Dumbbells? Workouts? Why?

Everyone always says they want to get in shape but claim that they don’t have time to make it to the gym. Full home gyms are expensive and take up a lot of room, but do you know what doesn’t take up a lot of space while being able to give you effective full body workouts?

No, not that nonsense resistance glass or other ‘modern’ equipment that you mount on a wall. Something about an electronic weight system anchored to a wall with nothing more than screws doesn’t seem like the best course of action.

Dumbbells! Old trusty doesn’t take up very little space and is incredibly versatile. I used them quite extensively during the lockdown shenanigans of 2020 when people who never workout decided to close gyms.

I’m guessing you are looking for dumbbell workouts if you are reading this, but first why are dumbbells so great?

  1. Awesome Strength: Working out with dumbbells is effective. Dumbbells are free weights that mimic natural movement and are one of the oldest types of gym equipment available. If ancient people could curl rocks al day every day while working to survive, you can do it for 30 minutes a day.
  2. Space Savers: Dumbbells are tiny powerhouses that don’t take up much space! And, unlike other equipment, you don’t need a lot of room to use them either. You can legitimately get a full workout in on your living room floor if you want to.
  3. Time Saver: Training with dumbbells is quick. You don’t need to get in your car and drive to the gym if you have them at home, and because they come in pre-built weight intervals you don’t need to adjust them as you move through sets or exercises. Just pick up a different set and go.

Advantages of Dumbbell Workouts

What other advantages do dumbbells have? Let’s expand out a bit from what I already talked about.

Dumbbells wear Many Hats

Dumbbells are incredibly versatile. You can literally use them in any way for any muscle and as often as you want. Whether you want to pump up your biceps, carve out your core, strengthen your shoulders, or challenge your chest muscles, dumbbells can do it all. A good set of dumbbells are legitimately a mini gym.

The Budget’s New Best Friend – Dumbbells

Are you worried that building muscle and staying in shape will punch a hole in your pocket? Every piece of gym equipment worth having are going to cost something and dumbbells are no exception. What you can do to help reduce the cost of them is to purchase adjustable dumbbells that you can modify the weight of. These options are much cheaper than buying an entire rack of individual sets while still getting multiple sets of varying weights. You can find them on Amazon or at any sporting goods store that sells fitness equipment.

Dumbbells, whether single sets or adjustable sets, come in intervals of 5lbs usually, and you can find them up to 120+lbs at most gyms.

Natural movement + heavy weights + Versatility = gains.

Dual-Purpose Champions: Dumbbells

You’re not only getting a versatile resistance training, but dual-function exercise equipment! They can be used for both, resistance training and cardio. A full fitness regimen with minimal equipment is definitely not a bad thing. After you finish a push-pull superset, take them for a ride with weighted burpees or farmers walk them up the stairs. You’ll elevate that workout in no time and see why they are among the best equipment you can have on hand.

Need some help?

Shape Success, Live Exceptionally

Hit that button, and get started today.

Choosing the Right Dumbbell Weight

That’s all cool and dandy, but how do you choose the right weight? After all, too heavy and you risk injury and too light means you get nothing out of it. Turns out, that’s fairly easy.

Importance of Selecting the Appropriate Weight

Picking the right dumbbell weight will make sure:

  • Your workouts feel like a fun challenge, not a struggle
  • You generally avoid getting injured
  • You’ll see the best results from your exercise

Plus, with the right weight you will avoid burnouts and loss of motivation. Mental defeat is worse than physical defeat, so we really want to make sure that we don’t do that. Picking up just the right amount of challenge will keep you invested and growing without mentally draining yourself.

Guidelines for Choosing a Starting Weight

Here are some quick guidelines to gauge the weight you use based on a few different workout goals:

  • Maximum power exercises use weight you can lift 1-5 times.
  • Hypertrophy exercises use weights you can lift 6-12 times.
  • Endurance exercises use weights you can move sometime in the area of 12-20 reps.

But, what about when adding in dumbbells for cardio? That’s a bit trickier. Adding in weighted cardio should almost always be started off very lightly. An extra 5-10 pounds for an untrained individual. You’d be shocked at how effective that small amount of weight can be.

Here are some tips on finding the right dumbbell weight to begin with:

  1. Lighter is better: Start with a lighter weight than you think you’ll need. It’s easier to lift more later on as you adjust than to risk hurting yourself.
  2. Test your strength: Try lifting a weight you think you can manage. It should be a bit hard, but not impossible. Again, adhere to the guidelines about max power, hypertrophy, and endurance.
  3. Count your reps: Aim for doing 10-15 reps of an exercise without breaking a sweat. If you can’t reach that goal, try a lighter weight. If it’s too easy, bump it up a bit.

