Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that dumbbells are the more effective equipment to use to build my biceps. There are multiple reasons why I think this:
- Dumbbells allow me to use one arm or two arms.
- Dumbbells do not put as much stress on my forearms and wrists.
- Dumbbells allow me to rotate my wrist as I curl.
The second reason is an observation I made over many workouts. Whenever I finish a set that used a barbell, my forearms and wrists always felt more strained. I experienced the same consequences when using dumbbells, but to a much lesser extent. This is due to the fact that the grip for a barbell requires the forearms of both arms to remain stationary with respect to one another. This grip also prevents the wrist from rotating, which provides a good introduction to the third reason.
Dumbbells allow me to rotate my wrists as I perform a bicep curl. Why is this so significant? Well, the rotation of my wrist allows me to contract my biceps even more, allowing a more effective, efficient and intense workout. You can try this out for yourself. Take a dumbbell and let it hang at your side with your palm facing towards your side (this is the starting position). As you curl the dumbbell towards your shoulders, steadily rotate the dumbbell so that by the time the dumbbell is at its highest point, your palm is facing up and slightly outwards. To really feel the contraction, hold your bicep in the position where the dumbbell is at its highest point.
Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts I want to share. I am sure that barbells do have their benefits over using dumbbells, but in my opinion, using dumbbells provide the more effective workout for my biceps. Nowadays, I tend to design bicep workouts that use machines or dumbbells as much as possible, with a barbell exercise thrown in every once in a while.