A Beginners Guide to Dumbbell Exercises

Training with dumbbells is a fun and easy way to tone up this summer! Its benefits however, are much more than skin deep. Incorporating a simple dumbbell routine into your day is a great way to increase strength and build muscle mass. Strength training, especially for women, is essential for bone health, life-long strength and mobility.

In this article we go through some simple workouts that you can do at home. As a beginner, try doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. You may have to adjust your dumbbell weight accordingly to make sure you can push out 10 reps.


Standing Shoulder Press

Stand with your shoulders feet while apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring them up to head height, with elbows bent and out. Extend through your elbows to raise the weights directly above your head. Hold and slowly return the weight to head height.

Bent over row

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Bends your knees slightly and hinge forward from your hips so your back is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure your back is kept straight. Your arms should hand directly in front of you and perpendicular to the floor. While keeping your back stationary, lift both dumbbells to your side keeping your elbows close to your body. Slowly lower back to starting to starting position as you inhale.

This exercise is great in working out your middle back. Take care or avoid if you have back problems.

Alternating Bicep Curl

Sit down or stand with legs shoulder width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your back straight and shoulders back. Rotate your palms so they are facing towards you. With your upper arm stationary, curl one dumbbell upwards in a smooth motion and rotate your wrists so they face towards you at the end of the movement. Hold and slowly lower and rotate back to starting position.  Alternate between arms to complete your set.

Seated Tricep Extension            

Sit on a bench while holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Make sure you back is straight and core is tense. Lift the dumbbell slowly overhead straight towards the ceiling with your palms facing forward (starting position). Slowly bend your elbow and lower the weight behind your head then push the dumbbell back over your head by squeezing your triceps. Complete all reps and swap with the other arm. 

Walking Lunges

In a standing position, hold dumbbells in each hand and at your sides. Keep your shoulders down and chest lifted. Step forward with the right leg and drop back the left knee so that it faces the ground. Your right leg should be aligned over your right ankle. In this position, drive up and take a step forward with your left foot. You should now be in the opposite position to when you started, with your right knee facing down and your left leg forward. This is one step. Continue for 20 steps. Make sure your core is engaged throughout the workout and that your forward knee is aligned with your forward ankle.

Single Straight Leg Deadlift

Stand up straight with dumbbells in each hand and core activated. Keep your chest up and look straight ahead. Tilt your body from the hips, while you place all your weight on your left foot and lift your right foot off the floor behind you. Aim to get your body parallel to the floor, with your back straight. Pause when you are in this position and feel the pull on your hamstrings. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on other leg.

Wendy Allen is the RubyFit blogger. She has a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise from the University of Technology and Master of Pharmacy from the University of Sydney

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