It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the dumbbells are the most efficient yet the most underrated gym gear. We’d go as far as to say that they are less preferred compared to barbells.
The huge variety of weights and diverse exercises offered by the dumbbells challenges your strength like no other, helping you shed off excess fat and build stronger muscle mass.
In this article, we will talk about everything related to dumbbells, so you can appreciate the unlimited benefits they offer, incorporate the dumbbell workouts in your regime, and make the best choice when it comes to buying a pair for yourself.
If you’ve ever been to a gym, you must have seen rows upon rows featuring dumbbells of various weights and sizes. Dumbbells are two cast-iron weights attached with a steel rod.
They’re available in a large variety of shapes, colors, and weights, making for an ideal gym gear for everyone, from beginners to professionals allowing you to challenge your full body strength with a variety of workouts.
The dumbbells are available in two major variations, fixed and adjustable weights. Fixed dumbbells are what you’ll find stacked in gyms. In contrast, the adjustable dumbbells are a single pair of weights in which you can increase the resistance by adding in more weights and are highly recommended and suitable for home gyms because of their compact design.
How Do You Use Dumbbells?
Dumbbells are versatile gym gear used by beginners and professionals because of their unlimited benefits such as free range of movement, comfort, ease of use, etc., (more on that ahead).
For using the dumbbells, all you need to do is pick them up with the handles off of the weight rack and start with any exercise you like, be it training your upper arms by doing bicep curls or triceps extension or training your chest and abs by doing chest fly or glute bridges.
The dumbbells will help you train your full body and build bigger muscles by isolating and challenging the strength like no other gym gear.
Why Use Dumbbells?
Here are some of the unlimited benefits that are offered by Dumbbells:
1. Enhanced Muscle Stabilization
This is because using a dumbbell means no added support as it allows you to enjoy a free range of motion requiring greater stabilization of arms and muscles to perform any exercise.
2. Increased Muscle Activation
Have you ever noticed how your abdominal muscles feel tightened when you’re training your triceps or biceps?
This is because when using the dumbbells to target a particular muscle, the body engages various muscles to balance the weights and stabilize the body, so you can have a controlled yet free range of motion.
3. Increased Range of Motion
Have you ever heard how big muscles are associated with greater strength?
According to research, an individual needs to have a greater range of motion to gain greater muscles. This is because, with an increased range of motion, you can actually impact the right muscles and gain strength as well and not just the size.
For example, when you’re doing a bicep curl with a dumbbell, the biceps will be most activated when you lower your arms and not while lifting and feeling the pump. So, the lower you’ll be able to go, the greater the impact on your biceps there will be.
The same goes for the dumbbell rows, the more range of motion you have, the greater the impact.
4. Improved Bone Health
One of the many benefits of lifting dumbbells during your everyday workout regime is that your bone grows thicker.
That’s right, the isolated exercises allowing free range of motion help you to grow your bones thicker, leading to reduced risks of bone fractures. This specific benefit makes the dumbbells an even more ideal gym gear for seniors because all you need for better bone health is a basic dumbbell workout regardless of the number of weights you lift.
Exercises Using Dumbbells
Now that you’re convinced about using dumbbells and are looking for exercises, here are a few workouts explained for you to incorporate into your everyday regime.