Progressive Overload: Tips on How to Increase Weight Over Time

You’ll want to keep getting stronger by lifting heavier over time. Check out these tips:

  • Slow and steady: Increase weight in small increments, like 1-2 pounds at a time. Professional bodybuilders and powerlifters might only add 2-5lbs a month on some of their heavier lifts. Granted, when you are lifting 500/600/700 pounds 2-5lbs isn’t a lot, but small progress is what they get. Follow the champs leads. You don’t need to do 20+lbs more each lift.
  • Patience is key: Only increase weight when you can easily do 12-15 reps with the current weight.
  • Track your progress: Keep a workout journal or use a fitness app to log your weights and reps.

Your muscles grow when you challenge them, so don’t be afraid to step up your game!

Warm-Up and Safety Considerations

The Power of Warming Up

Before you dive in with those dumbbell workouts, it’s crucial to warm-up just like it is for any other workout. Warming up prepares your body for the work you are about to do. It gets your heart pumping, increases your body temperature, and wakes up your muscles. Everything gets prepped, limber, and warm so you can move those weights effectively and (hopefully) without injury.

Aim for a good 10-minute warmup plus some dynamic stretching to get going.

Simple Warm-Up Exercises to Get You Ready

Here are some pretty simple warm-up exercises to get you ready for your dumbbell workout after you do 10 minutes or so of a slow jog or other dynamic movements to get the blood flowing. Adjust if you want and add in anything else you need.

  • Jumping jacks: These are easy! Your gym teacher used them because they work. They get your heart rate up and your blood flowing.
  • Arm circles: Reach out your arms to your sides and make small circles. It will prepare your arm and shoulder muscles for lifting.
  • Walking lunges: This exercise warms up your leg muscles, getting you ready to squat, lunge, and more!

Safety Tips and Tricks for Acing Your Workout

Here are some useful safety tips for your workout after you get going:

  • Always use good posture: Just like sitting up straight at your desk, lifting weights requires good posture. Bad posture breeds injury. Keep the back straight, core engaged, and muscles moving in the direction they should.
  • Don’t rush: Exercise is not a race. Take your time to do each exercise properly and breathe out when you lift the weight. In fact, tempo is important. If you want to know more about exercise tempo, read: THIS
  • Listen to your body: If something doesn’t feel right, stop immediately. It’s like your body’s warning system telling you to be careful.

Different Dumbbell Workout Routines to Level Up

Depending on your goals, you will want to do different workouts tailored to those goals. Here are some ideas for home dumbbell workouts that don’t take up a lot of space.

Full-Body Routine

Full body routines are great for beginners. They aim to hit every major muscle group in one go around and usually only need 2-3 sessions per week.

Toss these into a full body session, warm up properly, rest for 1 minute between sets, and follow a good cool down routine. If you get fancy, you can superset the curls with extensions of the chest press with bent over rows. Makes it more difficult while saving a bit of time.

  • Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Bent Over Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Floor Press: 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per arm.
  • Tricep Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps per arm.

Upper-Body Routine

Upper body splits work to strengthen your upper body (obviously), such as chest, back, shoulders, and arms.

Any muscle group should be worked 2-3x a week, so plan your split appropriately. Aim for 45s – 1 min of rest in between sets and pick 2-3 exercises per muscle group. Supersets also apply here and can be used to take any workout to a different level.

Some upper body dumbbell exercises include:

  • Chest Press: 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Bent Over Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • One Arm Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Upright Rows: 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Arnold Press: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per arm.
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 12 reps.

Lower-Body Routine

To be balanced, you need to work legs. No one wants to look like a chicken, so don’t neglect them. Legs can be done 2-3x a week as well, so build a schedule appropriately with the knowledge that legs are sore 2 days afterwards, not the usual day after you get with other muscles.

Legs are tougher than upper body and can hurt more, so a bit longer rest period is acceptable here. Shoot for 1.5mins per rest period. Feel free to superset if you are feeling brave.

Some lower body movements you can do with dumbbells include:

  • Goblet Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps.
  • Reverse Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps per leg.
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  • Calf Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps.
  • Side Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps per leg.
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 sets of 12 reps per leg.
  • Glute Bridges: 3 sets of 15 reps.

Tips for Maximizing Results

Want to maximize your results from home dumbbell workouts? Here are some tricks.

Tag-Team with Strength Training and Cardio

Combine strength training with cardio. You can do both with a dumbbell and you absolutely should stack them, especially if you are short on equipment and working out from home. The combined 1-2 punch will keep your heart rate elevated and give you a fantastic challenge that will produce a lot of gains.

So how do you add cardio to your workout?

