You don’t need a whole room of fancy weight machines to get a solid strength training workout. A simple pair of dumbbells will do the job, but many people quickly slip into a rut of completing the same boring exercises and routines. Of course you can use dumbbells for curls, lateral raises, and bench presses, but their function doesn’t stop there. Take advantage of the versatility of dumbbells to make the most of your strength training workouts.
New dumbbell exercises to add to your routines
The Windmill: This exercise stabilizes your shoulders and develops core strength as you complete a twisting motion. Start with a dumbbell in your right hand, extended straight above your head. Keeping that arm straight up the whole time, bend at the waist and touch your left hand to your right foot, then return to the starting position. When you’ve finished the set, repeat it on the other side with the dumbbell in your left hand.
Lateral raises with flared traps: Your trapezius muscles are easy to target while doing lateral raises by adjusting your position. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, then flex your trapezius muscles forward by pushing your shoulder blades together and up. In this position, complete a set of lateral raises by lifting your arms up until they’re pointing straight out and slowly lowering them.
Straddle presses: Modify a simple overhead press to use more core strength and involve your hips and legs by performing it while seated. Sit on the ground in a straddle position, with your legs extended straight, and about a 90-degree angle between them. In this position, press a dumbbell from your shoulder straight up, without leaning backward, and lower it again.
Experiment with other options: You may fall into a rut again quickly, so always be on the lookout for other exercises to add to your routines. Ask friends who lift for recommendations, read blogs, or just try out some new motions that will target the muscles you’re looking to build. As long as you start with lighter weights, you should be able to safely create your own exercises.
Major benefits of exercising with dumbbells
As you make dumbbell workouts a more prominent part of your strength training routine, keep their benefits in mind. For one, you’ll be able to use the range of dynamic motion that’s most comfortable to you, rather than being stuck in positions dictated by machines. Because you have a separate weight in each hand, you’ll have to work each arm equally instead of compensating for a weak arm with a stronger arm on a machine or with a barbell. Another advantage over barbells is that it’s easier to drop dumbbells when you’re training alone and need to get out from a tough spot.
With just a few minutes each day, you can make significant progress toward developing strength and toning your muscles. Dumbbells give you the flexibility to exercise from the comfort of your own home and fit workouts into your schedule. As you get stronger, remember that you may need a heavier set of weights to continue progressing in your training and building strength.