Are Dumbbells Considered Lifting?

With the overwhelming amount of fitness equipment out there, it can get quite confusing to pick the best ones that suit your need. But no matter how innovative and creative these types of equipment can get, there will always be one that is considered the staple of fitness, and for good reasons too! I’m talking of course about dumbbells. And whether you decided to try them on during your gym session, or you purchased your first pair, you’re probably not sure if you should consider dumbbells as weight lifting compared to a barbell or to classic machines. With that being said, are dumbbells considered lifting?

Weightlifting is a common term that is used to describe certain types of movements that are performed against resistance, and dumbbells, just like any other form of weight training, fit these criteria and are considered one of the best ways to lift.

In this article, we’ll talk more in-depth about if dumbbells are considered lifting, as well as the benefits of using them during your training sessions. 

Are dumbbells considered lifting?

set of dumbbells

To answer this question, we first need to understand the terms “lifting” and “weight-lifting” and the science behind them. Scientifically speaking, weight lifting is a form of strength training that aims to increase the strength and size of muscles. It mainly focuses on using the force of gravity as a form of resistance in order to put muscles under tension. This tension on them is what grows their fibers. As a result and with regular practice, you slowly become bigger and a lot stronger.

Let’s analyze this scientific definition and see its connection with dumbbells. The major point that you should focus on is the fact that weight-lifting uses gravity in order to put muscles under tension. As long as you lift something heavy against gravity, you’re pretty much achieving the main goal of weight lifting. Whether you’re using dumbbells, barbells, or weight machines, you’re doing weight lifting.

And to put this into better perspective for you, you can even lift heavy water bottles and it’s still going to be considered lifting. All that matters is that you perform the right movements with any type of equipment that you choose. And when I say “the right movements” I mean movements that are against gravity and that can cause a lot of tension to your muscles which can then promote growth.

In other words, anything that is heavy can be considered weight lifting and that includes dumbbells.

Benefits Of Using Dumbbells

buff guy lifting dumbells

If you’re still not convinced that dumbbells can be considered lifting, here are some of the best benefits that they offer compared to other forms of weight training. 

They’re The Best at Activating Muscles

Unlike barbells or weight machines, dumbbells require much more strength and stabilization in order to perform movements correctly. That’s because they’re lifted in each hand so you can’t get away with cheating or using a shortcut. For example, if you do a dumbbell bench press, you’re mainly activating and focusing on the chest muscles and you get the best tension out of it. If you’re doing dumbbell curls, your bicep muscles will do all the work and you’re gonna feel it the most when you compare it with barbells or weight machines. 

In other words, dumbbells are the best at focusing and activating the muscles. 

They Balance The Muscles

During my whole fitness journey, I’ve struggled with one major thing. And that’s the fact that my right arm was significantly stronger than my left one. It’s pretty normal since I’m right-hand dominant but it causes a lot of problems when I’m training. Another reason why this happened is I used to focus a lot on barbells and weight machines that aren’t meant to fix muscle unbalances. In other words, if you’re right side is stronger, you’ll still have the same problem even after using these types of equipment. And that’s when dumbbells come into play. They isolate each side of your body and force them to train individually. I started implementing them two years ago and they work like a charm. My muscles are far from unbalanced by now. 

They Are a Lot Safer

Dumbbells are a lot safer compared to other types of equipment like barbells. To put this into perspective, let’s imagine two scenarios, one where you perform a bench press using a barbell and the other using a dumbbell. You’re at your last repetition and you’re pretty much determined to finish it no matter what but you end up failing. When using a barbell, especially a heavy one, you can easily get stuck under it and you won’t have enough power to lift it since you used it all during your repetitions (especially if you’re alone). However, if you use dumbbells, you can just simply drop them whenever you feel like failing and it’s a much safer option.

They Offer a Better Range of Motion

When you perform a bench press using a barbell for example, the range of movement that you can do is pretty limited since your arms and shoulders are in a fixed position. However, if you use a dumbbell, you’re gonna be able to do the full range of motion which is essential to put muscles under tension. You know that little squeeze that you feel at the end of every repetition of a bench press using dumbbells? You’re not going to feel it using a barbell. And the last squeeze is the most important factor that promotes muscle growth.


If you’re still indecisive about whether or not dumbbells are considered lifting, I hope this article made it more clear for you. They’re absolutely a form of weight lifting and in my opinion, they’re the best that achieve the goal of muscle tension and resistance which can promote growth since they activate muscles, help in fixing any unbalances in them, they’re considered a lot safer than all other types of equipment, and they offer a solid full range of motion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *