Dumbbells – Technogym Urethane 10kg – 40kg
Technogym rubber coated Urethane dumbbells. Commercial quality.
1. Bicep Curl
Muscles worked: Biceps, deltoids, brachialis and brachioradialis.
How: Holding a dumbbell in each hand and with your arms hanging by your sides, curl the weights up to shoulder level while contracting your biceps.
Why: This list wouldn’t be complete without curls, which are a perfect beginner exercise. The trick is not to go heavy; it’s all about lengthening and shortening the muscle so grab a weight you’re comfortable with and away you go.
2. Goblet Squat
Muscles worked: Quads, calves, glutes, abs, arms and grip strength.
How: Stand with feet set wider than shoulder-width and hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Sit back into a squat, then drive back up and repeat.
Why: Are you a nervous newbie or a long-time hard gainer? It doesn’t matter with this move. ‘Goblet squats are perfect for any level,’ says Frost. ‘They specifically target glute activation whilst improving both hip and thoracic mobility.’
3. Arnold Press
Muscles worked: Deltoids, triceps, traps.
How: Sit on a bench with dumbbells held in front of you, palms facing your shoulders as though you’ve just finished a bicep curl. Push the dumbbells up over your head while rotating your arms until your palms face away from you. Straighten your arms, pause, then reverse the movement.
Why: If the fact that it was invented by Schwarzenegger himself wasn’t already reason enough, this potent upper-body move is unique in that it hits all three sections of your deltoid – the round-looking muscle that caps your shoulders – adding thickness and width, and reinforcing the joint
4. Dumbbell Clean
Muscles worked: Glutes, calves, quads, biceps.
How: Flip your wrists so they face forwards and bring the weights to your shoulders, slightly jumping as you do. Slowly straighten your legs to stand. Then lower the weights down to your thigh before moving into squat position and repeating.
Why: If you want to look like an Olympian, you’ve got to train like one. ‘Incorporating these powerlifter lifts into your training will not only build lean muscle tissue but also build explosive power,’ says Frost. This move also rushes blood to your glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and arms to maximise your muscle-growing power.
5. Renegade Row
Muscles worked: Traps, lats, rhomboids, delts, abs, obliques, biceps, triceps, forearms.
How: Get into a press-up position with your hands on the handles of two dumbbells. Keeping your core tensed, row the right dumbbell up to your abs then return to the start position. Repeat with the left dumbbell to complete one rep.
Why: Build a strong back, ignite your abs, and develop anti-rotational core strength in one fell swoop. While it’s tempting to focus on the ‘row’ aspect of the movement, the secret to getting the most out of this move is to double down on your plank positioning.
6. Farmers’ Walk
Muscles worked: Upper back, shoulders, triceps and biceps, forearms, abs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, adductors, abductors and calf muscles.
How: Walk forward taking short, quick steps. Go for the given distance, as fast as possible.
Why: For once, there’s no sophisticated form rules to worry about (except for ‘brace your core’. Always brace your core). And you’ll supercharge your grip strength, which is a serious plus. Additionally, this move fortifies your rotator cuffs, protecting your shoulders from injury during bigger lifts.
7. Zottman Curl
Muscle worked: Biceps, brachialis and brachioradialis.
How: With a pair of dumbbells by your sides and with your palms facing forwards, curl the weights up to your shoulders. Once you reach the top of the movement pause, and then turn your hands so your palms are facing downwards as you slowly return then dumbbells back to the starting position using this overhand grip. When the dumbbells reach your thighs again, turn your hands so your palms are back in the starting position facing forward.
Why: As well as training your biceps, this move will also fire up your forearms.
8. Flat Dumbbell Fly
Muscles worked: Delts, pecs, rhomboids, serratus anterior, rotator cuffs, biceps.
How: Lie down on a flat bench holding two dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing inwards. Press the dumbbells up until your arms are almost fully extended. This is your starting position. From here, with a slight bend in your arms, arc the weights down to your sides until you feel a stretch across your chest. Squeeze your pecs to return the weights to the start position by reversing the movement.
Why: Believe it or not, this move is better than the bench press for stimulating the chest muscle fibres that spark growth – and you don’t need anywhere near as heavy weights to do it. Just take care not to lock your arms out during the extension, or you’ll transfer the load away from your pecs and onto your elbow joints.
9. Bent-Over Row
Muscles worked: Lats, shoulders, forearms, biceps, spinal erectors, hamstrings, glutes.
How: Keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest. Lower and repeat.
Why: ‘Rows will target several muscles in your upper body including the traps, rhomboids, lats and biceps perfect for getting you that ‘V’ shape,’ says Frost. And not only that, it’ll hone in on your deltoids to create some T-shirt-filling boulder shoulders, too.
10. Devil’s Press
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, calves, core, chest, shoulders and arms.
How: Holding both dumbbells, drop down into a press-up position and perform a burpee. As you begin to stand back up, use the momentum to swing the weights between your legs, then directly overhead. Lower under control, back to the ground and repeat.
Why: If you feel like burpees are getting too easy, try the devil’s press. Aside from the potent cardio hit, it builds power and strength with the addition of the dumbbells by using nearly every muscle in your body. They’ll make traditional burpees feel a breeze.
11. Two-Arm Dumbbell Stiff Legged Deadlift
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, erectors, lats, glutes.
How: Lower the dumbbells to the top of your feet, as far as you can go by extending through your waist, then slowly return to the starting position.
Why: It shreds your legs into powerful pins by targeting your fast-twitch lower-body muscles. Plus, stiff legged deadlifts ensure your entire posterior chain is functioning effectively and prevents hip and lower back injuries, says Frost. It’s one of the best free weight exercises to build up your lower body – injury free
12. Dumbbell Kickbacks
Muscles worked: Triceps.
How: Hinge at the hips by sending your hips behind your heels with a flat back. Start with your arms bent, bringing the dumbbells next to your thighs so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms behind you using your forearms. Return slowly to the start position and repeat.
Why: Hands up if you’re guilty of neglecting your triceps? Yeah, we thought as much. They mightn’t be mirror muscles, but strong tris are essential for effective upper-body training, and your chest and shoulders in particular stand to benefit. This move targets the lateral head – the most visible of the three heads on your tricep – to build sleeve-filling muscle.
13. One Arm Swing
Muscles worked: Glutes and hamstrings, abs, quads, shoulders.
How: Sink into a squat and swing the dumbbell through your legs before immediately driving yourself forward, bringing the weight up towards your head as you straighten your legs. Repeat this movement, then swap sides.
Why: With proper form, this swing will not only recruit muscles within your posterior chain but it will also build your grip strength, co-ordination, lower back muscles, quadriceps and shoulders. In other words, it’ll give you the momentum your body transformation workout needs. Most traditional kettlebell moves can be replicated.
14. Dumbbell Bench Press
Muscles worked: Pecs, shoulders, triceps, forearms, lats, traps, rhomboids.
How: 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.
Why: If you’re looking to build quality pecs appeal then always opt for a dumbbell press over barbell. Why? A weight in each hands allows for a greater stretch at the bottom of the lift, building a bigger chest. And if you want to take this move further? ‘Squeeze your pecs together at the top of the lift to recruit as many muscle fibres as possible,’ says Frost.
15. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Muscles worked: Delts, traps, triceps, pecs, core.
How: Position your feet shoulder-width apart and stand holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Return slowly to the start position.
Why: You want boulder shoulders, right? This compound move is essential for building strength, size and power. By performing it standing, you’ll recruit your abdominal muscles, which will improve your posture and stability. Be sure to brace your core throughout the full range of motion – protruding ribcages and arched backs are a no-go.
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