arms. For what it's worth, my arms have never grown by curling anything that was light enough to complete more than 5 or 6 reps with great form and a methodical tempo.

    To answer your question, I use both the straight bar and EZ bar for their respective exercises, as well as dumbbells. But what works best is not necessarily what you can "feel" the most. A lot of people focus on the contraction, which is fine I suppose. Is it an indicator of effectiveness? Not particularly. If you're consistently gaining strength, and the tape measure shows growth, then you're doing something right. For me, I don't feel a pump or contraction from doing cheat curls with a straight barbell. But nothing on this Earth has ever been as effective for gaining size and strength in my biceps.
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  30. #30
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