Dumbbell Exercises – The Ultimate List

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Choose from the muscle groups listed below, to jump to the specific exercises:

CHEST EXERCISES

Bent-Arm Dumbbell Pullover

The bent-arm dumbbell pullover is an excellent way to strengthen your chest. To reduce your risk of injury and maximize the efficacy of the workout, you should follow the following instructions:

  • Place a dumbbell on a flat bench.
  • Lay sideways on the flat bench, with only your shoulders touching the surface of the bench.
  • Grasp the dumbbell with two hands and hold it above your chest while keeping a bend in your arms.
  • While keeping your arms bent, lower the dumbbell in an arc behind your head.
  • Return the dumbbell to its starting position by re-tracing the arc.
  • Hold in this initial position for around 1 second.
  • Continue until you have completed your desired number of reps.

For more detailed instructions, have a look at this video:

Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

The single-arm dumbbell bench press is an excellent exercise for working your core. Though it is a reasonably straightforward workout, it is still essential that you practice proper technique. Follow the steps outlined below, or the video below, to make sure that you are on the right track:

  • Lay back on the weight bench with a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Raise the dumbbell into the air, fully extending your arm.
  • Lower the dumbbell by bending your arm at the elbow until the dumbbell has returned to chest level.
  • Complete the desired number of reps, then switch arms and begin again.

Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press is an exercise that works the Pectorals Major and Clavicular. The following instructions should be followed to perform the dumbbell bench press appropriately:

  • Lay flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. The palm of your hands should be facing each other while the dumbbells rest on top of your thighs.
  • Use your thighs to help raise the dumbbells and position them, so they are even with your shoulders.
  • Rotate your wrists, so your palms are facing the ceiling. At this point, the dumbbells should be just to the sides of your chest – this will be your starting position for the exercise.
  • Use your chest muscles to push the dumbbells up towards the ceiling simultaneously.
  • Bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position slowly and repeat for your desired amount of repetitions.

See the following video for an example on how to properly perform the dumbbell bench press:

BACK EXERCISES

Dumbbell Incline Row

The dumbbell incline row focuses on strength while targeting the middle back muscles. Many people tend to perform this exercise incorrectly, especially at the beginner’s level. Here are some necessary steps on how to execute the dumbbell incline row correctly using the proper technique:

  • Take a dumbbell with each hand using a neutral grip.
  • Lean into an incline bench and ensure your arms are straight – this is your starting position.
  • Row the dumbbells up to your sides into a 45-degree angle by retracting the shoulder blades and flexing the elbows.
  • Return to your original starting position and pause briefly. Repeat for each rep.

The video below shows the correct technique for this exercise: https://youtu.be/aeikxE6b-Sw

Dumbbell Bend To The Opposite Foot

How to do a Dumbbell Bend to the Opposite Foot:

  • Start with both of your arms at your sides, palms towards you
  • Then begin bending at the waist while moving your right hand towards your left foot
  • Stop when your hand is above your foot
  • Begin lifting yourself back up
  • Stop when you return to the standing position
  • Then begin bending at the waist while moving your left hand towards your right foot
  • Stop when your hand is above your foot
  • Begin lifting yourself back up
  • Stop when you return to the standing position

Here is a video example:

Dumbbell Middle Back Shrug

The dumbbell middle back shrug works out your arms & middle back. Below are the steps detailing how to perform this exercise.

  • With a dumbbell in each hand, lay chest-down on an incline bench with palms facing inward. Keep arms slightly extended and elbows slightly bent -this will be your initial position.
  • Keep your arms extended somewhat, and elbows slightly bent – this will be your initial position.
  • Keeping your arms stationary, begin to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you contract your muscles for one full second while exhaling.
  • Inhale as you return to the initial position.
  • Repeat these steps for your desired amount of reps.

This video shows you how to perform a dumbbell middle back shrug properly:

ARM EXERCISES

Standing Dumbbell Reverse Curl

The standing dumbbell reverse curl strengthens the upper body. Below are instructions on how to execute this workout properly to achieve the maximum results:

  • Standing straight, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Have feet shoulder-width apart and arms fully extended – this is your starting position.
  • Without moving your elbow, curl the weights towards your shoulders.
  • Squeeze and hold this position for one second.
  • Slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for as many reps as desired.

Below is a video showing you how to complete the standing dumbbell reverse curl correctly:

Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension

To perform this movement safely, be sure to choose an appropriate weight and maintain proper form throughout the movement.

  • Starting position: standing with feet about shoulder-width apart, core engaged, arms extended overhead, wrists straight, and grasping the dumbbell firmly.
  • Slowly bend your elbows so that the dumbbell lowers behind your head, keeping your upper arms stationary near your ears. Do not allow your elbows to flare out to the sides.
  • Once your elbows are bent 90 degrees, raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  • Repeat until you have completed the desired number of reps.

