I love dumbbell exercises. There is something unique about a dumbbell compared to a barbell. You are still lifting the heavy iron but with the ability for a slightly adjusted range of motion due to independent hand motion. In addition your body has to deal with using both sides of the body equally during the lift along with balance. How can you not love using dumbbells?
But when looking at dumbbell exercises, some are better than others for gaining strength. While many people use dumbbells for isolation exercises, they are also great for doing big compound movements. So let’s look at some of the best dumbbell exercises to help gain strength.
Top 3 Dumbbell Exercises
These are not just standard exercises. The beauty of the dumbbell is versatility so we make sure to take that into consideration when looking at exercises that build strength.
Dumbbell Uppercut – This is an incredible exercise that works your upper body in a variety of ways. The core, hips, shoulders are all getting a serious workout from this movement. You do want to use heavy dumbbells and use your whole body to drive the weight. It is similar to a boxing movement but not meant as boxing training.
You start in a shoulder-width stance with the knees slightly bent and dumbbells held at shoulder height with your palms facing your head. Use your right hand to start pressing the weight overhead. At the same time rotate your right hip around, pivoting on your right toes and use that added motion as you drive the weight up to a spot over where your left shoulder was. It is like throwing a punch at the ceiling instead of in-front of you. Then turn to the left and press with the left arm. For heavier weight you can drop your legs a bit more as you start the motion for additional momentum to press.
Dumbbell Jerk and Press – This is a great whole body workout that adds size to a lot of muscle groups and builds strength in multiple areas. Hold a heavy pair of dumbbells at your side and stand with a shoulder-width stance and knees slightly bent. Drop your hips down and lower into a 3/4 squat and extend upwards while starting a hammer curl with both arms, using momentum to get the dumbbells to shoulder height. Again drop your hips and push up with your legs, while your press the weight overhead. Slowly reverse the motion to get the dumbbells back down to your waist.
The idea is to use your hips and quads for added momentum to lift a heavier weight a bit more easily and stress the biceps and shoulders. Your core and back are also in play during stabilization and you obtain some explosive work.
Goblet Squat – Squats are always great strength builders. Doing a goblet squat adds an extra dimension in the use of the arms, chest, and shoulders in the way you hold the weight. Grab a dumbbell and hold the top bell with both hands so it rests on your palms and the length runs between your forearms. Assume a normal squat stance. Squat down and back making sure the knees don’t travel over the toes. Your elbows should stay between your knees on the way down. Keep the back flat and core tight then when the thighs get to parallel explode back up to a standing position.
Try them and I am sure you will agree that these are three great dumbbell exercises for building strength.