Dumbbells are a simple, yet extremely effective piece of equipment. They should be a staple of any home gym and of course conventional gyms typically have a great selection. However they are just simple tools.
It is what you do with them that count.
Of course not all dumbbell exercises are created equal. Some just work better than anything else whether it is a barbell or machine. These core exercises should be included in your routine if you want to maximize your muscle potential.
Top Dumbbell Exercises
- Incline Dumbbell Curls – These are a fantastic biceps exercise that works the length of the muscle and gets a phenomenal stretch in as well. Set a bench to a 30 or 45 degree angle. Lie back holding a pair of dumbbells with palms facing forward and let the arms hang straight down. Then from their simply curl the weight.
- Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extensions – These are actually better than using a barbell because you can get a superior stretch. Lie on a flat or incline bench and hold the dumbbells straight overhead, palms facing each other. Slowly lower the weight down toward your head, but let them travel on either side until they are fully stretched, and then extend back to lock-out.
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Row – Done properly, this exercise targets the back, arms, as well as the core. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in a slightly staggered stance (one foot further forward). Hold the dumbbell to the side with the leg forward and rest your other hand on your thigh for balance as you bend forward at the waist. Keep the core tight as you row.
- Dumbbell One-Arm Snatch – This exercise is really popular with people who use a Kettlebell but it is a great exercise for the dumbbell too. It works explosive power and stability. Start in an athletic stance with a relatively light dumbbell in one hand, hanging down in-front of you. Keep your lower back slightly arched then dip down with the knees and the hips, letting the dumbbell swing between your thighs. Then extend your legs and hips while swinging the dumbbell up in an arc to shoulder height. Let the dumbbell drop back down to the starting position and repeat.
- Dumbbell Push Press – The shoulder press is a great exercise. Standing up and adding your legs to the motion will make it even better. You can use more weight than normal and your hips get a workout. Use a slight dip into a 3/4 squat and press up to get the movement going and then press the dumbbells up to an almost locked-out position before letting them go back down.
- Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press – This exercise is very difficult because it makes your body work on stabilizing while also pressing. Use a pair of dumbbells lighter than normal and assume the pressing position but simply press one arm at a time. The other arm should be straight up and will help keep your body balanced.
These are six of the best dumbbell exercises out there that certainly can’t be replicated with a barbell or machine. Work them into your routine and enjoy the results they will give you!