Dumbbell Exercises

September 27, 2021 8 min read

Dumbbell Exercises

Addingdumbbellsto your workout routine is a great way to increase strength and tone muscles. With the right dumbbell exercises, you can target virtually any muscle in your body.

We want to tell you about the best dumbbell exercises for beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercisers. Our versatile list of moves will get your body moving.

Our dumbbell exercises are functional. Some moves focus on specific muscle groups, while others will give you a full-body burn, and even some cardio.

Get ready to curl, row, squat, and press for a healthier and stronger body.

Dumbbell Exercises for Beginners

Bicep Curls

Dumbbell Exercises

Bicep curls are an extremely effective and simple way of optimally activating your bicep muscles and targeting your forearms.

Hold your dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing outward. Curl your arms to bring the dumbbells to your chest, and back down again.

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your shoulders back, and your core engaged. Do not swing the weight with your body.

Bicep curls can be done with both arms simultaneously, one arm at a time, or you can alternate your arms after each rep. If you feel up to it, and want to engage your core, you can turn bicep curls into a seateddumbbell stability ball workout.

Seated dumbbell exercises are great for taking weight off your spine. Bicep curls are one of the easiest and bestseated dumbbell exercises for seniors.

Muscles Targeted

  • Biceps 
  • Forearms  

Lateral Raises

Lateral raises are a simple and effective move for beginners since you don’t need a lot of core strength.

Beginners do not have to go for heavy weights – alight dumbbell workout move like this can work wonders when performed properly. That is why this is one of the most populardumbbell exercises for women and beginners.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand next to your outer thighs. Slowly lift the weights out to the sides until your arms are parallel to the floor before bringing them back to their starting position.

Keep your elbows slightly bent and engage your core to keep your back straight.

Muscles Targeted

  • Shoulder muscles 
  • Triceps

dumbbell workout

Tricep Kickbacks

There are a few ways to do tricep kickbacks, but the safest way to incorporate it into adumbbell workout for beginners would be to use a bench where you can rest one leg and one arm.

Place your knee, shin, and foot on the bench, and bend forward until your upper body is parallel with the floor. Hold the bench with one hand for support.

Hold the dumbbell with your free outside arm and press your arm to your side with a 90-degree bend at the elbow. Straighten your arm backwards until it is parallel to the floor, and bring it back down.

Make sure to contract your triceps when you reach a full extension.

Muscles Targeted

  • Triceps 
  • Forearms 
  • Core

Goblet Squats

dumbbell workouts

Goblet squats are one of the simplest and most effectiveexercises you can do with one dumbbell to strengthen your butt and legs.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a single dumbbell against your chest with both hands. Keep the dumbbell there while you squat.

When you squat, drop your hips below your knees. Make sure that your knees do not reach far over your toes. Drive up through your heels and keep your heels flat throughout the entire goblet squat.

Keep your core engaged, and squeeze your bum when you reach the top of the squat.

Muscles Targeted

  • Quads 
  • Glutes 
  • Hamstrings 
  • Calves 
  • Core 
  • Arms 
  • Delts 
  • Lats

Lunges

Lunges are great for toning your legs and bum, and everyone can do them. Adding dumbbells will make you feel the burn.

hold a dumbbell in each hand as you lunge forward or backwards. When you drop down in your lunge your knees should stay behind your toes.

Lunges can be done in a variety of ways. You can do forward lunges alone or backward lunges alone. You can also alternate between the two, or do a lunge walk if you have enough space.

Muscles Targeted

  • Glutes 
  • Quads 
  • Hamstrings 
  • Calves 
  • Core 
  • Traps 
  • Biceps 
  • Forearms

Calf Raises

Calves bear a lot of impact and body weight – they support you with most fitness moves. Calf raises are one of the most importantdumbbell exercises for cyclists and long-distance runners.

It is very simple. Hold dumbbells in each hand by your side. Push through your toes and raise your heel from the floor to stand on your tippy-toes. Then lower your heels down again.

Muscles Targeted

  • Calves 
  • Shoulders 

Dumbbell Exercises for Intermediate Exercisers

Bent-Over Row

Two-handed bent over rows target several different muscles. Intermediate exercises that master the correct form will feel the burn.

Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Lean forward over your waist, while keeping your spine and neck in a straight line. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang down – your arms will be straight.

Bring the dumbbells up to your chest by pulling your arms up until your elbows are bent 90 degrees and the weights are right next to your hips. Squeeze your shoulders together during this move.  

Lower your arms back down, and repeat.

Muscles Targeted

  • Lats 
  • Biceps 
  • Delts 
  • Forearms 
  • Abs 
  • Obliques

T Press-Up

T press-ups are a variation of a press-up that challenges your core considerably. Take a dumbbell in each hand and get into the press-up position. This should look like the push-up position where your hands are placed directly under your shoulders.

