When you have dumbbells only and still need to get results from your workout, print this list of dumbbell only exercises!
When my gym closed down exactly one week ago, I was devastated! I’m 12 weeks away from a bodybuilding show, and I had really started to see some muscle gains. The weights I was lifting were getting progressively heavier and my time in the gym felt very productive. But mostly, I was so very consistent. I never missed a day.
Until…. the gym closed. My first workout at home was depressing. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to maintain the muscle I had built from lifting the light weights I had at home.
After two days of feeling sorry for myself, I realized there was no use in complaining. I had to make the most of my home workouts, because I have no idea when the gyms will open up again.
Now, exactly one week later, I can honestly say I love the workouts I’ve been doing. In fact, I was even sore after my last lower body workout. Who know’s.. I just might save my gym membership and make home workouts a regular thing.
Tips for getting started
I had 5 lb and 8lb dumbbells. My son had 25 lb dumbbells. So, I figured, If I just got some 10, 15, and 20 lbs, I’d be set. Dumbbells are not cheap. I was aiming for under $1/lb ,and found some at Dick’s for really close to that. Walmart and Target were completely sold out when I went to look for some! (here’s some on Amazon, but the pricing fluctuates) Regardless of where you get them from, it definitely helps to have a few different weights to work with.
For the workout, I like to have a list and choose two from each muscle group to do. That way, I can mix it up, and do the exercises I’m in the mood for. To add variety and challenge to muscles, I also split the workouts like this:
- Day 1: Upper body day- Low weights, high reps.
- Day 2: Lower body day: Low weights, high reps.
- Day 3: Upper body day: Heavy weight, low reps
- Day 4: Lower body day: Heavy weight, low reps.
I also like to throw in some pulses and very slow, controlled movements to activate the muscles even more.
Upper body dumbbell exercises
For the sake of the upcoming bikini show, I’m really focusing on shoulders. Building your shoulders can give your body the appearance of having a smaller waist, so many bikini competitors will try to make their shoulders stand out a little more.
- Overhead press
- Lateral raise
- Front raise- variations: Both arms lifted and alternating arms.
- Upright row
- Bent over dumbbell raise
- Arnold press
- Bent over, two arm row
- Single arm row (in a lunge or on a bench)
- Deadlift (focusing on using your upper back to lift)
- Bent over fly
- Upright row
- Dumbbell pullover
- Lying down chest press (on a ball or bench)
- Dumbell fly, lying down (on a ball or bench)
- Pushups (variation, incline pushups)
- Bicep reverse grip curls
- Hammer curls
- Bicep palms up grip curls
- Single arm concentration curl
- Overhead , single dumbbell tricep extension
- Tricep kickbacks
- Tricep dips on edge, counter, or bench
- skull crusher
Lower body dumbbell exercises
Everyone has their favorites, and I love leg day! Especially glutes. I’d train them all day long if my body would let me. Here are my favorite lower body exercises that you only need dumbbells for!
I strongly believe you shouldn’t make exercises complicated. You will get more out of basic exercises than trying to get creative. Classic moves will give you big results.
Although I’ve broken these down into muscle groups, most of these exercises are going to stimulate glutes, hamstrings and quads altogether.
- Hip thrusts
- Sumo squats
- Close feet squats
- Squats with heel elevated
- Single leg deadlift
- Reverse lunges
- Walking lunges
- Glute bridge
- Dumbbell step ups
- Dumbbell lateral lunges
- Rear foot elevated split squat.
- Lunge with hold at the bottom.
- Standing calf raises (single foot and double)
For a google spreadsheet file of this that you can copy for your own and edit, use this link. You can’t edit unless you make your own copy and save it to your own drive.