Dumbbell Workouts – A Complete Beginners Guide

When you picture a piece of gym equipment that’s known for getting results in building muscles and toning the body, dumbbells are the first thing you see. These weights are an extremely popular weapon of choice for anyone wanting an effective all-over workout that can be adjusted to suit each individual.

Dumbbells are a type of free weight, consisting of a metal bar with a weight at each end and are commonly used in pairs or on their own. They come in a variety of sizes to meet different skill levels and can be incorporated into any workout routine to target all of your muscle groups.

Working out with dumbbells comes with a huge range of benefits to the individual, with everything from a toned physique to a convenient workout being offered. No matter which area of the body you’re looking to strengthen, there’s a great dumbbell exercise out there to guarantee results.

Depending on your workout needs, there’s likely to be the perfect set of dumbbells for you. With the right pair of dumbbells in your home gym equipment set and the correct form behind your lifts, you’ll be able to enjoy these benefits too and improve your physique out of sight.

Benefits Of Dumbbell Workouts

Just like any exercise, there are some amazing benefits to be had when you perform dumbbell workouts. Because you can use these tools on any part of your body, there are specific benefits to each area as well as overall ones for your entire body.

Benefits Of Dumbbell Workouts


Having a quality adjustable dumbbell set in your home gym is one of the most affordable pieces of equipment you can own. Considering how much use you can get out of them, the return on investment with dumbbells is amazing.

Easy To Use

Performing dumbbell exercise is extremely easy, provided you learn the correct form before you attempt anything. They’re great for beginners up to experts as they can be adjusted to suit different strengths, making them extremely versatile.

All-Over Workout

Dumbbell workouts can be constructed to target your entire body, so for those wanting just one piece of equipment that will work for everything then adjustable dumbbells are the ideal choice.

Muscle Building

The biggest benefit to using dumbbells and the main reason for their popularity is their ability to build muscle. The Center for Disease Control recommends using dumbbells in resistance training with cardio exercise for the most effective way to build muscle.

Weight Loss

While most people assume cardio is the only way to lose weight, for the fastest results you should also incorporate dumbbells for aerobic exercise. This means you’re strengthening muscle and increasing your heart rate for more calories burned.

Dumbbell Workouts For Your Entire Body

One of the best features of dumbbells is that there’s an exercise for every muscle group. Whether you’re looking to build up your arms, legs, or chest, you have a variety of dumbbell exercises at your disposal to help get you there.

dumbbell workout in gym

A dumbbell chest workout generally targets two main areas which are the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. When you work these muscles you’ll find that eventually, you have a more toned chest area with defined pecs, so it’s a hugely popular area for bodybuilders to target.

Performing arm workouts with dumbbells is also popular, and you can work with both the upper and lower muscle groups. Popular dumbbell workouts for your arms include rows, which build muscle mass quickly and effectively. These moves can be used to tone and strengthen your arms, but also bulk them up depending on your fitness goals.

Finally, back workouts with dumbbells might not seem like an important area to target but they’re essential to ensure you don’t just focus on your front. Many of the popular moves work your back muscles as well as other important groups, such as rows and presses, so try to incorporate those to ensure your back receives a good workout too.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

With a dumbbell in each hand, sit in an upright position and then rest each one on your thigh upright. One at a time, lift the dumbbells up to shoulder height for a starting position. Exhale and push the dumbbells up so that they touch at the top and then hold there for a few seconds. Slowly lower the weights back down as you exhale.

dumbbell shoulder press workout

Dumbbell Deadlift

Hold the dumbbells at your side and at arm’s length away from your body and feet shoulder width apart. With your knees still, bend your waist and lower the dumbbells over your feet.

dumbbell deadlift workout

Continue to move forward in a motion that mimics picking something up from the floor so that you stretch your hamstring. Straighten your torso to return to the top for a completed move.

Dumbbell Squat

A dumbbell squat is a simple way to add some more resistance to this traditional exercise and is great for your legs and glutes. With your feet at shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand, lower yourself down into a squat.

dumbbell squat workout

Be sure to keep your head up straight and looking forward. Push back up with the heel of your foot and return to the standing position.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Another workout that targets your chest, this move is great for those looking to increase the set of your pecs. Begin by laying back on a bench and change the angle of the backrest to 45 degrees.

dumbbell bench press workout

With a dumbbell in each hand, lift them up over your chest with your arms straight and palms facing your feet. Lower the dumbbells back down to your chest level and push them back up to the top.