Do a pushup, and once you’ve pushed back up, rotate your torso while lifting one dumbbell from the ground and into the air. This arm should extend fully to the ceiling. This is when your body creates a T shape.

Pause in this T position before rotating back down and into another push-up.

Hex rubber dumbbells will give you the necessary stability in your pushup position.

Muscles Targeted

  • Triceps 
  • Pectoral muscles 
  • Shoulders 
  • Core 
  • Obliques

Arnold Press

Unleash your inner terminator with this functional dumbbell move. The Arnold press engages all three sections of your delts and creates more muscle tension than a normal overhead press.

Start by holding your dumbbells in front of your chest with an underhand grip, as if you are halfway through a bicep curl.

Open your arms up to the side while you rotate your wrists 180 degrees. Without pausing in between, you should press the dumbbells above your head.

The correct form is to keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. Do not let the dumbbells drop lower your shoulders at the bottom of the movement.

Muscles Targeted

  • Delts 
  • Upper chest 
  • Triceps 
  • Biceps 
  • Forearms 
  • Traps 
  • Abs

Split Squat

Split squats might burn, but they are a fast and effective way to feel your quads, hamstrings, and butt work. Your core also works hard to help you keep your balance.

Grab both dumbbells and start by standing upright. Take a big step forward, like you want to go into a lunge. Raise the heel of your back foot and keep your torso straight while you slowly lower yourself to the ground.

Lower yourself until your knees almost touch the floor, or until where you are comfortable, before coming back up again. Complete your reps for one leg before switching to the other.

The split squat can be adumbbell and barbell workout. Split squats done with a barbell is also a great variation of the exercise.

Muscles Targeted

  • Quads 
  • Hamstrings 
  • Glutes 
  • Calves 
  • Core

Dumbbell Exercises for Advanced Exercisers

Bulgarian Split Squat

exercises with dumbbells

A Bulgarian split squat that is done with dumbbells is the mother of all split squats – even the fitness fundis will tell you that it burns. You need two dumbbells and a bench for this one.

Grab a dumbbell in both hands and turn your back to the bench. Lift and extend one leg back so that the top of your foot rests on the bench. This means that one leg is on the floor, while one leg rests on the bench.

Bend the leg that is on the floor to lower yourself down until your rear leg almost touches the floor. Return to your standing position and repeat.

This move is best done by completing the reps for one leg before moving on to your other leg. Do not let your front knee go over your front toes.

Muscles Targeted

  • Glutes 
  • Quads 
  • Hamstrings

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

While the single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) is an effective and functional movement, it will challenge your balance and strength.

Choose lighter weights than you would for a standard two-footed RDL. Hold a dumbbell in both hands and begin upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Lift one foot from the ground and raise that leg behind you as you bend and lean forward at your hips. For counterbalance, lower the weights to the floor.

Keep your knee slightly bent in this position and make sure that your hips, spine, and neck maintain a straight line.

In this position, with your leg in the air behind you, you should feel the tension in the hamstring of the leg that is planted on the ground. Once you feel this hamstring stretch, come back to a standing position. You still have to keep your spine straight.

Muscles Targeted

  • Hamstrings 
  • Glutes 
  • Abs 
  • Obliques 
  • Traps 
  • Lats 
  • Biceps 
  • Forearms

Dumbbell Push Jerk

dumbbells workouts

As with any jerk variation, it is important to maintain the correct form to prevent injuries to your spine or lower back. This is because you use your hips and legs to create the momentum that jerks your dumbbells upward.

With a dumbbell push jerk, you create momentum with your legs and hips to push the dumbbells up past your head. When you bring the dumbbells back down you dip for a second time to ease the load.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Rest the dumbbells on your shoulders with your elbows slightly in front of your body. Dip down into a semi-squat to drive from your legs and hips to punch your arms upward and lift the dumbbells over your head.

Now your legs and arms are fully extended with the dumbbells above your head. Hold the dumbbells securely before lowering back down again into a semi-squat position. From here you will drive the dumbbells upward again, and so on.

Muscles Targeted

  • Shoulders 
  • Quads 
  • Glutes 
  • Calves 
  • Triceps 
  • Obliques

Devil Press

The devil press is the ultimate full-body smasher. This functional move is a hybrid between a dumbbell burpee and a dumbbell snatch. It is adumbbell cardio workout on its own – which is why it is best left until near the end of your workout.

With a dumbbell in each hand, you will do a dumbbell burpee and a dumbbell snatch at the top of the rep.

Begin with your dumbbells on the ground and do a burpee where your chest touches the floor. Complete the burpee by jumping to your feet into a squat position.

In this squat position is when you swing the dumbbells back between your legs before jerking them upwards to perform the dumbbell snatch.

When you snatch the dumbbells overhead you will straighten your legs out of the squat position. Use the momentum from swinging the dumbbells. This is the end of one rep, and your hips, knees, arms, and shoulders should be locked.  

Muscles Targeted

  • Full body  

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