Dumbbells are the most accessible free weights, so they are the first ones that most people try, either in the gym or as part of a home workout. They are also among the most versatile weights that you can use, and even if you normally indulge in the barbell to cope with large lifts like squats, deadlifts and bench presses, there are many reasons to make sure you also have time for the barbell find exercises.
"If you use a barbell your weaker side can drive easily," says Ant Nyman, ambassador of PT and Multipower. "You can move the weight predominantly with your stronger side, ie one side always stays behind. Using dumbbells eliminates this problem because each side has to work individually, so you can develop power and size equally on both sides.
"The unstable nature of holding dumbbells also makes your stabilizer muscles work hard to stay stable while you perform the movement. Without realizing it, you will strengthen your core and other stabilizer muscles, which can help prevent injury.
Here are some of Nyman's most popular beginner, intermediate, and advanced dumbbell exercises, as well as some of our own.
Beginner Dumbbell Exercises
Stand in each hand with a dumbbell next to the outer thighs. Keep your back straight and slowly lift the weights to the sides until your arms are parallel to the ground. Her elbows should be slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to their original position.
"Lateral elevations target the medial (outer) head of the deltoid," says Nyman. "You do not need a lot of nuclear power to do the movement, so it's good for beginners.
" Imagine holding a bucket in each hand. When you extend your arms sideways, tilt the buckets as if pouring the contents so that your thumbs are pointing to the floor. This will ensure that you hit the medial head instead of over-developing the front delt.
Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, and place your palms outward. Wrap the dumbbells slowly to the chest and back again.
"Stick your elbows to your sides," says Nyman. "The minute your elbow comes up, shift the emphasis off your biceps to your shoulders.
" If you're a beginner, you can lift heavy weights. With biceps curls, you do not have to worry because it's not about getting heavy, it's about lengthening and shortening the muscle feeling. You can change the grip to aim at different heads of the muscle, but for beginners I recommend using a supinated handle – the palms face up.
Hold dumbbells by your sides, take a big step forward and lower your body until both knees are bent 90 °. Then push up through the front leg and return to the starting position.
"Working on the legs is essential for many reasons, such as building strength, muscles, and burning calories," says Nyman. "But if you're a beginner, the idea of putting yourself under heavy weight for a series of squats can be intimidating. So grab a pair of dumbbells instead and pull yourself down. This is a great way to resist your legs and strengthen your buttocks work without worrying that they are in a heap under the squat frame.
Lying on a flat bench, with your feet on the floor and the dumbbells on top, your chest is almost straight, the palms face each other, slowly lower them to the sides, and then bring them back over Your chest should have your arms flexing slightly throughout.
"Doing breast pectorals is a great way to insulate the chest," says Nyman. "Most oppressive chest movements will help the shoulders and triceps, but in flies the focus is kept exclusively on the chest.
"Exaggerate the arch in your lower back, which will help maintain tension on the chest as opposed to the shoulders."
"Using dumbbells to bend rows is a great way to make sure you develop both sides of your upper back evenly," says Nyman.
"Think of Donald Duck – extend your butt and make sure you maintain the natural curvature in your lumbar spine (lower back)."
A dumbbell rudder is a fiery little movement – literally because you feel the burn in a post of various muscles. It's also a great way to build up to the Dumbbell Rule and iron out any imbalances of strength.
Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height with the palms facing forward. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your toes should be slightly outward.
Squat slowly, then explode and push the dumbbells over your head so that your arms are outstretched. Work on doing the action from the bottom of the Squat One move – it should not be a squat move followed by a high pressure press.
Everyone Starts To think that they are the terminator after some good lift-up sessions, here is a train the Terminator himself has made famous. The Arnold Press works on all three areas of your deltoid – or machine gun stabilizers, as we are sure that the Austrian oak refers to them – and keeps your muscles under tension longer than a conventional overhead press.
Hold dumbbells in front of the chest with an underhand grip as if you were right through a bicep curl. Open your arms and turn your wrists 180 °. Then push the dumbbells over your head without pausing.
Advanced Dumbbell Exercises