Barbell in Home Gym - How Important vs Dumbbells?

How important is the barbell in a home gym?

I really want some quick-change dumbbells, probably PowerBlock. They offer a bar that works with their dumbbells. Unfortunately, the max weight is only 125 lbs. Plus, the bar is too short to use on a bench rack.

Is there an advantage in doing bench presses with a bar, as opposed to with dumbbells?

Are there important exercises that I cannot do without a barbell? What about squats and deadlifts, for example? Can I do those with dumbbells? If not, are there dumbbell substitutes for these exercises?

Depends on your goals. You will not get strong with only 125lbs.

^ Right. The 125 lb barbell is out.

PowerBlock has some dumbbells that go up to 90 lbs, each, and are expandable beyond that. What I'm wondering is, can I get a good workout in with JUST the dumbbells, or do I NEED a barbell?

If I need a barbell, I would have to buy weights for it, because I really want the adjustable dumbbells. I prefer to just go with the dumbbells, if that's all I really need.

you cant really squat heavy with db.

Ya sure, you could go with the dumbells.

...If you want to plateau in 6 months, peek and never get stronger, and die a week old man.

Listen kids, the barbell and the power rack are the two most useful pieces of equipment somebody could ever need. If you learn how to properly do the lifts using perfect form the gains will never stop coming.Football players use the barbell to get strong.Older people use the barbell to improve posture.

Take the time to learn how to squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press. its well worth it

Hmmm... I'm going to rethink this, then.

I originally wanted quick-change dumbbells, because it takes me too long to change weight between sets. Right now, I have the screw type, so that might be part of the problem. I think the "butterfly" clamps would be faster. This would still take longer than moving a pin, but it may be worth the tradeoff for a barbell.

The other option would be to buy the quick-change dumbells AND a barbell and weights. That's a lot of money, though.

 It truly depends on what your goals are.

If you're after absolute strength, then you're not going to ever beat a barbell with a bench and power rack.  DBs only go so heavy.

However, to say that you can't get strong, conditioned, and in shape with just DBs is just plain stupid.  Try performing a complex of OH press, weighted chins, rows, snatch, and swings - all for 6-8 reps back to back - with say a pair of 75-80 lbs. DBs.  Repeat 5x.

You do that, and you're gonna be one in shape mofo, I don't care who the fuck you think you are.

You can also get creative with your DB work.  For example, for leg strength, since you can't go heavy as you would with barbell squats, do a lot of single-leg work, to include lunge walks, reverse lunges, step ups, and split squats. Toss in box jumps, natural GHRs, and swings, and you're still gonna have one powerful lower body.

However, if you're gonna drop the $$ on something like powerblocks, you could easily build your own DB handles and buy all the plates you'd ever need from wal-mart, craigslist, or the classifieds.  With the extra $$ you'd have left over, you could likely get a barbell and plates, with the addition of a quality power rack and bench (watch craigslist for this stuff) to be next.

Wiggy -

Strength is relative. A guy who can lift a 50 pound db is stronger than a person can only lift a 35 pounder. Db's are great for strength and conditioining. I don't have lots of room and for safety can't bench. I do floor press's and weighted push up's. Ive gotten stronger just doing that. I also have a lot of plates and bars. I hit yard sales, Goodwill stores and even junk yards. I have hardly spent a penny on eqiupment.

A 300lb barbell set > 180lb dumbbell set

A barbell is just way more versatile and all you to handle much more weight on the basics (squat, deadlift, clean, press). You can also dial in the loads for metabolic work when you need to.

Unilateral work can be great too, but you can always use bw excercies for that stuff (pistols, 1-arm pushups, etc.).

All you need is chin-up bar and you have a pretty complete no-frills home gym.