• 10 Simple Dumbbell Exercises for Beginners

    We’ve all been there…

    You’re sat at home watching tv, the orange dust of the bag of wotsits you’re chomping on stains your fingers, when an advertisement flashes on to the screen with ripped bodies and PULSATING pieces of raw flesh, and you think “yeah…yeah I fancy a bit of that!” so you lick your fingers clean then promise yourself you’ll make a change.

    But what’s this? You stroll in to the gym, take a look at the free-weights area and it’s full of what would appear to be a different species of human. Great hulking figures with veins popping out all over their large surface areas.

    And we all know “if there’s one thing women love, it’s a vascular man”

    Every fibre of your being says “well, I’m not going over there!”, but hear this friend:

    1. No one’s actually too bothered how big your arms/shoulders/back/legs are, don’t be intimidated, you’ll find people are more helpful than scornful.
    2. Go at your own pace. See that huge guy over there? He probably started on similar weights that you are.

    Often if you don’t start with the light weights or even just bodyweight exercises you will find it hard to progress to bigger weights, and could risk injury by doing too much too soon. It is like building a house and the simplest exercises are the foundations for more advanced and heavier weights in the future.

    Now that you’re in the gym and you’ve shed the initial “Oh sh*t! People can see doing physical activity” thing, you’ll need something to get you started, and that’s we’ve written you this handy blog.

    Here are 10 very simple dumbbell exercises that can provide you a healthy, full body work-out base to start from on your journey to RIPPEDNESS.

    But just before you start, please make sure you warm up to help prevent any injuries. To help you out we’ve created a quick guide for the purpose of a warm up.

    We’ll take a trip from the feet up, starting with the legs…

    Goblet Squat

    The Goblet squat is a great way for beginners as well as long-time gym goers to make some leg gains without having to squat with a barbell. It will improve your hip mobility and build those glutes, which are often left too dormant with excessive sitting.

    How to perform:

    Firstly stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width and hold and dumbbell in both hands in front of your chest. Then sit down in to the squat, before driving back up to perform.


    Those are only words, but words aren’t all I have to take your heart away, here’s a handy video demonstration so you can perfect your technique too:


    Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

    A great way to work your legs and stay injury free, the stiff legged deadlift with dumbbells is great for targeting the leg muscles like the hamstring. It also helps build up the posterior chain, which helps provide power and prevent injury, throughout the kinetic chain.

    How to perform:

    Whole holding both dumbbells, lower them towards your feet without bending your legs, going as far as you can before the pressure becomes too much.  Then return to your starting position.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    Step Ups

    Step-ups are a great way to build up your glutes, and that posterior chain with a functional movement. The glutes are a huge part in extending and rotating from the hip joint.

    How to perform:

    While using an elevated platform, place your right foot on top of it and push through your heel to lift yourself and place your left foot on the platform also. Then step down with the left foot, remembering to focus on flexing the hip.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    Farmers Walk

    The farmers walk is one of the best things you can do for grip strength, and whole body conditioning and stabilisation, which is vitally important if you plan to transition to heavier lifts involving barbells.

    How to perform:

    The farmers walk is one of the simplest moves you can do, simply hold the dumbbells and walk! Set a distance, and take short quick steps to your target.

    It’s simple, but just in case, here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    On to some more full-body movements now…


    Dumbbell Clean

    Moves like the dumbbell clean are made for explosive power while also helping build lean muscle. Used by Olympians and powerlifters, it’s great way to increase mass.

    How to perform:

    Start hunched down with the dumbbells touching the floor with the inside of your wrists facing you, then explode up, flipping up the dumbbells so your wrists face the opposite direction, sitting down in to a mini squat. Then straighten your legs to stand, before lowering the weights and going to back in to the starting position.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:

    Bench Press

    This one you’ll have heard of. Bench press is great move for increasing size and strength in the chest, as well as sneakily target the smaller muscles behind your shoulder blades too, which are vital for posture. By using dumbbells, you’re also able to get a better stretch at the bottom of the lift, as opposed to a barbell, where the bar itself limits how low you can go.

    How to perform:

    Laying down on a bench holding the dumbbells above you, lower the dumbbells to chest level at the sides of your chest, keeping your elbows from flaring out. Then push up and repeat. Make sure not to ‘lock-out’ the joint, which is when the arms are fully straight, as this can put pressure on the joints.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    Bent Over Row

    The bent over row is a big part of any back workout routine. It targets the traps, lats, biceps and even the deltoids, meaning it’s great for overall back development. These muscles can lose tone and strength by spending increasing amounts of time at computers, driving or sitting looking down at mobile phone screens.

    How to perform:

    With knees slightly bent, bend over so your back is almost parallel to the ground. With the dumbbells hanging down, raise them towards your chest. Lower and repeat.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    One for the arms now…

    Cross Body Hammer Curl

    Sure, we’d recommend you use fuller-body moves that engage more muscles, but at the end of the day, everyone wants big arms. Use this one-arm-at-a-time move to engage more muscle fibers.

    How to perform:

    One arm at a time, curl each dumbbell up and then towards your opposing shoulder, then repeat on the other side.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    Finally, some shoulder action.

    Dumbbell Overhead Press

    The overhead press, be it with dumbbells or a barbell, is a vital part of any shoulder workout, focussing in on the deltoids.

    How to perform:

    Start with both dumbbells held upright at shoulder/head level. Then raise both arms upwards, making sure to stop before ‘locking-out’ the joint to ensure as little impact on your joints as possible.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:


    Side Raises

    This exercise is great for targeting the stabilising muscles in the shoulder which can help strengthen them, meaning rotator cuff overuse injuries should be less likely. We often forget about the smaller muscles when lifting weights but they are often the ones that provide control at a joint and training these will help minimise injuries and help gain maximum strength.

    How to perform:

    While holding the dumbbells down by your sides, start raising the weights, keeping your arms straight at all times, trying to get to T shape with your arms and body. Then slowly return to the start position.

    Here’s a video to help you with your technique:

    Once you’ve completed these great dumbbell exercises please make sure you cool down after to avoid causing muscle injuries. To help out we’ve have created a great cool down guide for you.

    One last thing to note, a healthy diet and periods of rest are implied! You need a healthy diet, in particular protein intake after heavy exercise, will help repair the muscles and ensure maximum gains are made from training. Perhaps most importantly good rest is needed to ensure you adapt to the training. Focusing on the same muscles every day will cause fatigue whereas implementing a couple of rest days will help the muscles gain strength then perform better at the next session. This is why you hear people in a gym talk about “leg” or “arm days” it’s not a new fitness specific calendar but a way of ensuring muscle groups get some rest after hard training!