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Dumbbell Squats Vs. Barbell Squats

Rahul Thadani Feb 17, 2020
Performing squats is one of the most popular exercises, and one of the most endearing factors of squatting is that you can incorporate free weights into the regime. This can be done with dumbbells or barbells, and each of these methods have different benefits and uses.
Fitness enthusiasts from all around the world know the importance of implementing squats in their exercise regimes. This is a very simple exercise to perform and it aids the development of several muscle groups in the lower body, and it can prove to be even more beneficial if it is performed while holding free weights in ones hands.
Each individual will have certain goals and expectations from their workouts so they have a choice to make between dumbbells and barbells in such a scenario.

How to Perform Squats

Before we get into more details, it is important to understand the right method and technique to perform squats in the first place. Many people often carry out the exercise in the wrong manner, and this affects the effectiveness of the exercise and the workout.
The main areas that squats target are the thighs and the hips of an individual, so it is absolutely essential to perform them in the correct manner.
Here are the basic instructions on how to perform squats correctly.
  • Stand with your feet firmly on the ground, and the distance between your feet should be equal to the approximate distance between your shoulders.
  • Now slowly bend your knees so that your body goes as close to the ground as possible.
  • The basic aim here is to get your thighs low enough to be completely parallel to the ground.
  • You should also ensure that your knees are never extending beyond your toes, as this could increase the chances of serious knee injuries.
  • Now slowly stand upright again and get back to your original position.

If you are performing squats in this manner then you can be assured that you are carrying out this exercise in the right manner, and the risk of injury in such a scenario will be minimal.

Squats With Barbells

When you are performing barbell squats, there are two different methods that you can utilize. The first method involves holding a free barbell and placing it on the back of your neck when you are squatting. This will increase the total weight of your body and also increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
The only downside here is that your balance will require more work, and some people even see this as an added advantage. The other method is to use a Smith machine in which the barbell is attached on both sides.
In this case, you do not have to worry about losing balance since the barbell is fixed, so many people prefer this method of squatting with barbells.

Squats With Dumbbells

On the other hand, squats with dumbbells are tougher because you are required to hold the dumbbells in each free hand while squatting. This increases the load on the upper body as well, and actually makes it harder to perform the squat.
The dumbbells are just hanging freely in front in such a scenario, and what this effectively means is that you will be able to carry more weight if you use barbells instead of dumbbells. It is due to this primary difference that many people prefer squatting with barbells, especially the ones that are attached to a machine.

Dumbbells Against Barbells

  • It is possible to lift heavier weights with barbell squats.
  • It is easier to balance yourself with barbells than with dumbbells, only if a machine is being used.
  • Dumbbell squats also build the upper body, but squats are primarily aimed at the lower body so there is no point in mixing the two workouts.
  • There is more flexibility with dumbbell squats since the individual can stay down longer, change the angle of the body and carry out more repetitions as well.
  • Barbell squats also cause a lot of pressure in the lower back area, which could unknowingly result in some serious injuries.
  • Barbell squats focus on the hips and the glutes more than dumbbell squats.
All these differences show us that these are two very different exercises even though their basic premise is the same. You can even try performing squats without weights if you feel that using weights is causing too much stress, and the fact remains that squatting is an exercise that will have many variations. The preference of every individual will be different, and it will be dependent on several other factors.