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Dumbbell Exercises

What exactly are dumbbell exercises?  For that matter, what exactly are dumbbells?

Well, a dumbbell, not to be confused with the slang term you may use for some people, is a piece of weight training equipment and is considered a type of free weight.

These weights help provide additional resistance which helps build lean muscle mass, in other words, strengthening exercises.

This type of workout can be done at home or at the gym.

Dumbbell Exercise Videos

There are several videos you can use as a guide to perform strengthening exercises using dumbbells. These videos are divided into two series. The first is for the upper body and the second is for the lower body.

Use the links below to start these workouts. Keep ready further to learn more about this type of workout and the benefits.

The upper body series includes the following videos. To start from the beginning and perform all exercises, visit the upper body dumbbell videos series page.

With the lower body dumbbell series you will find many exercises that tone the legs, hips, calves and more.

To do all the moves in this one, go to the lower body dumbbell workout page. This series has a total of 8 exercises.

Type of Dumbbells and Dumbbell Exercises

Types of Dumbbells

There are two basic types of dumbbells;

1) Adjustable dumbbells and 2) Fixed Weight Dumbbells.

The adjustable dumbbells, as the name indicates, can be adjusted to be heavier or lighter.  It has a metal bar where weight can be added or removed.

Fixed dumbbells are a static weight and cannot be adjusted.  You can generally buy fixed dumbbell weights in a set, with various weight sizes in the set.

For instance, a set may include a pair of 2lb weights, 3 lb weights and 5 lb weights.

Types of Dumbbell Exercises

Since dumbbells are held in your hand, the most common use of dumbbells are to exercise the upper body.  

This would include shoulder exercises, back exercises, chest exercises and arm exercises for the biceps, triceps, etc.  

However, dumbbell exercises are also great for the lower body.  Exercises like the lunge or squats can be done while holding the dumbbells.  

dumbbellsThis adds the extra weight and resistance to really work the legs and glutes.  
I love glute exercises and refer to these types of exercises as my butt blasters.

Generally, any exercise you can do on the floor, you can add weight by holding the dumbbells.  This way, all your exercises can become dumbbell exercises.

Benefits of Dumbbell Exercises

One of the advantages of dumbbell workouts is convenience.  You can perform these exercises at the gym or in the comfort of your own home.  It is a very inexpensive way for strength training the entire body and can be easily stored taking up very little space.

From arms to calves, dumbbells give you a great way to strength train all your muscle groups. 

Unlike barbells, which only give you one range of motion for the muscles, using dumbbells you get a variety of ranges  working various areas of the muscle.

Using dumbbells also helps with developing your lagging side of the body, if you have one. 

Often people will have one arm or leg that is stronger than the other.

Therefore when doing strength training with a barbell, it is predominately the stronger muscle that is doing most of the work. 

However, with dumbbells, you will work both sides equally as each arm or leg would be worked independently.


The one disadvantage to using dumbbells is that you may outgrow the weight.  Basically, as you improve on your strength training, you may need to move up to more weight to continue strengthening. 

You can buy dumbbells that allow for additional weight to be added (adjustable dumbbells) or you could try holding two dumbbells at one time to increase the weight.

How It's Done

woman exercising with dumbbellsMany of these exercises can be performed standing up or sitting down.  However, some will require you to lay down on a bench, so a weight bench or similar surface will be required.

With any strength training exercises, ensuring that you are doing the exercise properly is critical for a couple of reasons.  

One, it will minimize risk of injury and two, you will strengthen the muscle correctly, targeting the correct muscles.

Free Fitness Video Demonstrations using Dumbbells

Here on this site you can find instructions and free fitness videos of several dumbbell exercises for the upper body and lower body.  

In addition to dumbbell exercises for strength training, check out the pros and cons of resistance band exercises.

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Strength training is a great way to tighten and tone your muscles. It helps build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscles you have, the higher your metabolism. This helps you burn more fat and calories each day.

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