1. Bench Press
- Lie back on a bench and hold dumbbells in both hands
- Bend each arm till your shoulder with palms facing upward
- Fully extend your arms upwards as you press the weights over your chest
- Make sure you don’t touch the weights to one another
- Return to your original position slowly, with weights down just past shoulder level
- Repeat the exercise for 8-12 reps
2. Bicep Curl
- Standing in an upright position, hold a dumbbell in each hand
- Hanging your arms by your sides, keep your elbows by your torso with palms facing outwards
- Curl the weights upward to shoulder level without moving your upper arms at all
- Slowly return the hands to the original position
- Repeat for 8-10 reps
3. Shoulder Press
- Standing straight, hold a pair of dumbbells in both hands
- Keeping the dumbbells at shoulder level, slightly bend your arms, with palms facing each other
- Extend your arm upwards and twist your wrists as you go so that your palms are facing forward when you reach the top
- Hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower the weights down to the original position
- Repeat for 6-10 reps per set
4. One Arm Swing
- Hold a dumbbell between your legs with one hand, keeping it at arm’s length, and assume a squat position
- Swing the dumbbell upwards through your legs till your forehead level, keeping your arms straight
- Slowly return to the original position and repeat with the other arm
- Perform 6-8 reps per arm
- Standing straight, hold a dumbbell in each hand
- Keeping hands facing the side and palms facing inward, and your feet opened less than shoulder-width apart
- Take a long step forward with your right leg, bending at the knee without touching the ground
- Return to the starting position as you exhale and repeat the steps on the left leg
- Perform 8-12 reps per leg
6. Standing Calf Raises
- Holding the dumbbells in each hand, stand up straight with feet opened shoulder-width apart
- Hang your arms straight and keep your shoulders relaxed
- Lift both feet until you’re standing on your toes, feeling the tension on your toes
- Return to your heels and repeat the exercise for 12-15 reps
7. Glute Bridges
- Lie back-down on a mat and bend your knees, keeping feet flat on the floor, right under your knees
- Grab a relatively heavy (20 pounds or so) dumbbell and place it on top of your lower abs, holding it in place with both hands
- Lift your hips toward, flexing your abs and glutes along the way
- Hold at the top for three seconds and slowly return to the original position
- Repeat for 10-12 reps
8. Triceps Extension
- Stand upright and hold a single dumbbell in both hands, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your core tight.
- Fully extend your arms and raise the dumbbell over your head with palms facing upward.
- Bend your arms at the elbows and engage your triceps as you slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head
- Return to the starting position by raising it at the top
- Repeat the exercise for 8-12 reps
Buying the Perfect Dumbbells
Before you go on buying your set of dumbbells, here are a few things that you must keep in your mind.
Fixed or Adjustable
First and foremost, see where you’re going to be using the dumbbells. If it is for home, you will have to go for adjustable dumbbells because not only are they compact, but they come with a case to store them and a wide range of weights to increase the intensity.
If you’re to buy a dumbbell set for commercial purposes, you must go with the fixed dumbbells because you will have space there as well, and multiple individuals can use the dumbbells for training as per their choices at the same time.
Next comes the dumbbell shapes. The dumbbells come in two different shapes that are round and hexagonal. The round dumbbells are comfortable given that they have no edges and can be used without hurting your hands.
Whereas the hexagonal dumbbells give you a firm grip when holding from the top for one arm swing, and they do not roll over anywhere when kept on the floor. So it is basically what suits your needs and what you prioritize more.
Third on the list is the material the dumbbells are made of. A good dumbbell will have cast-iron weights attached to a steel rod, ensuring long life and sustainable weights.
Ideal Dumbbell Measurements
Lastly, you have to make sure that the dumbbells are long enough for you to grab them easily.
The dumbbells by DMoose have a 5.1 inches long rod with 1.1 inches diameter or thickness so you can hold them easily and comfortably. The weight’s size should be 2.3 inches for an ideal lift, making the total length of a dumbbell to be 9 inches.
Reading this article will surely get you looking for a pair for yourself. They are efficient, effective, and highly versatile gym gear that is not credited enough for the qualities and benefits they have to offer.
Whether you buy adjustable dumbbells or fixed dumbbells, make sure you have your priorities set to buy the best set of dumbbells that suits your needs and enjoy the freedom of movement with bigger gains.
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- Stastny, Petr, et al. ‘Does the Dumbbell-Carrying Position Change the Muscle Activity in Split Squats and Walking Lunges?’ Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 29, no. 11, Nov. 2015, pp. 3177–87. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000000976.
- Sangwan, Sangeeta, et al. ‘Characteristics of Stabilizer Muscles: A Systematic Review’. Physiotherapy Canada, vol. 66, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 348–58. press (Atypon), https://doi.org/10.3138/ptc.2013-51.