Dumbbells for Beginners

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

This week has been all about introducing you to equipment that you can use for resistance training and showing you some exercises to get you started. There’s no need to be intimidated out of not exercising! 

Today is dumbbells. Probably one of the most easily accessible tools as you’ll find them in every gym and can be picked up at your local department store or online for use at home. Some thoughts here on dumbbells:

1. You don’t have to use super heavy weights for your workout with dumbbells to be effective. 

2. Don’t be afraid to use different size weights for different exercises – all muscles are not the same!

3. Use light weights and higher reps to build strength to move on to heavier weights with less reps.

If dumbbells are new to you, here are some great exercises to get you started:

1. Upright Row

a. Stand with feet about hip width apart and your arms straight down in front of you with your palms facing your body

b. Exhale and raise your arms up so that they are close to parallel with the ground somewhere between your boobs and your chin

c. Be sure to keep your elbows higher than your wrists

d. Slowly lower to the starting position

e. Repeat 10-15 times

2. Triceps Extension

a. Stand with feet hip width apart and interlace your fingers around one end of a dumbbell

b. Raise your arms straight above your head with your palms facing forward and the weight dropping down towards your back

c. Lower the weight as far down your back as you can and exhale to return to the starting position

d. Repeat 10-12 times

3. Sumo Squat

a. Stand with feet wider than shoulder width and your toes slightly pointed out, holding a dumbbell in each hand

b. Slowly sink down into a squat, keeping your arms straight and tracking your knees in the same direction as your toes

c. Exhale and return to the starting position

d. Repeat 12-15 times

4. Lateral Lunge

a. Begin with feet about hip width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand

b. Step out to the left and sink down into a lunge, keeping your right leg straight and one arm on either side of your left leg

c. Exhale and push through your heel to return to the starting position

d. Repeat 10-12 times on each side

5. Russian Twist

a. Start in a seated position with heels on the floor, holding an end of one dumbbell in your hands

b. Slowly lower your torso until you feel your abs engage

c. Twist the dumbbell side to side, engaging your obliques

d. To make the move more difficult, raise your feet off the floor

e. Repeat 20-30 times

6. Standing Weighted Twist

a. Stand with feet hip width apart holding a dumbbell in front of you, one end in each hand

b. Keeping your hips facing forward, inhale and slowly twist, moving your dumbbell to the right

c. Exhale and return to the starting position

d. Repeat 10-12 times on each side

These exercises are a great place to start and build on as a foundation for using dumbbells for your resistance training. If you find one move particularly difficult, use one of the modifications suggested to build strength until you can perform the movement in that harder variation. There’s nothing wrong with modification! 

Grab a set of dumbbells and give these a try this weekend!

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