Dumbbells are a great piece of kit to use. Versatile and accessible, they can be used for multiple exercises to build strength in your upper body, lower body and core. They work both sides of the body evenly so your weaker side doesn’t have an easy ride and you develop strength and size evenly.
The unstable nature of holding dumbbells also means your stabiliser muscles have to work hard to keep you steady while you perform the movement. Without realising it, you’ll strengthen areas like your core, helping to prevent injury.
Aim for 10 repetitions of each move, or as many as you’re comfortable with, rest, then repeat for a total of 3 sets.
Working out at home and don’t have dumbbells? Try using 2 bags of flour/sugar.
A great way to build your chest strength and develop pecs, using dumbbells will work more muscles around the shoulders and chest than using a barbell as they’re forced to keep the weights stable. Make sure you squeeze your pecs together at the top of the lift to recruit as many muscle fibres as possible.
Lie on a flat bench holding two dumbbells over your chest with an overhand grip. Push up until your arms are straight, then lower under control.
Seated tricep extension
A great exercise for everyone, tricep extensions help build muscle in the upper arms. The triceps are not a muscle many people work, so go with a lighter weight here. Focus on keeping your back straight so you isolate the triceps and make sure your arms are completely straight at the top of the exercise.
Sit on a chair and hold one dumbbell with both hands directly above your head. Slowly flex your elbows and lower the weight behind your head as you keep your upper arms still. Extend your arms and repeat.
This video was produced with the help of Maureen, Coach at David Lloyd Beckenham. If you have any questions about any of the equipment in your local club, one of the expert trainers on the gym floor will always be happy to help you.