How to workout with a dumbbell

How to workout with a dumbbell

Karl Tafra

So you only have one dumbbell? Great, you have something to crush your training. Even a single dumbbell can add just enough challenge to your regular exercises that you can feel it the next day.

The most important thing about dumbbells is knowing how to hold them correctly to avoid hurting yourself or straining your back. And since most dumbbells look the same, you can apply the same technique with any type you can find in your gym or online.

Squats with dumbbells

Take a dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Take a deep breath and slowly begin to lower your hips down and back, as if trying to sit in an imaginary seat behind you. Keep your spine straight, your core engaged, and your chest lifted, but lift your belly button and tuck your hips in so you don’t create too much of a curve in your lower back.

Once you have reached your maximum depth (aim as parallel to the ground as possible), begin to exhale and straighten your legs. Push the floor away from your legs and keep your spine straight. At the end of your exhale, contract your glutes. Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Romanian Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Start in a standing position and bring your feet into a hip-wide position and keep them parallel. Take a dumbbell in your right hand and lift your right leg back. Place your left hand on your left hip, inhale and gently begin to bend over your left leg, bringing your right hand down, dumbbell close to the floor.

Exhale and use the power of your left leg to raise your body to a standing position. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise as your balance is challenged and maintain a straight back. Repeat 12 to 15 times and do the same on your right leg. Try to engage your hamstrings and feel them stretch and contract, avoiding the movement coming solely from your lower back.

Dumbbell snatch

Get into a standing position and part your stance a little wider than hip distance. Place the dumbbell on the floor between your legs and squat down. Grasp the dumbbell with your left hand and as you exhale lift the dumbbell up and in one full motion straighten your body and bring the dumbbell above your head.

Slowly return to your squat and lift explosively. Squeeze your glutes all the way up and keep your core active. Repeat 10 to 12 times and do the same with your right hand.

Adjustable dumbbells

No room for a full weight rack? These adjustable dumbbells are here to help!

Back dumbbells

Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and lean over a bench, chair, or other sturdy surface. Straighten your back and let your right arm fully extend to the floor, isolating your back muscles. Inhale and bend your right elbow, lifting the dumbbell close to your body. Exhale and relax as you extend your arm to the floor. Inhale and squeeze, exhale and expand.

Keep your elbow close to your body as you lift and fully engage your core. Repeat 12-15 times and do the same on the other side.

Dumbbell Plank Pulldowns

Start in a plank position with a dumbbell directly under your chest. Inhale and slide the dumbbell to your left using your left hand. Raise your right hand and grab the dumbbell to slide it to the right. Repeat this move 10-12 times and feel your abs and obliques burn each time you reach out.

If you want to take this exercise to the next level, instead of sliding the dumbbell down, lift it up and bring it to the side. Lifting the heavy dumbbell off the ground requires core strength and stability and it will really add a challenge to your workout.

dumbbell triceps

Rise to a standing position, grab the dumbbell with both hands, and bring it over your head so that it hangs above the space between your shoulder blades. Inhale and exhale, extend your arms above your head, extending your triceps. Inhale and bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Keep your elbows as parallel as possible and engage your core muscles to really isolate the triceps. If you feel your back is taking over and your form is compromised, sit down. Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Dumbbell Russian Twist

Sit on the floor and bring your legs together by bending your knees. Take the dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Lean your body back slightly to activate your core and begin twisting the dumbbell from your left hip to your right hip, feeling your abs and obliques on fire.

You can leave your feet on the floor or go to the next level and lift your legs. If you do, squeeze your legs together so they feel like one big limb and isolate your core as much as possible to reap the benefits. Go for 20-30 twists.


If you’re more of a kettlebell than a dumbbell, try this workout instead!


#workout #dumbbell

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