In this article I am going to explain a dumbbell workout at home for beginners.  These 12 exercises will provide a full body workout that will help you get stronger and ready to progress to heavier weights and it will help you maintain and maybe even build muscle mass!  That way you can stay strong for whatever brings joy to your life, whether that is snowboarding in the winter or being able to rough and tumble with kids.  Keep reading to see some tips about how to get started! 

My cat, Kitty, visits my workout sesh and poses with the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbell!

Dumbbell Workouts At Home for Beginners Can Get you Muscle Tone

Dumbbell exercises are perfect for building strength.  In my opinion, they are better than weight machines at the gym.  Lifting using dumbbells provides more benefit than lifting using weight machines because using dumbbells, you will not only strengthen the major muscle group that each exercise works, but you will also strengthen smaller stabilizing muscles.  When it comes to tripping and catching yourself before you hit the ground or keeping your balance as you learn to snowboard on moguls, you need your stabilizing muscles to be strong and active. 

But I can lift heavier when I use the weight machines!

If you are really focused on building up a certain muscle, then weight machines are great for that, because they help stabilize your movement so much that you can really isolate a single muscle to develop it.  To use myself as an example, when I do a barbell bench press I lift 75 lbs.  The barbell provides stability that helps my chest muscles lift more because they do not have to work so hard to balance the weight.  However, when I do a dumbbell bench press I can only press 30 lbs in each hand, and this is very difficult!  This is because I have to use so much strength to stabilize and balance each dumbbell as I push it up.  So, there is a distinct and benefit to using dumbbells that you do not get using a machine.  

Only dumbbells will work your balancing and stabilizing muscles in this way. Not so much weight machines.

How do I know if a weight is heavy enough or too heavy?

Great Question! When you do these beginner home dumbbell exercises, you want to feel your muscles warming up and ‘burning’ a little by the last few reps in a set.  For example, if you are aiming to do a set of 10 curl and presses, then you want a weight that is heavy enough so that by the 7th or 8th rep you are feeling your muscles burn just a little.  You want it to feel a little difficult at the end, but not so difficult that you are sacrificing proper form.  If you are unsure, always err on the side of too light and you can add on a couple of reps.

For example, if for the curl and press, 10 lbs is too heavy, but 5 lbs is too light, continue with the 5 lb weight but do 12 or 14 reps in a set.  You will be surprised that you will gain strength and you will be ready to complete the exercise with 10 lbs with more comfort in just a couple of sessions.  With this in mind, a set of 5 lb and 10 lb dumbbells will be perfect for most people.  Depending on your strength level, going in, you might also want a set of 15 lb dumbbells.  

Video Demonstration of Dumbbell Workouts at Home for Beginners

In the video below I will demonstrate all of the dumbbell exercises in this at home workout plan.  As always, remember, high school English teacher here, I know as much as a dedicated amateur athlete and extreme sport enthusiast would know!  If you want to see another example of each exercise, you can check out Kayla Itsines dumbbell workout, she is pretty cool

  • Weighted Glute Bridge
  • Goblet Squat
  • Lunge
  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Toe Raises
  • Curl Press
  • Lateral Fly
  • Bent Over Fly
  • Dumbbell Row
  • Tricep Press
  • Dumbbell bench Press
  • Russian Twist

For a full body workout, do 2 sets of 8 – 10 reps. Or, to only focus on your upper or lower body, complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps, and alternate days. When exercises become too easy, and they will, you can progress very simply by going to a higher weight or by increasing reps.  Once you have this dumbbell workout down, you should definitely expand your at home workout routine!  If you are really ready to build some muscle, then check out my article about body weight exercises or even my review of the Thinner, Leaner Stronger program by Michael Matthews!

Buying Guide for Dumbbells

Dumbbells should run about $1 per pound. So, a lot of the dumbbells on line are pretty expensive! This is might have something to do with needing a lot of packaging or shipping, I’m not sure. So, dor buying dumbbells, your best bet might be a Target or Dicks Sporting Goods visit!

BUT, below, these are the best deals I saw. So, first, the Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells are on Amazon. You might also find them used or in a store. We got ours used for $150, which is a STEAL. Also, on Amazon, they have a set of 3, 5, 8 lb weights that come with a rack, and the price is right! Check out the links right below.

For More information about getting the best workout at home, check out these two posts!

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