Dumbbells are a great alternative to lifting weights with barbells. Implementing dumbbells in your workout routine is significant for building strength and forcing you to enhance your stabilizers muscles. This list consists of 10 easy-to-do exercises that utilizes dumbbells and develops different major muscles groups for a full body workout. Additionally, these exercises will let you know if there is any imbalance between the left and right side of your body.
Note: If you don’t have dumbbells, I suggest getting the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbell set. You can adjust the weight of the dumbbells anywhere from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds. That way, you can incrementally work your way up in weights and don’t fill your home with a bunch of dumbbells of varying weights.
1. Chest Press
The chest press is a fundamental strength building exercise that works the chest, shoulders and triceps.The picture above shows the starting position. Be mindful about contracting your chest together as you push the weights towards the ceiling. Your arms should be fully extended at the top position and then return back to the beginning.
2. Dumbbell Overhead Pull Over
This is a great upper body workout that builds yours chest, engages your lats, develops your triceps and works on your shoulder mobility. To begin, position the dumbbell above the middle of your chest with both arms fully extended. Your goal is to move this dumbbell behind your head and then return it back to the starting position. This objective requires you to bend your elbows during this movement and bring back the dumbbell in a controlled manner as indicated in the picture.
3. Chest Fly
Another exercise that could be completed with a pair of dumbbells and a flat bench is the chest fly. Simply position yourself like the first image. Next, lower the dumbbells in an outward motion as far as you can comfortably. Your elbows should be bending marginally during the movement. Afterwards, reverse the previous step and bring the dumbbells back to the starting point for a complete repetition.
4. Tricep Kickback
The tricep kickback is an isolation exercise that targets the tricep muscle fibers. Find a flat bench and situate your body like the person in the image above. Your humerus, bone from your shoulder to your elbow, needs to be aligned parallel to your upper body. The forearm should be the only part of your body that is moving during this exercise. To start, your arm should be bent in a bicep curling position. Next, contract your tricep muscles to perform a “kick back” motion with the dumbbell. The image exhibits the end position.
5. Standing Tricep Extension
This exercise is an alternative to the tricep kickback. As you stand with your feet placed shoulder width apart, hold the dumbbell directly above your head with both arms fully extended. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the end position shown in the image and then flex your tricep muscles to bring the dumbbell back above your head.
6. Shoulder Press
Use this simple exercise to build strong shoulders. Find yourself a seat with back support and position yourself as shown in the image. Push the dumbbells towards the ceiling until your arms are fully extended and shoulder width apart. Bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position to complete your repetition. For additional difficulty and engagement of stabilizer muscles, try this exercise standing up.
7. Lateral Raise
This dumbbell exercises focuses on making your lateral deltoid muscles stronger and also helps improve your shoulder mobility. Begin by holding the dumbbells at your side and feet placed shoulder width apart. Keep your arm fully extended as you lift the dumbbells to the position shown in the image. Afterwards, bring the dumbbells back down to your sides in a slow and controlled manner.
8. Dumbbell Row
The dumbbell row exercise strengthens your bicep and back muscles. Your body’s starting position is the same as the tricep kickback. However, this row exercise begins with your arm relax and hanging perpendicular to the ground. With the dumbbell in a neutral grip, pull your elbow backward to bring the dumbbell further away from the ground and closer to your body. Continue this motion until your humerus is aligned parallel to your body. Afterwards, slowly lower the dumbbell back down.
9. Concentration Curl
The concentration curl is a popular exercise for isolating and developing the biceps. Find a chair to sit on and then rest your elbow on your thigh. Begin by having your arm be relax and fully extended. A repetition consists of curling the dumbbell until your biceps cannot contract any further and then return it back to the beginning position.
10. Dumbbell Lunge
Lunges are extremely important for building up your leg muscle groups while also activating your core and stabilizer muscles. Lunges with dumbbells are recommended to any individuals who wants to increase the difficulty in their leg workout routine. Keep the pair of dumbbells by your side as you take a step forward and perform the lunge motion. Return back to the beginning position and proceed to alternate between each leg.
Again, if you do not have dumbbells and are serious about getting stronger, I suggest getting the Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbell set (pictured below).