The Equipment Guys

Why Train with Dumbbells

Dumbbell exercises offer several benefits over traditional resistance machines.



Here are just a few:
1. Dumbbells allow for heavy training, because they are balanced and have a consistent resistance.
2. They are incremental.
3. They build limit the same way that they can train bi-laterally (2 arms or legs)
4. Easily moved around when at their weight
5. Requires more mental coordination
6. Builds more usable strength
7. Allows for less “cheating”
8. Allows you to build highly specific sports fitness programs. Because dumbbell exercises are so dynamic and flexible you can use them to closely match the movement patterns in your sport.
9. Incorporates stabilizing muscles helping you develop a much more balanced posture and physique.
10. Allows you to train with the most natural movement patterns.
11. Allows you to work through a greater range of movement than resistance machines.
12. Dumbbell exercises fit round you instead of you fitting around a machine.


What can dumbbells do that barbells can not?
1. They can train uni-laterally (1 arm or leg)
2. They allow for stability training for Hips and Shoulders
3. They allow for Rotational (sagittal plane) training
4. They allow for Core training
5. The build Hand and 3-D Wrist strength
6. Requires more mental coordination
7. Builds More usable strength, while loading with less weight
8. Builds more symmetrical strength

Guidelines for Dumbbell Exercises

Dumbbell exercises are safe if you perform them correctly.
WHY TRAIN WITH DUMBBELLS IMAGE 31. Always warm up before dumbbell exercises. Perform 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise followed by stretching exercises to all major muscle groups.
2. Have someone spot you at all times. Lifting with a partner will improve your performance.
3. Perform each of the dumbbell exercises with a light weight to start.
4. Practice and sustain a good technique. There is a diminished return from dumbbell exercises if you keep increasing the weight without maintaining good form.
5. Refrain from dropping the weights to the floor. Your muscles are under great tension and a quick release by letting go of the weights is a great way to get injured.

Dumbbell Exercises

Shoulder Press
1. Adjust the bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees or sit upright.
2. Perform a dumbbell press as described.
3. Can also be done standing.

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
1. Lying flat on a bench, hold the weights directly above your chest, arms extended and palms facing towards your feet.
2. Lower the weights to your chest under control.
3. Press the dumbbells back up to the starting position and repeat.
4. Avoid locking your elbows to prevents joint damage.

Seated Shoulder Press
1. Sit upright on the end of the bench with the dumbbells extended directly above your head. Adjust the bench so it forms a chair to support your back if necessary.
2. Lower the weights slowly and under control to your shoulders.
3. When your arms are bent to 90 degrees, press the dumbbells back up without locking your elbows and repeat.

Lateral Raises
1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent and shoulder width apart, holding the dumbbells at your sides.
2. Bend you elbows slightly and raise the dumbbells out to the side. Keeping your elbows slightly bent.
3. When your arms are parallel to the floor, slowly lower the weights back down and repeat.

Front Raises
1. Stand upright, knees slightly bent and shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbells at against your thighs. Your palms should be towards your body.
2. Starting with your weaker side and keeping your arm straight, raise the weight directly in front of you.
3. When your arm is parallel to the ground lower the weight slowly back to the starting position.

Upright Row
1. Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold 2 dumbbells against your thighs.
2. Keep the weights close to your body, raise the dumbbells up to your chin.
3. Hold for a count of 3 and lower to the start position and repeat.

Dead Lifts
1. Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold 2 dumbbells against your thighs.
2. Use your lower back to lower the weights down your leg. Do not round your back. Keep your head up, right throughout the movement.
3. Only lower the weights as far as is comfortable.
4. Stand upright using your lower back, maintaining a flat back and bent knees and keeping your head up.

1. Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold 2 dumbbells against your thighs.
2. Keeping your arms straight ‘shrug’ your shoulders as high as they will go and hold for a count of 3.

Decline Seated Bicep Curls
1. Adjust the bench to a 45 degree incline.
2. In this seated position hold a dumbbell in either hand at your sides.
3. Keep your elbows close to your body and curl the weight up.
4. Lower the weight and repeat.

Overhead Triceps Extension
1. Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in your right hand.
2. Hold the weight directly above your head with your right arm fully extended. Clasp your right elbow with your left hand. Your left forearm should be in front of your face.
3. Slowly let your right elbow bend so that the weight is lowered behind your head. From this position extend your arm back to the starting position. Repeat then switch arms.

Dumbbell Squats
1. Hold a dumbbell in either hand at your sides, stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart.
2. Bend from the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
3. Keep your back flat, lower back slightly arched inwards and your head up.
4. Return to an upright position and repeat.

1. Holding a dumbbell in either hand at your sides, stand upright with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart.
2. Step forward about 2 feet with your right foot. As you plant your right foot bend your right knee to about 90 degrees. Your left knee will bend automatically and should just touch the floor. 3. Push off with your right foot to return to the starting position.
4. You can alternate legs or perform all the reps on one leg at a time.

Calf Raise
1. Set the back rest if the bench to an upright position. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand at your side, stand upright and place your left hand on the top of the bench for support.
2. Stand on your right leg. Rest your left foot on your right calf muscle.
3. Stand up on your right toe.
4. Lower yourself to the ground and repeat.


Nick Osborne: GO: Sports Performance Center Weight Training for Men & Women: Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl