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Dumbbell Exercises for Weight Lifting Beginners

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Dumbbell Exercises for Weight Lifting Beginners

Are you interested in weightlifting and strength training but haven’t a clue where to begin?

Few things are more intimidating than entering a weight room for the first time. It’s especially intimidating if it’s filled with pumped up, sweaty men, and you aren’t blessed with a great abundance of muscle mass.

Dumbbell exercises designed for beginners will prepare you physically, and mentally, for moving on to the larger weights. Dumbbells will also help you through the earliest stages of gaining the muscle necessary for more advanced weightlifting.

What follows are some of the most important, and some of the easiest, dumbbell exercises for beginners, many of which were used by today’s professional weightlifters. These will help you in reaching you goals of moving on up to the heavier weights and help you prevent injury.

Warm Up

No matter the exercise, you should always warm up prior to your workout. This can be accomplished in several ways, such as foam rolling or mobility work. Warming up is also essential for preventing muscle injury. Even the best dumbbell exercises for beginners won’t work if you’re constantly injuring yourself from improper technique or impatience!


1. Squats

The biomechanical and neuromuscular movements of the squat encompasses a wide rage of athletic activities, and it has been scientifically proven to enhance athletic performance, according to a study by The National Strength and Conditioning Association. The squat should always be included in all exercise routines for beginners.

The squat is important for 3 primary reasons:

  1. It engages virtually every muscle group in the body.
  2. It closely mimics the movements of daily living, such as lifting objects and bending down.
  3. In the clinical setting, the squat is used to increase lower body strength and is utilized in physical therapy for knee replacements and other lower limb issues.

See a list of 35 different squat routines at The Art of

2. Glute Bridge with Dumbbells

The chest press is known as the king of the pec workouts. Want strong chest muscles and a perky butt? Go with this exercise, of which there are multiple variations, an exercise that engages a wide spectrum of muscle fibers.

How to do it:

  • Lying flat on floor with legs bent (and shoulders and feet flat on floor), maneuver your feet until they’re hip width apart. Position a dumbbell in your lap.
  • Lift the dumbbell, using only your hips, upper back and heels. Your heels are very important in this exercise.
  • Press upward through the heels and upper back until your butt is lifted off the floor. Go as high as you can comfortably go. The knees and upper back should look and feel as if an imaginary line were drawn between your knees and upper back.
  • Tightly squeeze the glutes, keeping your belly button drawn as to not overextend the back. Make certain you’re pushing the body straight up. Pause for about 1 second while in the up position, before moving down again

Go to for a more detailed explanation for a bridge,  plus several variations.

3. Biceps Curl

The biceps tend to be the muscle group most focused on by athletes. Larger biceps have practical functionality as well as a sexy look – strong biceps translate into a stronger upper body which mean more lifting power. (Useful when you are lifting 100 pound grain sacks around the farm…)

How to do it:

  • This one’s simple. Stand up straight, feet flat on floor, hip width apart, one barbell in each hand, hands facing upward.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles, as well as your back, while maintaining a neutral position.
  • With elbows slightly in front of your ribs, curl the bells upward, lifting with your arms and shoulders. Focus especially on squeezing the upper biceps.
  • Lift the barbells without moving your upper body.
  • Do not arch your back or move the rest of your body around. You’re only focusing on the biceps.
  • A back belt might give you support if you have back issues.

 4. Tricep Extension

Here’s an easy, yet effective, technique for intensifying arm definition.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on any comfortable box, bench, bucket, or just about anything else that’s convenient, flat, comfortable and can hold your weight.
  2. As you hold one dumbbell in each hand overhead, be sure your palms are facing one another, arms straight. Your elbows should be near your ears, chin up.
  3. Lower the dumbbells behind your head, elbows in place. Straighten your arms then return to start.

After a short period of time, the lighter weights that you started out with will feel light as a feather and that’s when you will want to step up to something with more “oomph”. But, don’t rush it! Moving up in weight class is the fastest way to injure yourself then you’ll need to back to where you started, after possible surgery, physical therapy and months of healing. That would be a bummer! We know that workout exercises for beginners can be a slow, boring process but patience is key!

Work hard, but work smart, and if you follow directions as prescribed by the multitude of bodybuilding websites on the internet, you might find yourself transformed sooner than you could ever imagine!


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