The 8 Best Dumbbell Exercises For Beginners

Using dumbbells as a beginner is a way to ensure good results. They are the most effective tool for beginners to use in their training due to their simplicity and variety of movements. Have a look through these 8 exercises you can add to your workouts today.

5 min read
Sean's profile
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
15/06/22
Last updated
12/01/23
In This Resource
  • Are Dumbbell Workouts Good For Beginners?
  • Benefits Of Dumbbell Training For Beginners
  • 1. Muscle Gain
  • 2. Strength Training
  • 3. Low Skill Training Exercises
  • How To Start Training With Dumbbells
  • Keep It Simplistic
  • Keep Training Low Frequency
  • Beginner Dumbbell Exercises For Full Body Workouts
  • Sample Dumbbell Workout for Beginners
  • Common Questions
  • Can I Use Dumbbell Exercise to Build My Back?
  • How much Dumbbell Should A Beginner Lift?
  • How Long Should A Beginner Workout With Dumbbells?
  • Can I Use Beginner Dumbbell Exercise Everyday?
  • References

Are Dumbbell Workouts Good For Beginners?

Dumbbell training is a great entry point for people getting into resistance training. Dumbbells often come in very light weights and require very little skill learning, unlike the barbell, making them very beginner friendly.

Benefits Of Dumbbell Training For Beginners

1. Muscle Gain

Dumbbells are excellent for high repetition work which will enable beginners to put on muscle mass very easily. Using dumbbells consistently with good technique and maintaining a good diet, you will be able to gain muscle in all the foundational muscle groups.

2. Strength Training

As beginners can get stronger from almost any style of training, using dumbbells even in a higher repetition range will still allow a substantial increase in strength. This make dumbbell training a great way for beginners to increase their strength.

3. Low Skill Training Exercises

Some pieces of equipment are more effective for advanced trainees while others are great entry points for beginners, dumbbell exercises are the later. A lot of dumbbell exercises are simple and easy to learn, meaning the focus can be on the physiological adaptation and not the technique, which is excellent for beginners.

How To Start Training With Dumbbells

Keep It Simplistic

Some dumbbell exercise are harder than others, until you feel at ease with the easy movements don’t try and learn the more advanced movements you can do with dumbbells. I know this sounds obvious but the majority of people are trying to rush their progress in the weight room and want to run before they can walk.

Keep Training Low Frequency

When starting your training journey, its easy to get over enthusiastic and want to train hard 5+ days a week. This often leads to either lack of motivation or injury. Make sure you start with 2-3 days a week and us appropriate volume for each of the exercises.

Beginner Dumbbell Exercises For Full Body Workouts

Dumbbells workouts for beginners are an excellent way to improve the position of your health and wellness. Creating a full body dumbbell workout with the exercises in this list would be a great way to start your training with a dumbbell. Remember how important proper form is to both avoiding injury and improving fitness.

This program is just a sample of the thousand different variation of a beginner workout with dumbbells. In this workout the goal is to touch upon multiple different movement patterns in order to work the entire body in one session. This includes the back, arms, lower body and chest.

This type of full body training is very effective for beginners as it allows them to see progress on all areas of the body while only doing 1-2 sessions per week. Just isolating a muscle group will result in needing high training frequency which can be difficult for beginners.

You will need to consider how many reps and which weight to use for each lift, pick something that is moderately challenging but not so hard that you can’t complete the number of repetitions. If you don’t feel confident using this information to move into doing a session, hiring a personal trainer can be a great way for people starting out in weight training.

Sample Dumbbell Workout for Beginners

Step 1 - 4 Rounds

  • DB Floor Press x 12
  • Goblet Reverse Lunge x 8/8
  • DB Hip Thrust x 15
  • Step 2 - 3 Rounds

  • DB Strict Press x 12
  • Hands Elevated Renegade Row x 8/8
  • Double DB Farmers March x 10/10
  • Common Questions

    Can I Use Dumbbell Exercise to Build My Back?

    Yes. There are many different effective dumbbell exercises to grow the muscles in the back. Take a look at some of the most effective dumbbell exercises for growing the muscle in the back in this article on dumbbell pull exercises .

    How much Dumbbell Should A Beginner Lift?

    This really depends on the beginner. Some beginners are 25 year old males who play a lot of sports. Other beginners lack mobility and have not sporting background, each person is different. The perspective would be to use weights that you find challenging while performing the exercise with proper form.

    How Long Should A Beginner Workout With Dumbbells?

    The length of the session isn’t very important. It’s more important that you get a certain amount of volume or working sets into the session to create the desired adaptation. The amount of working sets done during one session is much less important than the amount of working sets done in a week. Time wise, a 45-60 minute session is an excellent way to go as it gives you plenty of time to get a wide variety of working sets in.

    For more details on how much volume is required for different individuals have a read through this great study by Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Jozo Grgic & James Krieger on the topic (1). More practical examples of these landmarks can be seen on RP Strengths website who have industry leading thoughts on the topic.

    Can I Use Beginner Dumbbell Exercise Everyday?

    If you are beginner or advanced, training everyday probably isn’t advised. Taking rest days is an important part of the training process.

    References

  • Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Jozo Grgic & James Krieger (2019) How many times per week should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency, Journal of Sports Sciences, 37:11, 1286-1295, DOI:  10.1080/02640414.2018.1555906
  • If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below, or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle. This resource was written by Sean Richard Klein. Sean has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

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