Dumbbell exercises and a good dumbbell workout program alone can alter your entire body composition, which is why in this article I want to focus on the dumbbell.

Many people who pick up a set of dumbbells will default to curls.  Great move!  Curl variations alone could keep you occupied for an entire training session.  Though you would probably end up with really big biceps and not much else.

There is a whole other world beyond the dumbbell curl so getting yourself a good dumbbell workout program is a must! 

Dumbbells can be used for a number of exercises and are a great tool to help you build muscle.  So if you’re not already using free weights in the gym, you’re missing a massive trick. 

I appreciate that for some women the free weights area of the gym can seem a little intimidating, but hey, don’t let that stand in the way of your true potential. 

Let me tell you, in the nicest way possible; nobody cares that you’re there.  Most people are too concerned for their own workouts to worry about what you’re doing, and anybody who isn’t focusing on themselves has no business judging anybody. 

So please, let’s not fall at the first hurdle because of a few time wasters.

What muscles can you train with dumbbells?

Literally all of them!  That’s right, one dumbbell rack can work your entire body, so can we take a moment to appreciate the simplicity, yet spectacular potential, of this one piece of equipment.

With the right workout plan, you can go a long way with dumbbells. 

I’m not suggesting you do that, variety is the spice of life after all.  What I am suggesting, is that you need not be held back if the place you train in has limited equipment.  That said, if there are no dumbbells, you need to find a better place to train.

What is the best dumbbell workout program to use?

Your best and my best could be two very different things, so please don’t take this list as a definitive, take it as you would most information on the internet.  Try it, and draw your own conclusion, because what works for one may not work for another.

Dumbbell exercises for upper body

Curls – You can do these standing, seated or on an incline.  You can apply variations such as; hammer curls, preacher curls, isolation curls, reverse curls.  Not to mention mixing things up with your weights/reps/sets. – More on that another time.

Bent over row

Dumbbell shoulder press – Seated or standing.

Dumbbell chest fly – Flat, incline or decline

Dumbbell chest press – Flat, incline or decline

Lateral raises – Seated or standing

Front raises

Dumbbells for lower body

Goblet squat – Standard or sumo

Deadlift (with dumbbells) – Standard or sumo

Lunges (with dumbbells)

Calf raises (with dumbbells)

Dumbbell step ups

Exercises for abs

Dumbbell crunch

Dumbbell reverse crunch


Russian twist


Exercises for a full body workout

Dumbbell swing

Dumbbell clean

Turkish get up

Single arm dumbbell snatch

How to get long term results with dumbbells

For long term results you must apply effort, consistency and patience.  You must also make sure you have a good dumbbell workout program - one that fits your goals and challenges you.

Getting a personal trainer is a great place to start, however not everyone will have the budget for a personal trainer, which is understandable.

The next best thing is to teach yourself independence, find your resources, set your goals, get researching and most importantly; try things for yourself.  This method will cost you more time upfront, but as you progress things will start to fall into place a lot faster.

Give each new plan/method at least 4-8 weeks of consistent effort before you draw a conclusion.