🔹 Everyone wants to know which is “best” between barbells, dumbbells, and machines. I hate describing anything as the best because like most things in fitness and in life, all three have benefits.
🔹 Barbells are best for strength since it’s easiest to go heavy with them. Dumbbells are ok for strength too but they can be more difficult to use in lower rep ranges since it’s a struggle just to get them into the starting position. Most machines are a bit awkward to use in lower rep ranges but the right machine can be great in higher rep ranges.
🔹 Barbells and dumbbells help build stabilizer muscles whereas machines do all the stabilizing for you. Your range of motion is a bit more natural with barbells and dumbbells since you are not locked into a straight path. Dumbbells can be helpful if you have uneven body parts since you can work each side evenly.
🔹 Barbells are the most dangerous since you could hurt yourself on several exercises without a spot whereas dumbbells can be dropped if you fail. Machines are obviously the safest.
🔹 All three have benefits and how you utilize all three will depend on your goals. A pretty good approach is to stick with mostly barbells for strength movements and incorporate dumbbells and machines in slightly higher rep ranges.