What are some of the best dumbbell exercises

7 effective dumbbell exercises for your full body workout at home or in the gym

Do you think an intense workout is impossible without a fully equipped gym? That's not true! You can also train your entire body effectively with a few dumbbells and improve yourself thanks to exercise variations - whether in the gym or at home. Curious? Then don't miss our dumbbell exercises!

Is full body workout only possible with dumbbells?

The gym is overcrowded and your favorite machine is currently occupied? Or do you have no access to the gym and are dependent on your home workout? One or the other scenario is sure to sound familiar to you. But that doesn't mean that you can't train effectively or that you have to do without your training or a certain exercise completely!

Whether with or without a gym, it is always important to pay attention to your fitness so that you stay healthy, balanced and satisfied. You can also do this with simple equipment such as dumbbells! you are versatilewhy so with it train every muscle group leaves. And that in every place!

Any basic exercise such as squats or deadlifts can also be performed with dumbbells as additional weight. Isolation exercises such as biceps curls or front raises can be done wonderfully with a few dumbbells. However, advanced recreational athletes can be under-challenged, especially with basic exercises, if they do not have heavy dumbbells on hand. Here it is important to switch to exercise variations and unilateral exercises.

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A full body workout with just dumbbells works very well. But before you get your dusty dumbbells out of the corner of your room, there are a few things to watch out for:

  1. Exercise with a training plan

Unfortunately, just training straight away without a plan is of little use to you. Effective training needs a structure. So you have one Overview of your training volume and your progress. A training plan makes yours Measurable success! And that in black and white. So he's not just a great one Motivational factorbut also a Tool to document your progressive increase. Because this is the only way you can get better and promote muscle building.

If you train the entire body, it makes sense to put the basic exercises at the beginning of your training plan. They are complex and involve large muscle groups such as the legs, chest and back. At the beginning of your training you have more strength and can concentrate perfectly on a heavy exercise such as the bench press. Finally, you can focus on smaller muscles like the triceps.

In addition, in an exercise like the bench press, the focus is on the chest muscle, while the triceps help. Therefore, it makes little sense to tire the triceps with an isolated exercise beforehand if you want to get the most out of your chest exercise. Otherwise you would still have strength in your chest muscle while your arms can no longer.

  1. Technology over weight

Clean technology always comes first! Let yourself be Beginner quiet time to the Learn how to do it properly before reaching for dumbbells. If the technique is right, take a little extra weight and start slowly!

As Advanced or professional you should be just as careful about your execution. Sometimes you tend to die over the years Neglecting technology and focus on exertion rather than execution. Hence it is said: Back to basics! Every athlete benefits in the long term from checking his execution every now and then and so on Avoid Injury can.

  1. Set new training stimuli

Your muscles adapt to any load over time. It is therefore important to set new training stimuli in order to continue to make progress in training, to promote muscle building and to increase your strength. You have many different options for doing this.

You can yours Increase weightsto challenge the muscles. Of course, the prerequisite at this point is that you have access to a Dumbbell set has. So you have the option to choose between different weights of dumbbells. But not everyone of us owns a dumbbell set or wants or can invest in dumbbells. Don't worry, there is a solution for this too!

You can Increase Time Under Tension (TUT). TUT refers to the amount of time a muscle is under tension during a training set. You can increase the duration of the exercise by doing an exercise more slowly. For example, when doing a squat, you can go deeply slowly and in a controlled manner and come back up normally.

You can do one choose a more challenging exercise variation. For example, a lunge is more difficult compared to a squat because you can handle the same weight with just one leg instead of two. You can also do deadlifts on one leg, which in addition to a higher load also means maintaining balance and core stability.

With our dumbbell exercises for at home, we show you what other improvement options are available to you.

  1. Regeneration is the be-all and end-all

Yours Muscles grow during the recovery phase! Take at least a day off between your workouts. For full body workouts, we recommend exercising 2 to 3 times a week. As a beginner, two training units per week can be enough.

