Menu Close

5 Of The Best Dumbbell Exercises For Beginners

man lifting dumbbell

Below is a selection of our favourite go-to exercises for not only beginners but those also back on the road to recovery from injury.

Bicep Curls

Want to build those biceps? Then give this little exercise a go, Be aware of your posture, Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length  Slowly curl the dumbbells up to your chest and then back down again.

Keep your elbows pinned to your sides, as soon as your elbow comes up you are shifting the emphasis away from your biceps and onto your shoulders.

You should feel the muscle lengthening and shortening as you curl those arms. You can change grip to target different heads of the muscle but for a beginner we recommend using a palms facing up grip.

Overhead Press/Shoulder Press

We like this one as it’s one of the toughest movements you can do with weights due to the shoulder muscles being smaller than most other muscles in the body.

You can do this standing or sitting depending on much ceiling height is available,

Hold a pair of dumbbells by your shoulders with your elbows out to the sides and bent at 90°. Extend through your elbows and press the weights overhead, then slowly bring them back to the starting position, or try alternating by pushing one hand up while lowering the other.

Ensure you don’t arch your back too much because If you do you’ll probably end up using your upper chest instead of your shoulders.

Triceps Kickback

Our third favourite is working the triceps, if you’re looking to define your arms this is the one that will make them look bigger quicker.

Put one knee on a flat surface preferably a bench, this setup will help perform the exercise comfortably. Now hinge at the hips to bend over. Raise your arms with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle so that they’re parallel to the ground. Straighten both arms out and reach back with the weights, squeezing your triceps to hold them in position.

Brace your core to help keep your arms in place. Lower your left arm down to the starting position while keeping your right arm straight, then lower your right arm after a beat. Repeat to raise both arms again, but lower your right arm first.

Make sure that your upper arm stays still throughout the exercise otherwise you’ll get your back and shoulders to help take the load off of your main target.

Kneeling One Arm Row

One of the best back exercise anyone can do using a dumbbell. The action of putting your knee and hand on a flat bench will make targeting your middle back muscles (lats) very comfortable and effective.

While your lats will do most of the work, the rear deltoid muscle will also be solicited in helping raise the dumbbell.

Put your left leg on the bench and grab the far side with your left hand, then bend over so your upper body is parallel with the ground. Reach down and pick up the dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip (palm facing you), then hold it with your arm extended, keeping your back straight.

Bring the dumbbell up to your chest, concentrating on lifting it with your back and shoulder muscles rather than your arms. At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder and back muscles. Lower the dumbbell slowly until your arm is fully extended again. Keep all your reps on one arm before switching to the other side.

Chest Flye

Lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet on the floor, exaggerate the arch in your lower back slightly. This will help keep the tension on your chest as opposed to your shoulders

Hold the dumbbells above your chest with your arms almost straight, palms facing each other. Slowly lower them out to the sides, and then bring them back up above your chest. Your arms should have a slight bend in the elbows throughout.

Most pressing chest movements will enlist the help of the shoulders and triceps, but flyes keep the focus purely on the chest.