The vast majority of exercises performed using the barbell also have their counterparts in the exercise with dumbbells. And there we can find variants for both hands, as well as for each one separately. How does individual work compare to doing the exercise with both hands at once? Which election is better and correct?

Training for 2 hands vs. for 1 hand – how to exercise?

In some exercises, such as lifting dumbbells to the sides of the torso, barbell rowing, lifting the bar to the chin along the torso, lifting the dumbbell forward, or flexing the forearms, most people are stronger when doing them with one hand instead of two. How is it possible?

In many upper body exercises, using just one hand may seem easier than working with both hands at the same time. This is for several reasons. First of all, research has shown that doing exercises on the upper parts separately (working with only one hand) allows you to use more power than doing the same exercise with both hands. This is due to the use of more muscle fibers.


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The second reason is what most people consider to be cheating. Doing exercises the one-person does not protect against it at all. You may not be aware of this, but during some of the exercises you cheat even more because you engage other muscles to help those parties you focus on. This is most often associated with stabilization of the torso. For example, when lifting the arms from side to side in the torso with both hands, the same weight on both sides ensures a proper torso balance. However, when you do this exercise, the lack of a counterbalancing weight makes the torso turn one side, forcing you to resist twisting by involving oblique muscles. When you start to lift the dumbbell with your right hand, the swing generated by this movement forces the torso to turn left. This can be considered cheating,although we can not control it. The same applies even when paddling single-handed, lifting arms from side to side, lifting the arms forward or bending the forearms.

This does not mean, however, that you should give up exercising separately on each hand. Finally, they provide the opportunity to lift higher loads. They also have another advantage – core muscle training. Avoid only cheated movements by performing exercises with one hand. It is often advisable to use a body swing to lift very heavy loads, but in most cases the movement must be as simple as possible. Slower repetition or holding for a second or two of the initial and final motion phases can help here.

Training for 2 hands vs. for 1 hand – summary

It is perfectly normal that you will be stronger in single-handed movements because you are engaging more muscle fibers in working muscles and more muscle fibers in the accessory muscles. Take advantage of this kind of phenomenon and use the movements cheated in some exercises while limiting them in others. This is what will ensure you balanced muscle development.


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