Benefits of Dumbbell Exercises

FactorsDumbbellBarbellExercise device
Freedom of movementcompletely guaranteed, every angle can be chosen freelylarge, but your own body can limit the amplitude or the dumbbell can limit the anglesmall, the movement is completely controlled by the device
coordinationis trainedis trainedis not claimed
Everyday relevancehigh, free exercises come close to natural movementhigh, free exercises come close to natural movementlow due to the isolated movement
Possible uses in trainingversatile, every muscle group can be trained, unilateral exercises are possibleversatile, every muscle group can be trainedusually one device per muscle group
Muscular imbalancesThanks to unilateral exercises, imbalances can be compensated for in a targeted manner, e.g. each arm can handle the same weightthe weight cannot be evenly distributed e.g. one arm can be loaded more than the otherpossible or not possible depending on the device
Muscle activityhigh, a muscle chain works, auxiliary muscles stabilizehigh, a muscle chain works, auxiliary muscles stabilizelow, only the target muscle is working
Purchase for homehardly take up space, easy to transport, costs are usually lowtake up a lot of space, difficult to transport, costs are medium hightake up a lot of space, difficult to transport, costs are high


Who are dumbbell exercises for?

In a nutshell: For each! In general: Adjust the weights or the load to your personal performance level! Also, increase yourself regularlyby setting new training stimuli.

As an absolute Beginner you already have enough with you Technology and coordination to do before thinking of heavier weights. Make sure you use a clean technique and avoid working with momentum. Perform the movements in a controlled manner and try to feel the strain in the target muscle. For Advanced and professionals offer themselves Exercise variations and more Intensity techniques such as increasing time under tension at.

Full-body training plan: 7 effective dumbbell exercises for at home or in the gym

Ideally, you need a dumbbell set for our workout. Depending on the exercise or muscle group, dumbbells of different weights are necessary to get the most out of your dumbbell training. You don't have one? Then, for example, filled water bottles can also be used as a substitute. Important: Weights should be heavy enough! The final repetitions should be difficult for you, but the The execution must nevertheless remain clean.

Our tip: You want to train effectively at home, but you don't have any dumbbells on hand? Do not worry! You can also do an intensive workout with your own body weight. Let our free bodyweight training plan push you to your limit or take a look at our full-body training plan without equipment for every fitness level!

Before you start our dumbbell training, warm up for at least 10 minutes! Do you need inspiration for your warm up? Then take a look at our warm-up exercises for at home. Ready? Then it can go. Do 3 sets of each exercise and relax for 60 to 90 seconds between sets. We hope you enjoy your training!

  1. Bulgarian split squat

The Bulgarian split squat is a modification of the classic lunges. The movement is not that different from normal lunges. What is different is the starting position. Your back leg is on an elevation during the execution. Thanks to the increase, the amplitude of movement increases and you can go even deeper, which makes the exercise even more intense. This is why the Bulgarian split squat is also very effective with a pair of dumbbells and focuses in particular on the thighs, glutes and core stability.

Place your back foot on an elevation, e.g. on your couch. The front knee is at a right angle. Now you go up and down like a classic lung. Start by doing 10 repetitions per side. If it gets too easy and you have more strength, increase to 15 repetitions per side. As an advanced user, you can hold dumbbells or water bottles in both hands as additional weight. Professionals can increase Time Under Tension for more intensity by slowly going three beats down and then coming back up as normal.

  1. Romanian deadlift

In the Romanian deadlift, the knees are not completely bent as in the classic deadlift, but remain half extended the entire time. The main load on this exercise is on the back of the thighs, glutes and lower back.

Place your feet hip-width apart with the tips of your toes pointing forward. The back is straight and your head is neutral in the extension of your spine. You lower your weight in a controlled manner towards the floor. Your upper body leans forward and stays straight all the time. You slide your buttocks back while the dumbbells stay close to your body and slide down your shin. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the exercise. Look at the ground a few meters in front of you. When you reach the lowest point, you straighten up again. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

As an advanced or professional, you can do the Romanian deadlift with one leg to increase the intensity. In addition to muscle strength, concentration and stability are also required here. Make sure to keep your hips straight and avoid tilting your pelvis to one side. You may opt for less weight than the classic variant. The entire load is now borne by just one leg.

