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It’s just you and a lone pair of dumbbells, and you say to yourself, “Great, what am I supposed to do with these?” They may look unassuming, but the almighty dumbbell is more powerful than you think. Let’s go over four benefits of dumbbell training and why you might be underestimating this simple piece of equipment.

The Benefits of Dumbbell Training

They Allow You to Do Unilateral Training

“Unilateral” means you’re only working one side at a time. If you’re doing a barbell bench press, you’re training both sides simultaneously. However, using dumbbells means you have a feasible option to bench on one arm at a time, before switching sides.

Unilateral training is so powerful because (a) we don’t tend to do it nearly as often as we should and (b) it offers a type of control you can’t get with other types of training.

Furthermore, no human body is symmetrical. We all have one shoulder that’s more powerful than the other, one leg that’s stronger than the other. You can correct these discrepancies with unilateral training.

And that brings us to the next benefit of dumbbell training.

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They Discover and Target Muscle Imbalances

When you work both sides of your body simultaneously, you don’t have nearly as good of an opportunity to find where your imbalances are.

For instance, you might notice that your deadlift feels a little off, but you can’t tell why. All you know is that one knee caves in slightly while the other holds strong, and your hips twist slightly.

Because barbell training affords an excellent chance for unilateral work, it’s going to help you discover and then correct those muscle imbalances.

Don’t dismiss how important this is. Compounded over time, those seemingly minor imbalances can lead to discomfort and even injury. Incorporating dumbbell training — even just as additional accessory work — is a smart move with your programming.

Dumbbells Are More Challenging to Stabilize

You ever notice how when you’re pressing dumbbells overhead in some manner, it seems harder to control them even if it’s significantly less weight than you’d be loading on a barbell?

That’s because dumbbells are harder to stabilize.

If you’re benching a barbell, as you’re pushing up on it, you only have to stop any forward/backward movement. However, when you press dumbbells overhead, they can move forward, backward, left, right, and any other which way.

This means that you have to work harder to stabilize them. It demands greater control and muscle activation, taking your dumbbells WODs to the next level.

Their Versatility Knows No Limits

Last but certainly not least, we have to give a shoutout to dumbbells for their never-ending versatility.

You can get a full-body workout without ever getting bored or repeating the same exercise twice. Go heavy for a strength-based workout, or reduce the weight and increase the reps for something more metabolic. Hold a dumbbell in both hands (or one — hello, unilateral work!) and take them for a stroll around the neighborhood for farmer carries that’ll tax your grip like none other. Put a heavy dumbbell across your hips for challenging bridges and then flip over with the weight on your back for planks.

We could go on for days.

It might require you to think outside the box, but whenever it’s just you and the dumbbells, trust that your body can reap the rewards.

Check out The WOD Life’s range of dumbbells today.