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Dumbbell Only Workout?


A close friend of mine asked me for my opinion on a dumbbell only workout he was told to do by a personal trainer.

Now I am confused to as how anyone can suggest he do a workout that consists of 50 plus reps ...

My question is , does this provide any benefit to him at all or should I tell him to use the muscle and strength full body one instead ?


It depends on what the trainer wants your friend to achieve. Two people can do the same program on paper but why and how it's implemented can have a big impact on the results. The workout could just be a precursor to a more typical strength training program. Ask the trainer why he is doing that program and what the goals for the program are. The program is supposed to enable your friend to reach his goals.


Different philosophies for everyone. Not something I would do, I don't want to handicap myself to just dumbbells but it could be done fairly easily. Some gyms actually tell there trainers to not use barbells for fear the client will get hurt. Which is ridiculous but some gyms suck. My first couple interviews went like that. Lifetime Fitness said my clients would not be able to squat at all, not even bodyweight. Another gym wanted me to use machines and use a circuit. Start with shoulders, then chest, back, abs. and legs repeat 3x and there done, could do no deviation and they charged about $100 a session and paid about $8.50 for a new trainer. Some had pre printed out workouts that were just terrible to look at. I actually got into a little argument on first interview ever over differing philosophies, (he told me doing cardio everyday for month would put on 10 lbs of pure muscle on me, Ryan at Lifetime Fitness in Tempe, AZ). Now this guy was gonna be my boss too and I got into it when I told him he was wrong. Even after all of that I got the job but turned it down.

If he is new then its hard to go wrong with 5/3/1


Personally I find barbells safer than Dumbbells.
5/3/1 works with Dumbbells ?


My friend is ONLY interested in looking good , not at all interested in strength , it is for this reason I was unsure as to if i should recommend the muscle and strength workout as I personally think it's more strength based.


I should have been more clear. If I were his trainer, ideally, I would want to follow 5/3/1 or something like that with barbells and dumbbells both being involved if he is a beginner. For most people, if the weights go up muscle usually follows. I myself like training my clients for strength and might get to aggressive loading up the bar with some of my clients too fast, so I am constantly having to stop myself from adding too much weight too quickly with some.

Any program that has some progression should work. There is just some that are better than others. I will say i dont like his program of only dumbbells. But if the trainer does not know barbell training or is not comfortable with them he is not gonna use them.

Dumbbells offer more of an aesthetic improvements for me than barbell work. Is he using 50+ reps per set with just dumbbell work?


It would make more sense for me to approach aesthetics using barbell and dumbbell work. IMO, an athlete can get strong and big before getting really strong or really big. It would still be useful to find out the purpose of his dumbbell only program and if it has yielded any results with other clients.


Looking good is a very subjective thing. Everyone thinks they are talking about the same thing but they often aren't. I can practically guarantee that your idea of the perfect physique is radically different from at least 50% of the people you talk to.


Relative to the general population, just pushing it on pullups, pressup variations and sprints can have you looking very good.

"Time and hard work" not equipment...