How to Do an Effective Full Body Dumbbell Workout

Every health-nut out there yearns to get the most out of every workout session and to improve your physical and muscular fitness by properly utilizing the best equipment on the market.  But, have you ever stopped to consider that you could get just as great of results from a full body dumbbell workout?

You did in fact read that last sentence correctly.  It IS very possible to get a full body workout with just the assistance of dumbbells.  There is no need for expensive machines, barbells or a gym membership to get the results you’ve been looking for.

How can you achieve the results you want with dumbbells?  Which dumbbell workouts are right for you and target specific muscles?

To many people’s surprise, dumbbells can work almost every muscle group in the body, include extremities and even the midsection.  Most people begin working with their core muscles before spreading out to limb exercises.  The chest, shoulders, and back are the three main muscle groups that should be worked out and toned in order to obtain the fitness you are looking for.

A few things to keep in mind: (1) always take part in warm up in order to pump blood to the muscles that will be doing the heavy lifting; and (2) be prepared to perform exercises that target multiple muscle groups at the same time to ensure prime results.

The Chest

The pectorals, or chest, may be the easiest muscle group to target during dumbbell workouts.  The bench press is the main exercise that almost every gym junkie is familiar with.  There are three variations of bench press that target three different chest areas:

  • Lower chest: reclined press
  • Middle chest: flat press
  • Upper chest: inclined press

You can also lay the bench flat and do flies to expand and stretch the pectoral muscles.  The same muscle movement can be accomplished via bench presses if you hold a dumbbell in each hand.

The Shoulders

Your deltoids are the main muscles of your shoulders.  In order to achieve a good dumbbell workout you can begin with sitting shoulder overhead presses.  Front dumbbell raises are also excellent for targeting the anterior deltoids.  Many other shoulder exercises can be done using dumbbells, including the lateral raise.

The Back

The largest muscles in your body are held within your back, which covers most of your chest and shoulders.  The latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius, and rhomboid muscles are the three main targets during back workouts.  For an effective dumbbell workout be sure to focus on specific target regions:

  • Kneeling one arm row: Put one knee on top of the bench with an arm supporting the rest of your body.  Place your opposite leg to the side and grab onto the dumbbell from the floor.  Lift the dumbbell up to your chest while keeping your back straight.  This is great for all three back muscles.  Repeat on the opposite arm.
  • Dumbbell bent over row: Keeping your knees bent, bend at the waist while keeping your back straight.  With your arms hanging to the floor, grab the dumbbells and pull them straight up to your chest.  This is another great workout for your three major back muscles.

The Limbs

The arms can be divided into biceps, triceps, and forearms.  The best dumbbell workouts for these muscle groups are listed below:

  •  Forearms: move your palms up and down to perform wrist curls
  • Triceps: lying triceps extensions, two-arm triceps extension, one-arm triceps extension and triceps kickbacks
  • Biceps: inclined seated bicep curl, concentration curl, alternating bicep curl, hammer curl, and straight-forward bicep curls

Don’t forget about your legs!  There is a whole plethora of exercises available to strengthen them:

  • Toe raises: Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand with your heels lifted by forcing yourself up onto your toes.  Lower your body down to a normal standing position and repeat.
  • Squats: Hold one dumbbell with both hands in between your thighs.  You can swing the dumbbell or simply hold it in front of you while you squat down.
  • Lunges: Holding both dumbbells at your side, take a step forward and lower yourself to the group, forming a 90-degree angle with your legs.  Return to a standing position and repeat with the opposite leg.

The Abdominals

The upper body is a huge target of dumbbell workouts and can be used to work the upper and lower regions of your midsections, as well as obliques.

  • side bend: holding a dumbbell with one hand tilt your body to the side, remembering to bend at the waist.  Pause and return to the starting position.  Repeat on the other side.
  • weighted leg raise: place a dumbbell between your feet while laying down flat on a bench.  Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor and then lower back down.
  • weighted crunch: Lay on a flat surface and hold a dumbbell on top of your chest.  Lift your upper body forward into a crunch position and lower back down.

All of these moves are very simple and comprise your full body dumbbell workout that will definitely provide positive results.  The best part about this routine is that it can be done in the comfort of your own home by buying the perfect set of dumbbells for you.  These can be found at our review of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, and you can begin your new workouts in no time.