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The 10 Best Dumbbell Exercises to Build Muscle

three athletes posing

Do you use weights in your fitness routine? Dumbbell exercises are a highly effective way to burn calories and tone up your body. If you’re new to this type of training, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the best dumbbell exercises to get started with.

1. Bicep Curls

Let’s start with the basics. The bicep curl targets your biceps and triceps in one simple move. Start with a medium dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights down by your sides so that they are next to your quads. Curl each arm up toward your chest and then back down to the starting position. You can either alternate your arms or do them together.

2. Lateral Raises

Want to attack your triceps and keep your arms toned? Begin with a medium dumbbell in each hand and your arms relaxed. Keep your core engaged. Raise your arms up simultaneously to your sides.

Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle to your body. When your hands are parallel to your shoulders, slowly release and start again.

3. Arm Swings

This next move targets your quads, glutes, triceps, and shoulders at the same time, and it resembles a kettlebell swing. The difference is you're using a dumbbell and swinging one arm at a time.

Hold one arm out in front of you with a medium dumbbell. Keeping your back straight, go into about a quarter squat, with the dumbbell lowering in between your legs.

As you stand, swing the dumbbell out in front of you to eye-height. Repeat for reps.

4. Bench Press

Lie straight back on a bench. Hold two medium dumbbells in each hand and bend your elbows so that the inside ends are resting on your chest. Push the weights up overhead in a straight and fluid motion and then return to the start. Repeat.

This move targets both your chest and biceps.

5. Lunges

When you’ve already mastered the standard lunge, here’s a quick way to take it to the next level. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms straight by your side. Move one leg backward and sink into a lunge. 

6. Bent-Over Rows

The bent-over row targets your arms, chest, and shoulder muscles. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Lean forward from the waist so that your back is at roughly a 45-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and allow them to drop by your side. Bend your arms at the elbow so that you bring your arms up to your chest. Repeat.

7. Cross-Body Curls

Similar to the bicep curl, this exercise attacks the biceps and triceps in one sharp blast. Start with a medium dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your side. Alternate between your arms and bring your hand up toward the opposing shoulder. Make sure that you keep your elbows by your side as you move and maintain control.

8. Glute Bridges

Toning your entire lower body, the glute bridge is an essential part of any fitness routine. Lie on a mat with your legs bent, feet under your knees. Hold a dumbbell across your pelvic area and lift your bottom off the floor.

Squeeze at the top, hold the position for a moment, and then release. Repeat.

9. Side Bends

Looking for a way to get a toned silhouette? You have to target your obliques. Start with a dumbbell in one hand and hold it down by your side. Bend sideways from your waist and lower the weight as you do so. Keep your chest lifted throughout the process.

10. Step-Ups

You will need a medium sized plyometric box before you get started here. Stand directly in front of the box with a dumbbell in each hand. Step up to the box and then back down again. While you’re moving, hold the weights in place and keep them stable.

Now that you’ve got these moves, why not add them to your regular fitness regime? Using some dumbbells in your routine can help you to enhance your workout and get more out of standard moves. Get started today and see what difference it makes.



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