Here is a useful video demonstrating the exercise:

Dumbbell Incline Inner Biceps Curl

The inner bicep curl is an arm exercise that works an often-underused muscle group to create a more evenly-toned appearance. Follow the steps below to maximize your results:

  • Lie back on an incline bench
  • Start with your arms fully extended, holding the dumbbells with your palms facing up
  • Breathe out as you curl the weight out and up, keeping your arms tight at your sides
  • Continue the curl until the dumbbells reach your shoulders
  • Add an extra contraction here before lowering the dumbbells again

This video illustrates the correct form:

Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbell floor press is a resistance training exercise that targets the triceps brachii and pectoralis major muscles, as well as the trapezius, deltoid and back muscle. It’s performed in a similar manner as a barbell bench press but with a few nuances. To perform a dumbbell floor press correctly, refer to the following steps.

  • Lie flat with your back against the floor
  • Keep your knees slightly bent
  • While resting your elbow and upper arm on the floor, hold a dumbbell in each hand
  • Fully extend your arms above your body, raising the dumbbells in the process
  • Hold the dumbbells in place for a few seconds and slowly bring your arms back to the resting position

The video below walks you through the process of performing a dumbbell floor press.

Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Despite its name, this exercise doesn’t just work your triceps. If you do it properly, you will also target your biceps and shoulder muscles. Follow the steps below to get the most out of this workout:

  • Start by lying back on a flat bench
  • Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing towards each other and your arms straight
  • Breathe in as you slowly lower the weights towards your ears, bending the elbows but keeping your upper arms stationary
  • Breathe out as you return to the starting position

The video below shows you how to perfect your form:

Standing Bent Over Single Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Performing a standing bent over single-arm dumbbell tricep extension will target all parts of the tricep horseshoe so long as you maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

  • Feet shoulder-width apart
  • Pick up a dumbbell with the palm facing inward
  • Bend at the hips to an almost parallel to the ground angle
  • Lift your upper arm to make a 90-degree angle with your forearm
  • Contract the tricep extending the dumbbell back while keeping the upper arm stationary
  • Extend until your elbow is locked out
  • Return forearm to a 90-degree position in a controlled manner

Ensure your upper arm doesn’t move throughout the exercise.

This video demonstrates the exercise:

Dumbbell Incline Hammer Curls

How to do Dumbbell Incline Hammer Curls:

  • You will start with a bench adjusted to a 45-degree incline
  • Sit on the bench with your feet firmly on the floor
  • Allow your arms to hang naturally, with weights in both hands
  • Begin to raise both of your hands together, bending at the elbow with palms facing you
  • Stop when the weights nearly make contact with your shoulders
  • Begin to lower your hands together, bending at the elbow with palms facing you
  • Stop when your hands and arms return to a position where they are hanging down naturally

Here is a video example:

Palms Up Dumbbell Wrist Curl Over A Bench

To begin, grab your dumbbells and knee, so your body is facing the bench.

With your palms facing up, begin curling your wrists upwards, making sure your forearms never leave the bench. The only body parts that should be moving during this exercise are your wrists.

Lower your wrists back down, so they’re hanging over the edge of the bench. Be sure to inhale while performing this step.

Repeat the exercise for the desired amount of repetitions.

The video below demonstrates how to do this exercise correctly:

SHOULDER EXERCISES

Side Dumbbell Raise

The side dumbbell raise is an exercise that works your shoulders. Read below to correctly perform this exercise for maximum muscular growth while preventing injury. Below are the steps necessary to complete the side dumbbell raise.

  • Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells at your side with your feet at hips-width
  • Raise your arms out to the sides until they’re at shoulder level.
  • Pause
  • Lower the weights back to your side

Below is a video showing you how to perform a side dumbbell raise properly:

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The Dumbbell Shoulder Press strengthens your shoulder muscles. Read below to correctly perform this exercise for maximum muscular growth while preventing injury. Below are the steps necessary to complete the standing dumbbell shoulder press.

  • Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells at your side with your feet at hips-width
  • Slightly bend your elbows while raising your upper arms to shoulder level
  • Push the dumbbells upward until the ends of the dumbbells touch slightly
  • Lower the dumbbells back to ear level

Below is a link visually showing you how to properly perform a dumbbell shoulder press:

Dumbbell Lying Rear Delt Raise

The dumbbell lying rear delt raise is an excellent exercise for shoulders. Having proper form is vital to get the most out of the exercise and to avoid straining yourself.

Here is how to perform a dumbbell lying rear delt raise:

  • Lie flat on the bench with your face down and two dumbbells in hand, arms resting on your sides
  • Keep elbows bent slightly and palms facing inward
  • Raise arms until elbows are about shoulder height and arms are parallel to the ground
  • Hold at full extension for a second or two
  • Lower slowly back down and repeat

Here’s a video of the exercise to visualize how it’s done:

Dumbbell Tate Press

The Dumbbell Tate Press works your arms. Below are the steps needed to perform one properly:

  • Lie on a flat bench with your chest up, shoulders back, and abs tight.
  • With your palms facing your feet and your arms straight, hold the dumbbells above your shoulders – this will be your start position.
  • Keeping your elbows pointed to the sides and only moving your forearms, slowly lower dumbbells towards your chest, inhaling while doing so. Hold this position for one second, not allowing the dumbbells to rest on your chest.
  • Exhale while extending arms back to start position.
  • Squeeze triceps hard before starting the next rep.

