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Dumbbell Exercises
Exercises With... Dumbbells

Strengthen and tone your upper body with our three 30 minute workouts. Each workout is made up of exercises with dumbells, allowing you to progress at your own pace.

Exercises With... Dumbbells

By WLR's Sarah Massey and personal trainer Wayne Pickering

This month, we bring you three 30 minute workouts to target different muscle groups which all involve exercises with dumbbells.  Perform each of the 30 minute workouts once a week to help strengthen and tone your upper body whilst conditioning your abs too.

For each of the exercises with dumbbells complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps dependent on your current ability.  As your strength improves you may want to increase the weight of your dumbbells (for muscle building) or the number of reps/sets you do (for muscle toning).  If the exercise involves moving your arms separately, 1 rep counts as the left and right arm both completing the exercise.

Ensure that you perform each exercise in a slow and controlled way to make sure you are working your muscles in the correct way and to avoid injury. 

It is recommended to do 5 minutes light aerobic exercise, such as jogging on the spot, before doing any exercises with dumbbells to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for your workout.  Be sure to stretch afterwards too to prevent aching muscles!

Day 1 – Chest & Shoulders

Exercise 1

Laying Dumbbell Press

Muscle Group Worked: Pectorals

  • Lay on the floor on your back.  Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.  Take one dumbbell in each hand and stretch your arms out on either side of you so that your hands are level with your shoulders with your arms bent from your elbows to a 90° angle with the dumbbells pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Extend your arms towards the ceiling until your arms are straight above your chest.  Return to the start position.

Exercise 2

Laying Dumbbell Flies

Muscle Group Worked: Pectorals

  • Lay on the floor on your back.  Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.  Take one dumbbell in each hand and stretch your arms out on either side of you so that your hands are level with your shoulders with your arms bent from your elbows to a 45° angle.
  • Raise your arms as if you are hugging an oak tree, keeping your elbows bent at all times, until your hands meet above your chest.  Return to start position.

Exercise 3

Lateral Raises

Muscle Group Worked: Deltoids

  • Stand with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent.  With one dumbbell in each hand, your arms should be by your side with your palms facing into your body.
  • Slowly raise your arms out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent until your hands are at shoulder level.  Your palms should be facing towards the ground.  Lower arms back to your sides.

Exercise 4

Shoulder Press

Muscle Group Worked: Deltoids

You can perform this exercise standing or seated

  • With one dumbbell in either hand lift your arms out to the sides, hands towards the ceiling, with elbows bent at a 90° angle.  Elbows should be at shoulder level.
  • Extend dumbbells towards the ceiling until your arms are completely straight.  Return to start position.

Exercise 5

Bent Over Lateral Raise

Muscle Group Worked: Deltoids

  • With one dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip width apart and bend forward from your waist until your chest is parallel to the floor.  Bend your arms to a 45° angle with your hands together in front of your chest as if you are hugging a tree.
  • Open arms, keeping elbows bent, until your elbows are pulled back to shoulder level and return to start position.

Day 2 – Back

Exercise 1

Double Dumbbell Rows

Muscle Group Worked: Trapezius / Rhomboids

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent.  Bend at the waist until your chest is parallel to the floor.  With one dumbbell in each hand hold dumbbells towards the ground with your arms straight and palms facing your legs.
  • Bend your arms lifting dumbbells towards either side of your chest, lower arms to start position.

Exercise 2

Single Arm Row

Muscle Group Worked: Trapezius / Rhomboids

  • Hold one dumbbell in your right hand.  Take a step forward with your left leg and bend your left knee.  Rest your left hand on your left knee for support.  Lean forward from your waist to a 45° angle.  Keep your right arm straight with the dumbbell towards the ground.
  • Bring the dumbbell towards your chest until your hand is next to your chest.  Return to start position.  After you have completed all reps with your right arm, repeat for left arm.

Exercise 3

Lying Dumbbell Extension

Muscle Group Worked: Trapezius / Rhomboids

  • Take one dumbbell and hold one end in each hand.  Lay on your back and extend the dumbbell up over your head until it is on the floor. 
  • Keeping your arms straight raise the dumbbell back up over your head until it is directly above your chest.  Lower back down to the floor above your head.

Day 3 – Biceps & Triceps

Exercise 1

Bicep Curl

Muscle Group Worked: Biceps

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent.  With your elbows slightly bent take one dumbbell in each hand and place your arms by your side with your palms facing forward.
  • Bend from your elbows and lift the dumbbells towards your chest.  Keep your elbows close to your body.  Return to start position.

Exercise 2

Alternative Bicep Curl

Muscle Group Worked: Biceps

  • Start as you did for your bicep curl but with your palms facing into your body.
  • Raise the left arm, bending from the elbow, but twisting your hand as the dumbbell comes towards the chest so that the palm of your hand is facing up.  Lower to start position and repeat with right arm.

Exercise 3

Tricep Overhead

Muscle Group Worked: Triceps

  • Take one dumbbell in your left hand.  Sit on a bench or chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.  Extend your left arm straight up so that the inside of your upper arms is next to your ear. 
  • Bend your arm from your elbow taking the dumbbell behind your head.  Raise the dumbbell back up so that your arm is straight again.  Do not let your upper arm move during the exercise.  Repeat full amount of reps and then change to right arm.

Exercise 4

Tricep Kickbacks

Muscle Group Worked: Triceps

  • Take one dumbbell in each hand and bend from your waist until your chest is parallel to the floor.  Bend your arms at your elbows to a 45° angle and keep your elbows next to your waist. 
  • Extend both arms back until arms are straight but keep upper arms touching your sides at all times.  Lower arms to start position.

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The Weight Loss Resources Exercise Database has loads of information about a huge range of exercises including how many extra calories you can burn by doing them. Try the Exercise Diary free for 24 hours.

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