20 Essential Dumbbell Exercises


Losing weight means diet and exercise, and any good exercise routine will have a balance of cardio and strength training. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get in shape without incorporating any extra equipment. This is a convenient way to exercise anywhere and at any time. Adding weight and resistance will really amp up your fitness routine, and you don’t need to pay for a gym membership to take advantage of weight training. A simple dumbbell set can help you build muscle, get a better “burn” and increase core strength and balance. If you’re ready to add weight to your workout routine, give these essential dumbbell exercises a try.

As we age, we start to lose muscle mass, and this can have a significant impact on our health down the road. We need muscles to help us with everyday functions, even basics like walking or standing from a seated position. When our muscles deteriorate, we lose the strength needed to support these essential physical movements. Adding resistance training and weights to your regular fitness routine will not only help you to burn more calories, but it will build muscle strength and endurance. Lifting heavy has its advantages, but you’ll want to build up to heavier weights as you get stronger.

For those who are worried about bulking up, unless your goal is a fitness or bodybuilding competition then you don’t need to do the kind of heavy lifting required for those activities, but adding weighted resistance has significant health benefits. Adding muscle is as much about looks as it is about how you feel; a little muscle definition is never a bad thing, but the increased strength will be advantageous beyond the gym. If you’re not quite sure where to start or what to do, we’ve put together a sample of some of the moves you can use to incorporate weights into your fitness routine.

Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any diet or exercise program.

Glutes and Abdominals

Glute activation is a term floating around the fitness world and it has to do with the strength of our core muscles. Our abdominal muscles need attention and so to do our hips and glutes, and these glute bridge variations are a great way to target those muscle groups to build strength and improve balance.


A basic glute bridge becomes more challenging when we add a dumbbell to our hips, just below the belly button. The added resistance will help build a strong core. These glute bridge variations also incorporate arms and back muscles by adding a fly and a press while also activating your glutes.

Glute Bridge With Chest Fly

GluteBridgesWithFly Glute Bridge With Shoulder Press


Push Ups

Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that activates several different muscle groups at one time: arms, chest, shoulders, back, abdominals, and quads will all feel the effects of this single movement. Adding weights can make turn the basic push up into something far more challenging. Renegade rows and T-Push ups can turn this essential bodyweight movement into a real muscle burner.

Renegade Rows

RenegadeRowsT Push Up (Modified)

TPushUpKeep reading for even more essential dumbbell exercises!

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