How to do a dumbbell workout – LifeSavvy

Woman doing Russian twists with a dumbbell.
Karla Tafra

So, do you only have one handlebar? Great, you have a lot to destroy your training. Even one dumbbell can add enough challenge to your usual exercises so you can feel it the next day.

The most important thing about dumbbells is knowing how to hold them correctly to avoid injuring yourself or straining your back. And since most dumbbells look similar, you can apply the same technique with any type you can find at your gym or online.

Squat with dumbbells

Take a dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Take a big inhale and slowly begin to lower your hips down and back, as if you are trying to sit on an imaginary seat behind you. Keep your spine straight, your core engaged, and your chest lifted, but lift your navel and bend your hips so you don’t create too big a curve in your lower back.

Once you have reached maximum depth (aim as close to parallel to the floor as possible), begin to exhale and straighten your legs. Push the ground away from you through your legs and keep your spine straight. At the end of the exhalation, contract your buttocks. Repeat 12-15 times.

Romanian deadlift with one leg with dumbbells

Start in a standing position and bring your feet into a hip-wide position and keep them parallel. Take a dumbbell in your right hand and lift your right leg back. Place your left hand on your left hip, inhale and gently begin bending over your left leg, bringing your right hand down, the dumbbell close to the floor.

Exhale and use the strength of the left leg to bring the body back to standing. Keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise as your balance is tested and keep your back straight. Repeat 12-15 times and do the same on the right leg.Try to engage the hamstrings and feel them stretch and contract, avoiding the movement coming exclusively from the lower back.

Snatch with dumbbells

Come to a standing position and separate your stance a little wider than hip distance. Place the dumbbell on the floor between your legs and squat down. Grab the dumbbell with your left hand and exhale, raise the dumbbell and, in one full motion, straighten your body and bring the dumbbell over your head.

Slowly return to your squat and lift explosively, squeeze your glutes high and keep your core active. Repeat 10-12 times and do the same with your right hand.

Adjustable handlebars

Don’t have room for a full rack of weights? These adjustable dumbbells are here to help!

Pull your back with dumbbells

Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and lean on a bench, chair, or other sturdy surface. Straighten your back and let your right arm extend fully to the floor, isolating the back muscles. Inhale and bend your right elbow, lifting the dumbbell close to your body. Exhale and relax, fully extending your arm towards the floor. Inhale and squeeze, exhale and extend.

Keep your elbow close to your body as you lift and fully engage your core. Repeat 12-15 times and do the same on the other side.

Plank pulls with dumbbells

Start in a plank position with a straight dumbbell under your chest. He inhales and slide the dumbbell to the left using his left hand. Lift your right hand and grab the dumbbell to slide it to the right. Repeat this movement 10-12 times and feel the abdominal and oblique burn every time you approach.

If you want to take this exercise to the next level, instead of sliding the dumbbell, lift it up and take it to the side. Lifting the heavy dumbbell off the floor takes core strength and stability and will really add a challenge to your workout.

Triceps with dumbbells

Stand up straight, take the dumbbell with both hands and bring it over your head so that it hangs over the space between your shoulder blades. Inhale and exhale, stretch your arms above your head, stretch your triceps. Inhale and return the dumbbell to the starting position.

Keep your elbows as parallel as possible and engage your core muscles to truly isolate your triceps. If you feel your back is taking over and your shape is compromised, sit down. Repeat 12-15 times.

Russian twist with dumbbells

Sit on the floor and bring your legs together, bending your knees. Grab the dumbbell with both hands and bring it in front of your chest. Lean your body back slightly to activate your core and begin rotating the dumbbell from your left hip to your right, feeling your abs and obliques on fire.

You can leave your feet on the floor or take it to the next level and lift your legs. If you do, squeeze your legs together so they feel like one large limb and isolate your core as much as possible to reap the benefits. Go for 20-30 twists.


If you’re more of a kettlebell person than a dumbbell person, try this workout instead!