With all the new workout equipment coming into the market, there are a lot of people turning away from the classic exercise equipment to use items that have become “all the rage”. One of the pieces of gym equipment that have been relegated to the corner to gather dust include the humble dumbbell. Sure they’re not as fancy looking at a kettle bell, but dumbbells are a truly quintessential part of any work out and are perfect for resistance training programs. Not only do dumbbells put your stabilizer muscles to work, they can even help you with any muscle imbalances you’re struggling with since they can be used with lateral and bilateral movements. Pick up those dumbbells and start getting your sweat on with these awesome workouts.
Dumbbell Hang Clean and Press
Clean and presses are typically done with barbells, but switching to dumbbells still gives you an epic workout for your shoulder, legs and hips. To do this, start by popping down into a squat position with a dumbbell in each hand positioned outside of your ankles. Keeping your spine neutral and your shins vertical, move up to stand and pull the dumbbells up at the same time. Next, drive the dumbbells up in an explosive movement, using your legs and hips for momentum. When you catch the weight of the dumbbells at your shoulders, use a neutral grip then force the weights up over head to end the rep. You can even do single-arm dumbbell snatches by switching to a wide-squat stance and starting with the dumbbell at knee level.
Dumbbell Romanian Dead lifts
Ready to punish your hamstrings on leg day? If yes, then you really need to add these dumbbell Romanian deadlifts to your sets. Start with your feet apart at hip distance, ensuring that your toes are facing forward with your dumbbells held secure at your sides. When you begin the workout, shift your hips back, bending just a tinge at the knees as you lower the dumbbells to the floor in a controlled manner. Make sure that you’re keeping your spine neutral as you lower the weight, being mindful to stop right when you feel a deep stretch at your hamstrings. Hold that for a second or two before pulling your body back up with your hamstrings and glutes engaged. If you want to go for a tougher workout that is even more punishing on your hamstrings, switch to a single-leg Romanian deadlift. Now be warned that we’re not exaggerating when we say that the single leg version is much tougher, but it’s totally worth all the effort.
Russian Dumbbell Swing
Don’t let the name of this work out fool you! Even if it’s called a swing, this one’s going to give your hip and glutes a major workout when done right. Similar to a kettlebell swing, you’ll need to start with your feet at a shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbell with both hands out in front of you, making sure that the dumbbell is heavy enough to give you a challenge when you swing it up. You’ll then hike the dumbbell back from between your legs before using your hips to swing the dumbbell up to about the height of your shoulders. Remember that the momentum should be coming from the high intensity thrust of your hips. Exhale as the dumbbell goes up and inhale as the dumbbell comes back down. Try not to keep your elbows too rigid and bend a little as the dumbbell comes down to better absorb the weight and avoid injury.
Dumbbell Side Lunge
Here’s another one to add to your leg day regimen! Dumbbell side lunges are fantastic to give your legs an overall workout. Begin with your feed at shoulder-width distance with dumbbells at your side. When you’re ready, take a wide step to your side and lower yourself into a lunge while pushing your hips backward. As you sink into your lunge, lower your dumbbells down to the floor until your chest is over your knee. Remember to keep your gaze forward and your chin up as you drop into your lunge. Return to a standing position afterwards and repeat the movement with your alternate leg. This completes one repetition.
Dumbbell Floor Press
Who says you need a bench to do a press? They’re just as effective when you’re lying on your back on the floor. To do this work out with proper form, lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Take a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your shoulders while keeping your elbows rested on the floor. From here, you’ll push the dumbbells straight up until you’re holding them directly overhead (keep a firm grip on those dumbbells to prevent them from falling flat on your face, mind you) before returning to your starting position. If you want to add a twist to this classic exercise, you can alternate pressing one dumbbell at a time. By alternating presses, you get the added benefit of engaging your core to keep the dumbbells stable.
Dumbbell Renegade Rows
Need a new dumbbell exercise for ab and back day? Try renegade rows on for size and feel the burn. Start in a push-up position with your feet apart and dumbbells in each hand directly below your chest. Keeping your core engaged, pull one dumbbell up towards your side, keeping the weight close to your torso. Next, lower the dumbbell back to starting position in a slow and controlled manner to make the most of the entire movement. Repeat the movement with your alternate arm. That makes one rep. Make sure that your keeping your movements controlled and your back straight as you perform all of your movements. If this exercise is something you’re new to, start with a lighter weight and go for about 15 reps. You can increase your weights or your repetitions as you grow accustomed to the exercise. Did we mention you’ll give your shoulders a great workout while you’re at it?