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Advantages and Disadvantages of Dumbbells

author image Lexa W. Lee
Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dumbbells
Dumbbell Photo Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Dumbbells have long been used in strength training as a means to increase muscle strength and endurance. While they are inexpensive and versatile, they are more difficult to use compared to weight-training machines. Nonetheless, they can be used in regular workouts as part of a well-rounded fitness routine. Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise or weight-training program..

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Pros: Cheap and Portable

Because the cost of dumbbells is relatively low, you can buy a set of different weights fairly inexpensively. Dumbbells are portable and do not require much storage space. It's easy to use them at home or at the gym. When training, you can choose to train a single muscle group at a time or, by working different muscle groups simultaneously, you can make a workout more time-efficient.

Pros: Versatile Workouts

Range of motion is not fixed when you use dumbbells, so you can build strength through a full or partial range of motion and perform many different exercises. Not only can you can train muscles you use in normal movements performed every day, you can also strengthen sports-specific movements. What's more, as you lift a dumbbell, you also incorporate motions that stabilize and improve your balance. This ultimately results in a greater overall increase in muscle strength and endurance.

Cons: Difficult to Target Muscles

Because your motion is not fixed, using dumbbells is more challenging, compared with weight machines. It's more difficult to isolate and target specific muscles. Beginners need instruction in proper technique, and workouts require conscious care and control. You may need to find a spotter or helper to monitor your workout, especially when lifting heavier weights.

Cons: Risk of Injury

If you use dumbbells improperly, not only do you risk injury, but your workout will be less effective in improving strength and conditioning, and you will have trouble lifting heavier dumbbells and doing more challenging workouts. What's more, if your technique is incorrect, you might be using momentum to lift the dumbbells instead of muscle strength. Good technique and safe lifting are essential to getting the most out of your workouts.

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