Have you just purchased your first dumbbell set and are looking for the best dumbbell workouts? Whatever your situation, our Head Personal Trainer Laszlo Baritz is disclosing his top 7 dumbbell workouts. And if you are wondering why you should trust him, it’s because he’s a world champion bodybuilder!
Why use dumbbells?
There isn’t a better, more fully adaptable weight to use in the home like a pair of dumbbells. The home dumbbell workout can help isolate muscle groups and improve strength imbalances. An imbalance is where one side of the body is weaker than the other. Holding separate weights allows you to see where you may be compensating for either arm or leg.
Things to consider
Lifting heavy weights isn’t a sign of machismo. Quite often you see big men in gyms wobbling or rocking in order to lift heavy dumbbells. This is a classic sign of overextending and can cause injuries in the arm, back and hamstrings.
When considering a suitable weight, keep in mind that you want to be able to lift it but be challenged and hold good solid form without strain or overcompensation. Understand that and you are off to a great start. Now for those highly recommended exercises.
My 7 best dumbbell workouts x 12 reps
1. Box squat with shoulder press
The box squat replicates the same movement as a bodyweight squat. However, with this full-body dumbbell workout you will need your dumbbells and a bench or chair.
To start, legs shoulder-width apart, bend down and pick up your weights, using your legs to take the weight stand to full height. Turn your dumbbells into the chest so that the back of your hand faces away from the body.
Then slowly squat to the chair or the bench and stand, as your legs straighten, push the dumbbells up over your head twisting your hands out so that your palms face away from the body and return to the squat.
2. Bent over rows with dumbbells 3 x 14 reps
The dumbbell bent-over row is a fantastic way to work multiple muscle groups in a single exercise. This great dumbbell back workout works the lats and the lower traps for middle and upper back exercises. A great upper body exercise mixing upright row and a held biceps curl.
Again to start, legs should be shoulder-width apart. Then bend down and pick up your weights using your legs to take the weight stand to full height. Then push your hips back and lean forward bending the knees to a 45-degree angle.
With the weights fully extended in your hands in front of you, pull the dumbbells into your waist squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Then slowly release and return to the original position.
3. Reverse lunges 3 x 14 reps
Reverse lunges are a great dumbbell leg exercise targeting the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. They also work the core, therefore this is an excellent all-round workout.
As always to start, legs should be shoulder-width apart. Then bend down and pick up your weights using your legs to take the weight stand to full height. Then holding the dumbbells at your side, palms facing the legs. Take a big step back and squat to the knee, creating the lunge and return to your starting position
4. Lateral raises 4 x 16 reps
The lateral raise is a great dumbbell chest workout as it mainly focuses on the lateral deltoid. This is the middle part of the deltoid muscle. However, you also engage the anterior and posterior deltoid muscles. In addition to these muscles, you engage the muscles in your shoulders and under your arms.
As you know by now, to start, legs should be shoulder-width apart. Then bend down and pick up your weights using your legs to take the weight stand to full height. With a dumbbell in each hand, palm facing your legs simultaneously raise each arm. Bend the arms as you lift the weights to shoulder height and return to the starting position.
5. Front squats reps
The front squat work the quads and upper back. This is a great dumbbell leg exercise as it builds leg strength. The exercises that engage the larger muscle groups also help with weight loss.
To start, set yourself legs shoulder-width apart weights in hand. Set the dumbbells at your chest close together so the weight slightly rests on top of your pectoral or chest muscle. Keeping your elbows in at your sides, slowly sink to a squat position. Take the weight in your heels not the balls of your feet or on your toes. Straighten your legs to stand and repeat.
6. Stiff leg deadlift
The stiff leg deadlift is a superb dumbbell exercise to do at home or in the gym. Working to strengthen the core, glutes, hip flexors and the middle and upper back. A perfect all-round dumbbell body exercise.
To set yourself for this exercise, stand weights in hand feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the weights in front of you with your palms facing your legs. Push your hips back and allow your arms to drop in front of you. Keep your bum back and your back flat allowing the weight to drop to the knee. Then slowly return to your standing position.
7. Floor press 4 x 15 reps
Our final dumbbell exercise is the floor press. A version of the traditional bench press and great exercise for the chest even if you don’t have a bench at home. The perfect triceps workout with dumbbells exercises. It’s also a great dumbbell arm workout at the same time.
Position yourself flat on your back knees bent dumbbells in hand. From a wide grip position, elbows wide on the floor in line with your chest. Raise the dumbbells simultaneously together above the chest and bring them together at the top arms straight. Then in a controlled manner, return to the starting position and repeat.
Great dumbbell workouts
So there it is Laszlo’s top dumbbell workouts that cover the major muscle groups. A sequence easily repeated at home or in the gym. There is obviously a range of exercises that you can complete with dumbbells but master these first. Then you can add new exercises to mix it up.
Delta Fitness is a specialist personal training gym in Canary Wharf London and Laszlo is both a world champion bodybuilder and fitness model. As a qualified personal trainer of over 8 years and certified nutritionist, he is well-positioned to give the right advice.
These exercises are his favourites, but for a more tailored consultation, he offers them free here. Feel free to check out our other videos on youtube here and of course read our blog. Our last post was focused on an all-around workout doable in the home.