Weimar, Sport Biomechanics Lab, analyze new type of dumbbell

March 14, 2017


Participant in Dumbbell StudyProfessor Wendi Weimar, Ph.D., in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University’s College of Education, was awarded around $10,000 to conduct research on the efficacy of a new dumbbell design. The DB2 dumbbell has two handles with the weight located in the center, rather than having one handle in the middle and weight distributed on each side like a traditional dumbbell. The purpose of the project was to compare the DB2 dumbbell to kettlebells, dumbbells, and a barbell during a bicep curl and front raise exercise.

Weimar and her lab tested ten male and six female subjects aged 19-35 that are active and have some experience with resistance training. In pre-testing, the researchers measured the participants’ maximal isometric contractile force for a biceps curl and front raise to normalize the data across participants.

The testing involved subjects performing a biceps curl and a front raise with two regular dumbbells, two kettlebells, one kettlebell with two hands, a barbell with two hands, and the DB2 dumbbell. Weimar and her graduate students used motion capture to analyze angular velocity and acceleration of elbow and shoulder flexion. EMG was also used to measure subjects’ muscle contraction during the concentric (up motion) and eccentric (lowering motion) portions of the lifts. Lastly, the researchers gathered data on ground reaction force using force-plates.

“Nobody has studied this before,” said Weimar. “It sounds simple, but this is one of the first studies to compare various types of weight training devices.”

Doctoral students Christopher Wilburn, Lorraine Smallwood, Brandi Decoux, Portia Williams, Michael Kitchens, Lauren Brewer, and Nicholas Moore all contributed to the data collection and analysis.

What they found is the following:

  • For the Biceps Curl, the ground reaction forces generated while using the DB2 and the barbell produced the greatest load compared to the other devices. This means that the DB2 required the participant to push into the ground harder (theoretically to stabilize themselves) than regular dumbbells, individually held kettlebells, and a single kettlebell.
  • For the Biceps Curl, the EMG of the trunk extensors was greatest for the single kettlebell condition, but the DB2 was significantly larger than the barbell, traditional dumbbell, and individually held kettlebells during the concentric and eccentric portions of the lift.

This would suggest that when compared to the traditional lifting devices the DB2 required more from the trunk extensor “stabilization” muscles.

“I believe that the greatest thing that the device provides is a unique carrying condition that provides the lifter the option of performing different, more multiplane motions, such as paddling,” says Weimar. “It allows for different movements and new exercises that a traditional dumbbell or barbell may not.”

The paper detailing the study and its findings is in the process of publication. The Sport Biomechanics Lab may conduct additional studies in the future analyzing different lifts or exercises using the DB2.

According to the DB2 website, the patented two-handled, center weight design of the DB2 allows for a wide range of exercises for a total body workout. This “next generation dumbbell” is created by Center Weight Industries, LLC in Jacksonville, Florida.