I have listed some of the best dumbbell exercises below, with a selection of my personal favourites, some classics and a few essential exercises you need to do especially if you do not own a barbell and rack
Probably the most accessible of home gym equipment, dumbells are the number 1 go-to choice for resistance training at home. Whilst most of your muscle mass will be built with barbell training, dumbbells will add some much needed variety to your training schedule and they will prove to be invaluable for many isolation exercises.
Benefits of Using Dumbbells
Space Savers/New School Sets
Home sets of dumbbells have come a long way since the metal plates and fixed handles. Most of the new sets have been built with speed in mind and adjustable dumbbells are now nearly as quick to train with as their more expensive counterparts the fixed weight dumbbells you would see in your local gym.
I own a set of the Ironmaster Quick-Lock dumbbells, heavy duty, versatile, and in my opinion, they are the best on the market and because of their compact size they feel pretty close to the natural feel we love from a fixed weight dumbbell, but they are expensive. With Ironmaster you get what you pay for, lifetime guarantees and a dumbbell that hasn’t got any plastic parts like some of the other new sets out there, all metal construction make the Ironmasters very durable.
There are many other fantastic sets of adjustable dumbbells available, you can check out our detailed reviews by clicking on the pictures below.
Dumbbells Allow For Unilateral Training
Stabilizer muscles also come into play when using dumbbells, because of the unstable nature of dumbbells training, your stabilizer muscles are forced into action.. “your stabiliser muscles have to work hard to keep you steady while you perform the movement. Without realising it you’ll be strengthening your core and other stabiliser muscles, which can help prevent injury,” says PT and Multipower ambassador Ant Nyman. Via coachmag.com
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell presses activate the lower fibres of chest better than the barbell because your hands are free to move across your body. And because of the need to coordinate two separate weights, this forces the stabilizer muscles to assist as well.
The dumbbell bench press does require you to have access to a bench, it is a good idea to chose an adjustable bench for your home gym as this will allow you to perform incline bench presses as well as flat. Incline pressing helps to develop the middle and upper pectorals.
Depending on the versatility of your bench, you will be able to perform this exercise from a multiple of angles from almost flat to almost upright, the higher degree of angle the more you work your deltoid muscles (shoulders).
Alternated Bicep Curls
If you want to make this exercise a little harder I’d recommend using an arm blaster, this helps give you the strictest form with elbows fixed solidly in place, which is really good for lower bicep development.
Tip- For extra development twist your hand slightly as you lift the weight, bringing the thumb up, and twist back the other way as you come down, says “Arnie”.
Kneeling One Arm Row
The stationary lunge involves a downward movement in which there is a strong eccentric contraction of the hams, quads and glutes. This ensures that the entire weight of the body falls on the forward leg, developing the front of the thighs and glutes.
Are you new to squats? If so, it’s a good idea to practise squatting using only your body weight at first. By using just your body weight you will be able to practise the correct form, once you are happy you are performing the movement correctly you can then move on to using a light set of dumbbells, increasing the weight as your muscles grow and become stronger.
Some effective dumbbell squat variations include goblet squats, dumbbell front squats, dumbbell plié squat, and overhead dumbbell squats. Dumbbells squats are also a safe way to squat as you can release the dumbbells at any time avoiding injury.