Dumbbell Exercises

23rd January 2020
Here's a list of some essential dumbbell routines. Start training with them today!

Dumbbells are some of the most popular pieces of equipment for fitness lovers. Still, if you’re starting out, you might not be sure what the best exercises are. Here we’re going to give you a list of the best exercises for this piece of equipment. These dumbbell exercises can help tone and maintain the shape of your arm muscles.

No doubt dumbbells make up the basis of strength training. It’s true that gyms these days have a very wide selection of machines. Nevertheless, many people still prefer to work out with dumbbells.

That’s because, among other benefits, the mere act of holding the weights helps your muscles. Specifically, it ensures that stabilizer muscles have to work hard to keep stability while you perform the exercises.

As you probably know, it’s not always necessary to go to a gym to train with dumbbells. In fact, more and more people are training at home. There are even those who buy a complete set for their personal use.

That’s why you can do most of these exercises at home. Beyond that, there’s one more element that you can’t do without, a weight bench. If you don’t have one yet, we recommend that you keep one in mind. Maybe put it on your wish list!

1. Bench press

This first of our dumbbell exercises is a chest exercise that’s a popular one among weight lifters. It’s as simple as it is effective. The bench press allows you to progress and increase your weight and intensity just a few weeks after getting started with it. Of course, good technique is one of the keys to preventing any type of injury.

A man doing dumbbell presses.

In order to do this exercise, you’ll have to place your back on the bench while you hold the dumbbells on your chest. From that position, you raise the weights using your chest muscles. Repeat this movement until you’ve done the number of reps you desire. We recommend you change up the inclination of the bench in order to work the whole muscle group.

2. Lateral raises

You start lateral raises standing up while holding one dumbbell in each hand. Keep your back straight and slowly lift the weights toward the roof. Do this until your arms are parallel with the ground.

A woman doing lateral raises.

Your elbows should be slightly bent. Then you have to lower the weights slowly back to the initial position. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to use a lot of core strength to complete the movement.

3. Bicep curls – dumbbell exercises for biceps

A woman doing dumbbell exercises for her biceps.

This exercise is a classic. It’s simple but challenging and helps to build your biceps. In order to do it, you have to start on your feet. Hold the weights in both hands and alternate each arm during the repetitions.

Start with your feet separated at shoulder-width and your biceps at your sides. Keeping your elbows still, elevate the weights up to shoulder-level. While doing so, turn the palms toward the roof. Keep your back still and your abdominal muscles contracted. Be sure not to move your back to help yourself complete the reps.

4. Weighted lunges – dumbbell exercises for the legs

As you well know, working your legs is important for many reasons. Among other things, it increases your strength, works your muscles, and burns many calories. If you want to tone and strength your leg muscles, lunges with dumbbells are among the best exercises.

A woman doing weighted lunges.

In order to include dumbbells in such a basic exercise as the lunge, you have to hold them in both hands first. After that, you take a big step forward. As you do, you lower your body until both knees are bent. Then you push upward with the front leg in order to come to your initial position.

On a final note, don’t forget that you can modify these dumbbell exercises. You can do so by including variants or even other exercises. However you choose to go about it, we’re sure that these are an excellent starting point. That’s especially true if you’re just getting started with weight training. They can help you exercise effectively at the gym or even at home. We’re sure you won’t regret trying them out!

  • Saeterbakken, A. H., & Fimland, M. S. (2012). Muscle activity of the core during bilateral, unilateral, seated and standing resistance exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112(5), 1671–1678. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2141-7
  • Stastny, P., Lehnert, M., Zaatar, A. M. Z., Svoboda, Z., & Xaverova, Z. (2015). Does the dumbbell-carrying position change the muscle activity in split squats and walking lunges? Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(11), 3177–3187. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000976
  • Oliveira, L. F., Matta, T. T., Alves, D. S., Garcia, M. A. C., & Vieira, T. M. M. (2009). Effect of the shoulder position on the biceps brachii EMG in different dumbbell curls. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 8(1), 24–29.