dangerous/foolish to try exercising with an "unbalanced" dumbbell?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 10, 2010 4:29 PM GMT
    Okay guys, this question is a combination of "is it normal to do this?" and "am I welcoming injury if I try this?"

    I'm doing P90X, as most of you know, and I have been using two dumbbells for the training. Most recent workout for shoulders and back, they had 10 lbs on them (dumbbell #1 had a 5-pounder on each end, and dumbell #2 had two 2.5-pounders on each end). Still felt the burn, but I was not confident enough yet to go up to 15 pounds (both dumbbell #1 and #2 would have a 7.5 pound plate on each end)... still I believe I could have done more.

    My plan: dumbbells number #1 and #2 would have a 7.5-pound plate on one end and a 5-pound plate on the other, which would make each one twelve pounds, but the weights themselves would be off balance.

    My questions: Am I risking injury or doing the exercise improperly by doing that? Have any of you done something like that before?

    Some feedback would be great... thanks.
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    Jan 10, 2010 4:31 PM GMT
    I have only heard that the dumbell should be balanced. ...and I took their word for it.

    I think it would work some muscle funny, cuz some muscle somewhere is going to have to work to counter the imbalance. And if that muscle is having to work extra, then the target muscle isnt going to be worked properly probably.
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    Jan 10, 2010 4:52 PM GMT
    Keep your weights in balance. Using unbalanced weights can cause the muscle working with the heavier side to over compensate, and the lighter side won't get the same benefits. Also keeping in mind that you don't want to pull yourself out of alignment when doing the muscle work. icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 10, 2010 8:14 PM GMT
    I would keep it balanced, the shoulder is a delicate and extremely intricate muscle.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 10, 2010 8:29 PM GMT
    MagickBoy saidUsing unbalanced weights can cause the muscle working with the heavier side to over compensate, and the lighter side won't get the same benefits.


    You're right... I forgot about that! Thanks!
    In fact, thanks to you all. I am going to just get a couple more plates and balance things out.
  • binario77

    Posts: 9

    Jan 25, 2010 9:33 PM GMT
    I would think there could be advantages in it for certain exercises. If you think about kettle bells the whole point of them is that the weight is slightly off balance to recruit more stabilising muscles.

    Probably not a good idea to use it as a way of progressing in terms of the weight you can lift though as you would need to begin any unbalanced exercises at a lower weight than you were accustomed to in order to train the stabilising muscles.
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    Jan 25, 2010 9:40 PM GMT
    Eat.

    Keep it in balance.

    While there is a bit of science there, most folks just don't need it and the risks are more than the benefits.
  • Melos

    Posts: 264

    Jan 26, 2010 11:06 PM GMT
    As long as the primary risk is that the side with heavier weight will over compensate rather than a substantial chance for injury, why not rotate the dumbbell 180 degrees between sets?

    If you did 4 sets instead of the standard 3, each side would have 2 sets with the heavier portion of the dumbbell.

    Like others said, it may help to target some of those a little harder to reach areas. Besides, we are talking about a 2.5lb difference, not 25 pounds were it is obvious that something could easily go wrong.
  • njnick

    Posts: 167

    Jan 26, 2010 11:14 PM GMT
    If you're doing an exercise where the dumbbells are going to remain vertical the whole time - then it really doesn't matter (hammer curl) - but if either the left or right is heavier than the other, you're definately at risk of pulling something - especially twisting your wrist. You don't need any limp wristed comments....hahah

    When I was doing the program, I really wanted to bowflex dumbbells so I didn't have to have either a ton of dumbbells or have to deal with changing plates in between each exercise but was kinda put off by the high price. Found an alternative called "PowerBlocks". Same concept, but a lot cheaper...I think like almost $200 cheaper. Love em.....