One great thing about dumbbell workouts is you most likely have a few pairs lying around the house. If you don’t, you can most likely find a set that will give you great return on your less than $5 investment at a rummage sale or second-hand store.
Taking another look at these little weights and how they can help you achieve some fitness goals is a wise move.
Dumbbells Offer Versatility
Avera Personal Trainer Colin Frommelt, BA, CPT-CSCS, said dumbbells are a smart workout tool because they offer a wide range of exercises, allow for more natural movements and also do not take up much space. That’s why you might have some in your home already.
“They also provide a nice unilateral training that makes sure you work your right side as hard as the left,” Frommelt said. “If you’re working with ones that are not that heavy, you also have a safety factor that you won’t get with a heavier barbell.”
Frommelt recommends starting with some basics. Dumbbells are great for arm exercises like curls, which work the biceps, as well as extensions, which work the triceps. They are great for those who want to get going, too. “Dumbbells can be used to work any muscle group in the body, which makes them super effective,” he said.
“They do have a few drawbacks in that increasing resistance can be tricky, unless you have a big set of them. They also are usually lightweight – between 3-10 pounds – so if you’re looking for power workouts, you might not find them with dumbbells,” Frommelt said. “But you can use those lighter dumbbells and get started. It’s always rewarding to work to the point where you need more resistance.”
For most beginners, a set of 5-pound dumbbells will produce some results.
1) Skull Crusher: Using two dumbbells, lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift one dumbbell in each hand and raise arms above your chest. Extend but do not lock elbows, then bring weights down to rest on the ground on either side of your head. Look to do 10-15 exercises to make up one set, and then aim to complete 2-3 sets of this exercise.
2) Upright Row: Stand with your feet hip distance apart, holding one weight in either hand. Your palms should be facing your body, and then raise the dumbbells, keeping them close to your body, until they reach your shoulders, with your elbows out to the side. Slowly lower them to the starting position, and try to do two sets of 15 repetitions.
3) Stationary Lunge: Dumbbells are not just for your upper body. Using them to add resistance as you reach out with one leg, and then drop your rear knee, as if you were lunging, can shape and build leg muscles. You can add toe-raises to a set of lunges, or walking to your lunge workout, to make this exercise even more versatile.
Frommelt said the versatile, inexpensive dumbbell’s role in fitness is only limited by one’s imagination.
“Give them a try – they are easy to add as a simple exercise you can do in the office or during a commercial – the effort will pay off,” Frommelt said. “If you look down and see them, they are a good visual reminder to get moving, too.”