The coronavirus pandemic might be keeping you from the gym, but it doesn’t mean that your entire workout routine should be canceled too. In fact, doing some resistance training—or any type of exercise, for that matter—will help you keep your sanity (hello, quarantine fatigue) and safeguard your health.
And luckily, you don't need a whole lot of fitness equipment to get in a serious lift session. With a pair of dumbbells, there’s no limit to what you can do. Whether your goal is to build muscle size or increase lean mass and tone up, dumbbells are a trainer go-to for a reason.
“Dumbbells don’t require much space. They can be used for a variety of movements, including strength and conditioning," Renee Peel, an NSCA-certified personal trainer at Fhitting Room, tells Health. "Dumbbells are also easy to add to bodyweight workouts for additional load, making the movements more challenging and effective in increasing strength and muscle tone."
Because picking up a set of weights on the reg is so good for you, here’s a head-to-toe dumbbell workout, created by Peel, that you can do at home. If you’re a beginner, Peel recommends choosing a moderate weight, and paying special attention to that form throughout your workout.
“Cut back if your form is failing. If this is not challenging you at all, you will want to consider adding reps, a tempo or even additional sets,” she says. (FYI: By tempo, Peel means slowing things down, increasing the time your muscles are under tension, to help you perfect form and make the exercise more challenging).
For the workout, complete 8-10 reps of all 1o moves below, resting for 30 seconds between each move. Do 2-3 sets of the entire workout, resting for 30-90 seconds between each set.
Suitcase Reverse Lunge
This highly functional move will remind you how to properly carry a heavy bag of groceries up a flight of stairs (yes, there’s a way to avoid the aches and pains). But here’s the thing: A suitcase carry is more than just grabbing and lifting the weight off the ground. Engaging your triceps and forearms will enhance your grip and put less pressure on your shoulders, allowing for stronger, more efficient movement.
A common mistake with reverse lunges is not stepping back far enough and having all of your weight on your front foot. To avoid this, Peel says to focus on lowering your knee right under your hip as you step back. “When stepping back up out of the lunge, drive into your front foot to stand back to the start position,” Peel says.
dumbbell exercise moves
Looking to take your bodyweight squats to the next level? Front squats are an excellent example of compound exercises because they access multiple joints and muscle groups at once. Here, you’re racking the dumbbells at your shoulders, allowing your front delts to assist in bearing the load. Keeping the dumbbells in this front rack position also keeps your back more vertical and prevents your chest from caving forward as you squat, forcing you to recruit your core.
It's crucial to utilize your breath in this move: “Take a breath into your belly at the top, holding it as you lower into your squat and exhale as you press to stand,” Peel says. “Focus on pulling your hips back and down into the squat and driving your elbows up to keep your chest tall as you lower,” she adds. Depending on your mobility, the goal is to get your hips below your knees, but only if you’re able to maintain proper form and avoid rounding your back, Peel says.
dumbbell exercise moves
This heart-pumping move combines a front squat and shoulder press into one continuous flow. “Use the power of your legs when you stand from the squat to finish with your biceps by your ears,” Peel says. Just like with the front squat, you want to employ your breath, and boy, will you need it. Take a breath into your belly at the top, holding it as you lower into your squat and exhale as you stand up to press.
dumbbell exercise moves offers many of the same benefits as a conventional one, but the stiff-legged position places special emphasis on the hamstrings and increases the range of motion of your hips and spine. “Push hips back and imagine you are painting the front of your legs on the way down. When you come up to stand, push into the floor to a standing plank position,” Peel says.
dumbbell exercise moves
Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift
This variation of the deadlift is as much a challenge in balance as it is strength. The key is to kick your lifted leg back with your big toe and knee pointed down as you lower the dumbbell on the inside of your standing leg. Be careful not to move the weight in front of you as you lower. Rather, it should be close to your standing leg and aligned with your ankle to ensure you are moving the load with the hips and legs.
dumbbell exercise moves newsletter