A 30 Minute Dumbbell Workout

If you only have 30 minutes to spend in your home gym and want to target your entire body, this is a great workout from Men’s Fitness that allows you to hit all of the major muscle groups within half an hour. Ensure you have a rest day after completing this sequence to give yourself time to recover.

Floor Press – Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Start laying on your back and rest your triceps on the floor. Keep your elbows close to your sides with your wrists facing each other and push the weights straight up.

Renegade Row – Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Start in a pushup position with a dumbbell in each hand. Place your weight on one side and row your right handed dumbbell to your right side. Switch sides and repeat.

Goblet Squat – Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Using just one dumbbell, hold the tool by one end with both hands. Have your feet wide apart and pointed outwards at a 45-degree angle. Perform a deep squat as you hold the weight into your chest and return to the top.

Single-Leg Deadlift – Sets: 3 Reps: 8

Put two dumbbells on the floor in front of you, stand on your right leg and lift the left behind you. As you lift the weight, stand up straight and extend your hips so you’re standing on the support leg.

One-Arm Push Press – Sets: 3 Reps: 15

Hold the dumbbell in your left hand at shoulder level. Bend your knees and then push the weight up overhead explosively. Repeat on the other side.

One-Arm Bent Over Row – Sets: 3 Reps: 15

With a dumbbell in each hand step forward with your right leg. Bend at your hips so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle from the floor and row your weight to one side. Continue on the other side.

One-Arm Swing – Sets: 5 Reps: 20

Start with an athletic stance and a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and hips, letting the weight hang between your legs. Explosively extend your hips and knees so that the weight swings up to your eye level.

Get Up Situp – Sets: 2 Reps: 5

Laying on the floor, place a dumbbell in between your feet. Hold the other dumbbell  up and over your chest, and then do a situp as you move the weight overhead. Repeat on both sides.

Here you can watch one similar 30-minutes dumbbell workout:

Tips For Improving Your Dumbbell Workout Technique

When working out in any style, you should always take time and attention to ensure that your technique is correct before you proceed. Considering how common injuries are from exercising, it’s crucial to have the right form for working out, especially when using weights and resistance training as you do with dumbbell workouts.

Relax Yourself

One of the most common mistakes people make when working out with dumbbells is being too tense through the moves. Ensure that you’re focused on the exercise at hand and use only those muscles to engage. For example, during a triceps move don't tense your shoulders as it can create strain and cause injury.

Control The Movement

Although many workouts rely on us getting a good momentum and allowing our body to swing with the moves, working out with dumbbells requires a more controlled approach. You should always control the movement completely with dumbbells, and never just let them swing without thought.

Change Your Weights

Some people think it’s okay to just have one set of dumbbells for all of their moves, but this leads to an ineffective workout and injuries too. With an adjustable dumbbell set, you can change the weights according to what area you’re working out and your own fitness level.

Finding A Quality Dumbbell Set

With so many dumbbell sets on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for your home gym. To get the many amazing benefits of working out with dumbbells, you should ensure that your dumbbell set has the following features.

Quality Dumbbell Set


The comfort and material of your handles will be crucial to how you work out, so you need these to be just right. Something heavy duty such as chrome is ideal, and with a textured surface that allows you to have a stable and comfortable grip at all times.


Unless you’re looking to spend a phenomenal amount of money, an adjustable dumbbell set is best. This means you can remove and replace the weights to suit your next exercise. Although it may take a little longer than having the weights ready, these are best for a home gym where you have limited space to use.

Weight Sizes

A quality dumbbell set should come with a few different weight plates available. These plates should offer you a variety of weights so that you can use them for different exercises and increase the weights as your strength improves.


Just as with most pieces of home gym equipment, there’s quite a varying range in prices for dumbbell sets. Although this isn’t an area you want to skimp on, there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars for quality. Aim for around $100 for an adjustable dumbbell set that is sure to last for years.

Dumbbells – A Truly Versatile Tool

If you’re looking for a piece of gym equipment for home that can improve your strength and muscle tone, dumbbells are the only choice. A quality set of dumbbells in your home gym means you can incorporate strength training in with your cardio for faster and more effective results in the comfort of your own personal space.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a challenge, there are thousands of exercises you can perform with dumbbells. It’s just a matter of perfecting your form and creating a routine that works on the muscle groups you want to target most.

Dumbbell workouts are ideal for beginners through to professionals, and because you can adjust the weights and intensity of your exercise you’ll never become bored with these handy tools. No home gym should be without a pair of dumbbells, giving you a simple and affordable way to target every important muscle group in your body.