Posted by: Shawn
Obviously it will depend on how you started training because any person who has been training for more than a few years will have developed some kind of pattern when lifting both dumbbells and barbells. If you have been training for less than a year then dumbbells are highly recommended rather than barbells.
The reason is simply because when doing movements like lunges or split squats using dumbbells a beginner will be able to concentrate on the movement and lifting the weight instead of trying to balance correctly. Any moving squat movement with a barbell on your back requires practice to make sure you don't lose balance.
Some professional bodybuilders strongly believe in working with dumbbells rather than barbells because they believe more muscle fiber recruitment happens when lifting dumbbells. Training to use heavy dumbbells with a movement like D/B press or D/B rows will require more muscle fiber to be activated to ensure the movements gets completed compared to barbells.
The problem with using dumbbells is that you will not be able to increase the weight like you would when using a barbell. When doing s movement like squats using dumbbells you will not be able to lift the same weight as you could with a barbell simply because holding two heavy dumbbells gets too cumbersome.
You will be able to push a heavier weight using a barbell but it will be a lot safer to use dumbbells, which is why dumbbells are recommended for beginners. Doing movements like power cleans or snatches a lot heavier weight would be used when lifting a barbell compared to dumbbells.
If you are training at home then barbells are going to be a lot cheaper than buying 100lbs dumbbells. The problem with training with dumbbells is that even at the best gyms in town you still will not be able to increase the dumbbell weight you lift by only 5 pounds, it will be ten pounds at least which means less reps in the set.
In conclusion using dumbbells for the standard compound movements is not easy and you will not be able to lift as heavy as you would with barbells. But it certainly does not mean that you should not use dumbbells for primary compound lifts. Generally bodybuilders would use dumbbells for isolation movements and secondary compound lifts.