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You can always supplement the 5x5 routine with 3x8-10 (typically) accessory exercises with dumbbells.

In some cases dumbbells will give you a better range of motion and help develop smaller muscles.

Another common addition to 5x5 I've seen is adding a dedicated core day (weighted ab crunches, hanging leg raises, planks) Core is the 2nd most important part of doing pull exercises (after back)




> In some cases dumbbells will give you a better range of motion and help develop smaller muscles.

This has always smelled like broscience to me. I guess I'm just skeptical that someone unable to create stable positions with a fixed object (barbell) will have more success creating proper stable positions off of objects that move freely. Based on what I've seen in the gym, it looks like the barbell users usually end up 'collapsing' into stability... then again, most of what I see in the gym are meatheads using way more weight than they should be. Maybe it would be different if priority was given to proper mechanics rather than pressing till your eyeballs bleed.


>most of what I see in the gym are meatheads using way more weight than they should be.

What does that mean? If your goal is to get stronger you have to lift as much weight as possible. Obviously you don't want to hurt yourself, but the emphasis on perfect form over heavy weights is "broscience" if your goal is strength.

>I'm just skeptical that someone unable to create stable positions with a fixed object (barbell) will have more success creating proper stable positions off of objects that move freely.

The whole point is that it's more difficult to maintain stability with dumbells.


Let me clarify. A professional strength athlete will need to move lots of weight, and will occasionally need to compromise form and future health to get it done. That being said, look at the work Kelly Starrett has done with Mark Bell. Perfect form by definition results in the most efficient force production and transfer, and is therefore the most efficient way to increase strength. My understanding is that these days you rarely see elite power athletes compromise form in training, in the same way that you rarely see elite power athletes lifting their max load. My philosophy is that in training, a rep without proper form is a failed rep.


I prefer dumbbells to a regular benchpress, but it's largely because I don't have an exercise partner and I don't want to get trapped underneath a barbell if I can't lift it.


If you lift in a gym, one option is dragging a bench into a power rack [1]; this will allow you to bail using the safety bars. Another is to use an olympic bench station (if you have one) to hang the bar up onto a lower hook. If you can't even lift the bar, there's the option of benching without clips [2].

No need to miss out!

[1] : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru0scbx8DuI [2] : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGkRDcMeSTY


The idea is that you have full range of motion when using a barbell or dumbbells compared to a machine that limits your range of motions to a very strict horizontal/vertical axis.




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