  1. Bent over rowing

You strengthen your upper back and back shoulder with rows. Take a dumbbell or water bottle and bend forward with a straight back so that you are standing bent forward at a 45 degree angle. You push your buttocks back and down, your legs are slightly bent. Bring your weights towards your belly button. Keep your elbows close to your body. Consciously focus on contracting your shoulder blades as you pull the weight towards your body. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times for 3 sets.

To make the dumbbell exercise more challenging, you can use higher weights. If this is not possible for you, you can also work more slowly here to increase the time under tension.

  1. Bench press or floor press

The bench press is wonderful to do with dumbbells and mainly trains your chest, triceps and shoulder. A prerequisite for the classic exercise variants, however, is a training bench in addition to dumbbells. In the gym, you benefit from the fact that you can do the exercise on a training bench and thus have a large range of motion. But you can also do this exercise at home instead of on a bench on the floor.

For floor press with dumbbells, lie flat on your back on the floor and take a dumbbell in each hand. Your knees are bent and your feet are stable on the floor. Tense your entire body and contract your shoulder blades. If you want to focus more on the triceps, place your upper arms close to your torso. The backs of the hands point outwards. If you want to put more strain on your chest, place your upper arms at an angle of 45 degrees from your body.

Now you push the dumbbells up without stretching your arms completely, and then lower them again in a controlled manner towards the floor. Your forearms point straight up the whole time. At the lowest point, your elbows are touching the floor and you start the next rep. To make the exercise more challenging, you can use higher weights or increase the Time Under Tension.

  1. Lateral raise

With lateral raises, you primarily use the middle part of your shoulder. The exercise is performed while standing. You stand hip-width apart and your upper body is bent slightly forward. Your arms are straight next to your body and you have your dumbbells in your hand. The elbow is slightly bent. Your arms go up sideways until they are horizontal. You bring your elbows up to the ceiling. Then you let the dumbbells drop back to the sides in a controlled manner to your thighs. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times for 3 sets.

To make the dumbbell exercise more challenging, you can use higher weights or increase the time under tension.

  1. Bicep curls

The classic when it comes to training the biceps. You start in an upright position with your arms straight next to your body. You hold your dumbbells under your grip. Your shoulders are behind and your elbows are fixed. Now you bend your arms and twist your hands in the process. Make sure that your elbows move as little as possible. Then your arms come back down into extension.

If you find the 10 to 15 times too easy for you, increase your weights or perform the movement more slowly.

  1. Overhead triceps extension (one-armed)

Now the arm extensor is trained. Stand about hip-width apart and straight. Lift your arm over your head with a dumbbell and straighten your arm up so that the dumbbell is over you. Your elbow should point outward as you stretch, and your knuckles should point towards the ceiling. The free arm can stabilize the outstretched arm by supporting it. Your gaze is directed forward. Now carefully lower the dumbbell behind your head and then push it up again. Important: Only your forearm moves, the upper arm remains in its position!

After 10 to 15 repetitions, switch arms. If you feel too little tension, increase your weights or do the movement more slowly.

Our tip: Are you still missing a few abdominal exercises to round off your full body workout? Try our 9 best abdominal exercises! You only need your own body weight for this. Choose from 2 to 3 exercises as a supplement to your dumbbell training and your workout is complete.


  • A full body workout can be done with dumbbells at home as well as in the gym
  • Isolation exercises and unilateral exercises are particularly good for training with dumbbells
  • You have more freedom of movement, promote your core stability, can compensate for muscular imbalances and improve your coordination skills
  • As a beginner, you focus on a clean shape and use lighter dumbbells
  • As an advanced or professional, you work with different intensity techniques and train unilaterally
  • A structured training plan, a clean technique, new training stimuli and enough relaxation guarantee you the maximum success with your dumbbell training
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