Dumbbell Exercises

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Here are some great exercises using dumbbells. I have sectioned them into the muscle groups worked and finished with a core and compound exercise. In each of the exercises I have given a suggested weight in brackets for beginners to the exercise, you can adjust this amount to suit your strength and fitness by trial and error. Please note your body is symmetrical and we want to keep it that way, so if you do an exercise on your right hand side (or with your right arm or leg) you need to complete the exercise on the left hand side (with your left arm or leg). As before I’d like you to complete three times twelve repetitions.




To begin stand with your left knee on a bench, then stabilise yourself with your left hand holding the your knee or the bench. Grasp the dumbbell in your right hand. Hold this arm so that your shoulder to elbow of the arm are horizontal. Extend this arm until it is straight. Return to start and repeat.





Take up the Front Raise position holding two dumbbells on your thighs, palms facing out, arms straight. With your elbows to the side, raise one dumbbell until your palm nearly touches your shoulder. Lower to the starting position before repeating with the opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides.





Hold a dumbbell on either shoulder with your elbows vertically below your wrists. Push the dumbbells upward (both at the same time) until your arms are fully extended overhead. Lower back to your shoulders under control and repeat.






Now hold your dumbbells with your palms facing your hips. Slightly bend your knees to take the pressure off your back and bend over, through hips with your back flat close to the horizontal. Let the dumbbells dangle, and position your elbows with slight bend, palms still facing together. Raise the dumbbells up until your elbows are shoulder height. Try and keep your upper arms perpendicular to your torso with the slight bend in the elbows throughout the exercise, and keep your elbows above your wrists.



Hold the light dumbbels in front of your thighs again with your elbows slightly bent, palms facing hips. Slightly bend your knees to take the pressure off your back. Raise your arms at your sides until your elbows are shoulder height. Lower and Repeat as above.





Front Raise exercise stand as above however this time place the weights on the front of your thigh not the side of the thigh, and instead of raising the dumbbells to the side, now raise the dumbbells out in front of your body to shoulder level.





Rear Raise exercise again as above but this time raise the weights behind your trunk, you will not be able to raise the weights up as high as in the other raise exercises.







Hold the dumbbells as for the Front Raise. When ready pull the dumbbells up to the front of your shoulder with your elbows leading, out to sides, and above your wrists. The raise is finished when your wrists are in front, or just below, your shoulders and your elbows pointing to the side.







Stand with dumbbells held as for the Lateral Raise. Squat down, as though you were going to sit down, by bending your hips back whilst allowing your knees to bend forward, keeping your back straight and your knees directly over your feet. Descend until your thighs are almost but not quite parallel to the floor. Return to the start of the exercise by standing up; keep an equal distribution of weight through forefoot and heel.


LUNGE (2k)

Stand as for Lateral Side Raise. Take a step forward with your left leg whilst holding your right foot stationary (this is known as the lunge movement). Lower your body by bending your knee until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground. Step back to your original standing position. Repeat by the lunge with your other leg. This is the first set.




Progression 2: hold one dumbbell in both hands, at chest level. As you lunge raise the dumbbell in front of you and above your head. Return the dumbbell to your chest before stepping back.





Progression 3: hold the dumbbell as for Progression 2 . As you lunge push the dumbbell out in front of you then internally rotate it (to the side which leg has remained behind). Return dumbbell to your chest before stepping back to your starting position.







Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Hold a heavy dumbbell with your arm straight to your side. Now bend from your waist lowering the dumbbell, you should feel a stretch on the opposing side. Remember to think of a plate of glass touching your back and another one touching your stomach, stopping you leaning forwards or backwards. Return the dumbbell back to the starting position. By using only one dumbbell there is no counterbalance to make the exercise easier.




Lie on your back on a Swiss Ball or bench, shoulder blades and head on top of the ball, your hips pushed up as high as you can, your knees bent at 90 degrees hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting on your chest. Push the dumbbells straight up until your arms are fully extended, then slowly lower them back down after a short pause. Breathe out while pushing and breathe in while returning to starting position, keeping your hips pushed upwards all through the exercise.


FLY (2k)

Lie on your back as above. Push the dumbbells up, this time keeping your elbows slightly bent, slowly lower the dumbbells down until they are parallel with the floor. Pull them back to the starting point, dumbbells resting on your chest. Breathe out whilst pulling the dumbbells in and up and breathe in whilst returning to the horizontal.




I love compound exercises. This are one that combine more than one muscle group. This is my favourite to use with a dumbbell. Only one dumbbell is used forcing your body to counteract the weight, which strengthens the core. Arms, legs, back, and shoulders are all utilised in this exercise.

Stand holding a single dumbbell at your hip, palm facing inwards, perform the following parts of the exercise in one fluid motion.






Lower the weight slowly to the floor as in the Squat exercise. Return to starting position.







Now performing a Bicep Curl to raise the dumbbell to your shoulder. Keep your palm facing inward and perform a Military Press to finish with your arm fully extended.






Slowly lower the dumbbell to your shoulder, then return it back to the starting position at your hip..