Is it possible to gain strength with dumbbells?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by DarkDream, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. DarkDream

    DarkDream White Belt

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    Okay so I've been doing a lot of reading in the forum and it's basically confirmed that doing basic barbell exercises builds strength. If I could just get a barbell and do stuff with it I wouldn't even be making this thread, but unfortunately I do not have anywhere near the required real estate to be able to own an operate a barbell. Yes, it's that cramped in here. The only thing I could actually do besides basic calisthenics would be to get some dumbbells and do some finger grip pullups. It'll also be a while before I can just go to a gym and just lift, bench, and squat my way into power.

    This leads to the thread title. Is it possible to gain strength with just dumbbells? Specifically, is it possible to get similar results with a dumbbell as you can with a barbell? Granted there's going to be the time factor against them since you can put a lot more weight on a bar and have balance and stability support that weight instead of it being mostly just your arms individually, but if it is at all possible I'd like to at least try.
     
  2. Was Exiled

    Was Exiled Brown Belt

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    If you have ones which you can make small increments with, sure..
     
  3. Tank_Kam

    Tank_Kam Purple Belt

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    Maybe those bowflex dumbells that adjust weight or something similar, cuz if you are trying to gain strength you dont wanna stick with the same weight week after week.. but to answer your question yes you can gain strength using dumbells, I switch back and forth between dumbells and barbell all the time, particularly for bench.
     
  4. johnyboy

    johnyboy Silver Belt

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  5. The Karate Man

    The Karate Man Blue Belt

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    You can do A LOT of exercises with dumbbells. I'm sure there's an article or YouTube video of 30+ different things you can do with dumbbells.

    That along with pushups, and a diet. It's possible.
     
  6. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    There's a couple issues.

    First, to continue to get stronger, you need to be able to progressively add load. Unless you have plate loaded dumbbells, and a lot of small plates, it's unlikely you'll have dumbbells that will continue to challenge you, especially for lower body work.

    Second, it makes it more difficult to challenge to lower body. You simply can't do any kind of squat or deadlift with dumbbells like you can with a barbell. Sure you can "Dumbbell deadlift", but it's really not the same thing, and it's unlikely you'd have dumbbells heavy enough to make it even moderately challenging.
     
  7. lpaulgib

    lpaulgib Blue Belt

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    It's going to be hard to increase weight. Other than that, you'll be able to do some simple stuff to increase your muscular endurance. Your limit strength won't get much work with dumbells, unless you've gotten ones that weigh up to 250 lbs each. If you've got a beastly set of DBs it might work. If you've just got them up to like 80lbs, you're only getting so much out of them.
     
  8. AlVThom

    AlVThom Orange Belt

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    Yes, if you're adding more weight and progressive resistance, you are getting stronger.

    Some dumbbells can be easily outweighed when making smaller adjustments. But you could fix it by doing your DB's fixed with clamps. I'd recommend checking out Ross Enamait, he has a lot of articles on home made equipment, such as DB's like I mentioned. Might be worth considering doing a sandbag.
     
  9. Mr. Fresca

    Mr. Fresca Thanks for playing

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    dumbbells will give you dick cancer!
     
  10. Chute Stomp

    Chute Stomp Brown Belt

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    Dumbbell bench-press is money. The hardest part is getting the heavier ones into position. Ideally do both barbell and dumbbell bench. In fact, heavy barbell bench-press gives me upper-back pain. No pain at all when just using the dumbbells.
     
  11. Minotauro Rex

    Minotauro Rex Mandy Candy Platinum Member

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    Dumbells are only good for curling and sculpting your chesticles.
     
  12. gspieler

    gspieler Red Belt

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    Dumbbells are somewhat of a second-rate method for getting stronger. That being said, the answer to your question is yes, it is certainly possible. However, how much strength you can build from them will largely depend on your experience level, your current strength level, how heavy of dumbbells you have access to, etc. If all else fails, you can continue to increase volume with the heaviest set available for a given lift. It may only serve as a means to hypertrophy, but it will at least (indirectly) lead to marginal gains in strength.


    edit: short answer, yes, but there are several factors that will determine how much stronger you can actually get with them.
     
  13. tracknfieldgear

    tracknfieldgear White Belt

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    ya you are right
     
  14. KNELE

    KNELE White Belt

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  15. Tim Moore

    Tim Moore White Belt

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    I am a beginner and use dumbbells entirely for my whole daily workout. As for now, I am trying to make home made equipment for my workout to adjust according to my needs.
     
  16. NurseKnuckles

    NurseKnuckles My Mom's stronger than you belt

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    And those needs are?...

    Better yet. Give us your goals...
     
  17. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    Ahhhh ratttssss!!!! I really though Tosa came back until I saw the date of his post.
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. deadshot138

    deadshot138 Black Belt

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    Depends how strong you're trying to get
     
  19. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Heart of a Lion

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    Depends on individual. Some people have better results with dumbbells.
     
  20. corpse

    corpse Random Belt

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    dumbells are great for one armed quick lifts. power clean, power snatch. you could also do heavy standing presses and heavy rows or some floor presses. one or two heavy dumbbells is better than no weights at all. you could do goblet squats or some lunge stuff.

    like the other guys said, being "strong" depends on the individual. you can get pretty strong from dumbbell training but you won't win a powerlifting championship from using a dumbbell in your tiny appartment. i just saw a video of a guy doing presses with two 48kg kettlebells, so yeah, he got strong from using kettlebells.
     

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