There's a common myth in the fitness community that barbells are the superior lifting method to gaining size and strength over dumbbells.
But the truth is each has its own advantages. And neither is "better than the other."
Barbells allow you to lift more weight, which is going to help trigger myofibrillar hypertrophy (this is when the actual fibers in the muscle grow bigger.)
This is why Powerlifting is centered around the big 3: squats, deadlifts, and the bench press. It's safer to lift heavier weights with dumbbells compared to a barbell because of the fixed range of motion (and you don't need a spotter....you can just drop the dumbbells).
That's also why bench pressing 225 lbs. is usually easier than 100 lb. dumbbell bench.
But, dumbbells have some big advantages over barbells, too. For one, it works the stabilizer muscles much better than barbells.
This is because our left and right side are trained symmetrically with dumbbells. This will help with longevity and staying injury-free.
With a barbell, your dominant side might overpower your weaker side to push through those last few reps. Over time, this creates a big muscular imbalance in your body.
Dumbbells are amazing for correcting the problem.
Either way, we don't recommend worrying too much about "which is better." You can build muscle with anything...barbells, dumbbells, machines, and your own bodyweight.
What matters most is that you train with intensity during your workouts.
Our team's lifting habits are pretty diverse. Some train everything in a commercial gym, and some of us use only dumbbells in our home gyms right now.
We may be releasing two of our workouts in a future blog post. So stay tuned!