  • Embark on brisk walks: Go for a dumbbell ruck. Pack a pair into a sturdy backpack and huff it around your neighborhood. Rucking is gaining a lot of traction these days and a lot more people are doing it, so you (probably) won’t be the weirdo walking your neighborhood with a weighted backpack.
  • Hop on a treadmill: If you have a treadmill, use it! It’s a fantastic tool to get your heart rate up, especially when the weather isn’t cooperative. Carry some dumbbells with you to make it a little bit harder. The heavier they are, the harder the walk becomes.
  • HIIT: High intensity interval training works. Stack the dumbbells into some sort of high intensity cardio between lifting sets. Add in a few weighted burpees or Olympic lifts, swapping your rest period for a cardio period. Workouts get shorter, but much more intense. If you want to read about HIIT, read: THIS or THIS

The Power of Good Nutrition

No fitness article is complete without a mention of diet and nutrition. It is the fuel we all need to keep going, and without it our progress will stop.

  • Eat a balanced diet: Try to eat a good assortment of fruits and veggies every day, along with lean proteins and whole grains. The closer to nature a food source is, the better.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water. Hydration shuffles nutrients to your cells helping them grow/repair and moves toxins out of your body.
  • Avoid junk food: They may look tempting, but remember the empty calories they all come with stacked alongside all the chemicals they contain/are processed with.
  • Eat what you need: Eat the amount of calories you need for your goal. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Protein: Protein is the building blocks of life. Without enough protein you might get a bit stronger but your muscles will not grow. They will not recover. And you will eventually stagnate and go backwards.

Nutrition is what makes the entire process fall into place. If you want to know more about how to EAT ENOUGH and what to focus on, click: HERE

Consistency is Key

Any goal in life needs something most people lack: Consistency. If you only workout occasionally or fall off your diet for long periods of time, you won’t make it very far. You need to make this a priority. Calories, protein, movement, hydration, sleep. All are necessary all of the time. Build them into your schedule.

  • Set a workout schedule: Build some time into your calendar for working out. Put it at the same time every day for convenience, plan for 1.5 hrs between prep, warm ups, actual exercise, and then cool downs / shower. Putting it in your calendar can help you actually do it, but you do need to put in the mental power to actually put in the work.
  • Stay flexible: If you aren’t feeling it for the day, adjust. Do NOT skip the workout unless you are injured or truly sick, but swap up what you are doing. Change the routine. Do some extra/a little less cardio. Add in a different type of exercise. Adjust the weights being used. Just do the work. Build a healthy habit. Working out at home is convenient, but it is also easy to slide out of the program. The TV and couch is right there, after all.

You Did It! Let’s Recap and Celebrate

Key Points to Remember

Before we say goodbye, let’s review all the amazing power-ups we’ve picked up during our fitness quest!

  1. Finding the perfect dumbbell weight: Start light, test your strength, and then slowly level up.
  2. Warming up and safety: Mario always stretches before he jumps on Goombas, and you should too! Try simple exercises like jumping jacks, arm circles, and walking lunges.
  3. Maximizing your results: Be an all-around fitness champ by combining strength training with cardio, fueling your body with good nutrition, and staying consistent in your workouts.

Keep Going, Fitness Superstar!

You’ve got all the tools you need for a successful home workout journey! Keep pushing forward and chasing your goals, no matter how tough the challenge may seem. Remember:

  • You’re stronger than you think!
  • Your determination and commitment will power you through any obstacle.
  • There’s no limit to what you can achieve when you believe in yourself.

Final Tips on Your Fitness Expedition

As our epic adventure comes to a close, take these final tidbits to keep you soaring on the fitness path:

  • Variety is the spice of life: Change up your workouts to prevent boredom and keep things interesting.
  • Share with friends: Fitness is more fun when you have buddies cheering you on and helping to keep you accountable.
  • Celebrate every victory: Whether it’s adding extra weight or just perfecting your form, recognize your achievements and keep smiling!

And with that, your fitness journey goes on! Keep up the fantastic work, and remember that you have the power to conquer any challenge. Now go forth, fearless fitness warrior, and create the ultimate success story! You’ve got this! 💪🎉

Let Us help You Out

At CONDITIONerd we are here to help you achieve better physical and mental health through exercise. Check out the plans we offer to our customers and see if you could benefit from working with our team. And if you have questions, you can always contact a CONDITIONerd team member

Personal trainers, like those found here, can help guide you on your pathway towards reaching your fitness goals, whether that is getting bigger, stronger, faster, more lean, or just generally feeling better.

We can get you setup with a periodized workout plan, supplement information, and advice on nutrition to help you reach your goals.

The only thing you need is some motivation and a willingness to change some old habits.

Get into contact with us to find out what membership is right for you. In a CONDITIONerd program, you’ll be surrounded by others who can help you to get where you want to be.

Generally, our clients start to see some pretty awesome changes in 2-3 months time, some sooner.

0/5 (0 Reviews)
Scroll to Top