Whether you like to work out in a gym or get sweaty at home, dumbbells are pretty much your new best friend. Why might you ask? Well, they are easier to master than most equipment and are more challenging than bodyweight exercises alone, therefore making them a super versatile tool for building full-body strength. We scoped the Internet and got sweaty trying various dumbbell exercises at home and have come back with the 7 best ones that gave us that burn the next day. What are you waiting for? let’s do it.
Chest Press to Squat
Muscles worked: chest, core, glutes, legs
How to: Stand up straight, with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a single dumbbell between both hands. Simultaneously jump feet out wide and press the dumbbell straight out in front of body. Jump back to start. Then, lower body into a squat, and extend arms and dumbbell toward the floor. Jump back to start. That’s one rep.
Pro tip: Sit butt down during squat; it’s okay if your knees pass your toes!
Dumbbell Seesaw Press
Muscles worked: shoulders
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells with left arm extended straight overhead, bicep by ear, and right arm bent, elbow narrow, and weight at shoulder height. Switch arm positions so right arm presses straight up overhead, and left is bent, then reverse to return to start. That’s one rep.
Muscles worked: biceps
How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight, and chest upright, holding a pair of dumbbells at sides. Palms should face inward. Without moving upper arms, bend elbows and curl weights toward shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position with control. That’s one rep.
Pro tip: Try not to rush these! Keep ’em slow and controlled and squeeze your biceps at the top.
Muscles worked: back, glutes, legs
How to: Holding dumbbells in hands in front of thighs with palms facing body, start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Keeping knees slightly bent, press hips back and hinge at the waist to lower the dumbbells toward the floor. Squeeze glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep.
Pro tip: Hinge at the hips, not your lower back (think of pushing your hips back, not down) and keep the dumbbell as close to your body as you can.
Lying Overhead Triceps Extension
Muscles worked: triceps
How to: Lie on back with knees bent and feet placed flat on the ground, about a foot from butt. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand (or medium dumbbell between both) and extend arms up over shoulders, palms facing toward each other. This is your start position. Slowly bend at the elbows to bring weights toward floor, close to temples; pause, then, slowly bring the weights back overhead. That’s one rep.
Half Get-Up to Push-up
Muscles worked: shoulders, arms, core
How to: Lie face up with left leg and arm straight on the floor and angled away from body at 45 degrees. Bend right knee and plant foot flat on mat. Hold dumbbell in right hand by rib cage (elbow bent and close to chest). This is your start position. Press weight straight up to extend arm above chest. Keeping eyes on dumbbell, push into left palm and roll through spine to sit up. Now, lift hips off floor and flip body over into high plank position without letting go of weight. Complete one push up, then reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep.
Pro tip: Think of rolling towards side, not crunching. Keep shoulder blade of weighted arm pinned back and down.
Squat Press to Twist
Muscles worked: glutes, legs, core, shoulders
How to: Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with elbows bent and palms facing each other. Sit hips back and lower down into a squat position. Push through feet to rise back up and press the weights overhead and rotate torso to one side. Lower back into a squat, then repeat the press and twist on the opposite side. That’s one rep.
Pro tip: Pivot through hips to twist and keep shoulders and core aligned with them to avoid twisting from lower back.