The video below shows the correct way to perform a Dumbbell Tate Press:

Dumbbell Iron Cross

How to do a Dumbbell Iron Cross:

  • Start with both arms at your sides and with your palms facing forward
  • Keeping both arms straight, lift both weights straight up from your sides
  • Continue to raise both arms until they are parallel to the ground
  • Keeping both arms straight, bring both of them forward
  • Continue this movement until both of your hands are in front of you
  • Bring both arms back, keeping them parallel to the ground
  • Continue this movement until both arms are straight out from your sides
  • Lower both arms back to your sides

Here’s a video example of how to perform the exercise:

Cuban Dumbbell Press

The Cuban Dumbbell Press is a great warm-up or recovery workout for upper body exercise. It strengthens one’s rotator cuff and makes doing presses, pull-ups, and push-ups easier.

Below are the steps detailing how to do a ​Cuban Dumbbell Press:

  • After choosing a light-weight dumbbell (ideally 5 or 10lbs), pull arms up to sternum level
  • Keeping wrists straight, perform an overhead press
  • Repeat for 10 to 20 reps

Here’s a video showing you how to execute a Cuban Dumbbell Press properly:

Dumbbell Shrug

The dumbbell shrug is a shoulder exercise. Form and technique are critical to ensure you’re doing this workout properly. Follow the four steps below to execute a dumbbell shrug correctly.

  • A dumbbell in each hand and arms extended to your side, stand tall.
  • Exhaling and elevating your shoulders as high as you can, lift the dumbbells.

(NOTE: Do not use your biceps to help you lift the dumbbells; your shoulders should be the only body part moving up and down. Arms should remain extended at all times during this exercise.)

  • Hold this position for one second.
  • Lower the dumbbells.

Below is a video showing how to perform a dumbbell shrug properly:

Alternating Dumbbells Deltoid Raise

The Alternating Dumbbells Deltoid Raises strengthens your arm muscles. There is a way to correctly perform this exercise to obtain maximum muscular growth while preventing injury. Below are the steps necessary to successfully perform the alternating dumbbells deltoid raise.

  • Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells at your side
  • Slightly bend your elbows then lift the weights in front of you to shoulder height. Do not swing as you lift weights.
  • Return the weights to your side.
  • For the next repetition, laterally raise the weights, lifting them out to your side to shoulder height
  • Return weights to the starting position and alternate them to the front and side.

This video shows you how to do the alternating dumbbells deltoid raise workout:

LEG EXERCISES

Dumbbell Squat

The Dumbbell Squat is an exercise that works and activates your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, gluteal muscles, as well as other lower extremity muscles. This is an excellent exercise for beginners as well as experienced weight lifters. You must have a proper stance to ensure the exercise is performed correctly. Here are some instructions to show you how to perform this exercise.

  • Stand with feet parallel with your shoulders (feet should point straight forward)
  • Hands should be palm facing towards the thighs
  • Start bending down with your face facing forward, back straight, and chest-high until your thighs are parallel with the floor and your knees should be going the same direction as your feet
  • Hold for a second and extend back up to the original position
  • Repeat to your satisfaction

Dumbbell Lunges

The dumbbell lunge works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Follow the steps below to perform this workout correctly:

  • Begin with feet together, slightly inward, and shoulder width.
  • Take a step forward with one leg. Ensure that the step is not too big. Large steps increase the risk of injury to one’s back and legs. Bend the opposite leg.
  • Push off with the first leg to again be in a standing position.

This exercise can be performed one leg at a time, or you can choose to alternate legs.

Below is a video showing how the dumbbell lunge is to be performed:

Dumbbell Clean

The dumbbell clean is an exercise that works your hamstrings & arms. To ensure that a dumbbell clean is performed properly to maximize muscle growth as well as to prevent injury, you must have proper form and technique. Below are the steps detailing how this workout should be executed:

  • Push glutes back
  • Stand tall and squeeze glutes
  • Shrug your shoulders and squat while lifting dumbbells above your shoulders
  • Stand
  • Choose to perform either a push press or a shoulder press

Below is a link visually showing you how to properly perform a dumbbell clean:

ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

Dumbbell Side Bend

The Dumbbell Side Bend is an ab workout. There is a way to do this exercise properly that will help you to avoid injury and maximize your workout results. Below are detailed steps to ensure you have proper form and body movements.

  • Holding the dumbbell in your left hand, stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bring your right hand to your external oblique
  • Stretch to the left, inhaling as you do so
  • Contract to the right, exhaling as you do so

Switch the dumbbell to your right hand, and do this process all over again.

The video below gives you a visual of how this exercise should be done.