What are the benefits for using cables opposed to using dumbells? Would it be better for my BJJ training to use cables instead?
As far as I know there are no real benefits to using cables over dumbells, unless maybe you are into bodybuilding.
The only thing I could think of is that you can use cables to work muscles from different angles that you might not be able to with dumbells. But I'm not sure thats enough of a reason to recommend them.
Just my opinions of course.
I'd try to use free weights for most of your training. Cable stuff is less applicable as your usually isolating the muscle groups.
As far as I can see, the only advantage to using cables over
DBs is that with cables the rate of resistance remains
constant throughout the entire range of motion.
In something like a DB biceps curl, the amount of resistance
changes as the DB moves in different angles in relation to
the pull of gravity. At the top of the movement, the DB is
barely moving against gravity, so the work done by the
biceps lessens and the exercise becomes more of an
isometric contraction of the anterior head of the deltoid.
With a cable biceps curl, because the weight stack is moving
straight up and down all the time, you are theoretically
getting the same amount of resistance for your biceps
throughout the entire range of motion.
Of course, there are many other benefits to using free
weights that in my mind outweigh the use of cables for most
The only exercises that I really do on cable machines are
more total body exercises; things like two-arm wood
choppers (both up and down), rotation with a one-arm press,
and rotation with a one-arm pull.
You can go to absolute failure with cable much more safely than with DBs on alot of exercises. Also negatives are easier to do with cables when you are working alone.
"At the top of the movement, the DB is barely moving against gravity, so the work done by the biceps lessens and the exercise becomes more of an isometric contraction of the anterior head of the deltoid."
lol, are you sure about that? Wouldn't the anterior head of the deltoid be in isometric contraction though out the entire movement?
"are you sure about that?"
The DB doesn't move much against gravity for roughly the
last 25% of the movement. The angle against gravity
becomes more and more obtuse until it is nearly a right
The amount of involvement of the anterior head of the deltoid
depends on the amount that you flex the shoulder joint. If
you keep your elbow pinned to your side, then, no, the
shoulder isn't doing much, except maybe to stabilize the
shoulder girdle. If you flex your shoulder somewhat as you
perform the curl, then at the top of the motion the anterior
head of the deltoid holds the shoulder in that position. When
I do a DB curl I usually end up with my upper arm at roughly
a 30% angle relative to the torso, so I'd say yes, there is
some work being done the by shoulder to hold the arm there.
The reason for flexing the shoulder as you curl is that both
heads of the biceps can contribute to shoulder flexion as
both heads originate on the scapula and cross the shoulder
they secure the pump
I keep my pump in a shed :P