Dumbbell Workouts

Dumbbell workouts are a cost-effective way to exercise at home. Dumbbells are small, portable and versatile enough to create a complete personal workout. A few sets of dumbbells, or even a single dumbbell with adjustable weights, can be used very effectively for strength and muscle-building exercises as well as fitness and weight-loss routines. And the manageable size means you do not need a lot of space or a partner to spot you.

Free weights such as dumbbells allow your muscles to work in a wide range of motion that many fitness machines and expensive gym equipment effectively deny you. In fact, you can get a total body workout by using your dumbbells to provide resistance against your body's natural movements. A well-structured program of dumbbell workouts that complement each other is all you need to develop a stronger, fitter body, where you are.

A further advantage of dumbbell workouts is that dumbbells require more control than fixed or mounted weights. Having to balance the weight means you exercise the smaller stabilizer muscles that might otherwise be neglected. It's important to work your way up slowly and correctly, always maintaining the proper form to avoid overextension and possible injury.

Try to do dumbbell workouts that target different areas of your body, and alternate them for maximum effectiveness. The key is to be consistent, maintain intensity and train progressively by adding weights or reps regularly. Training hard three or four times a week is sufficient, and be sure to take a week's rest after every six to eight weeks of training to allow your body to fully recover, and to keep you motivated.

The basic dumbbell workouts for the chest and biceps are commonly known. Hammer curls, chest presses and flies are simple and effective. Alternate these exercises in short bursts on a flat and incline bench to fatigue your muscles as much as possible. Concentration curls are quick and easy to do on the edge of your bed or even in the office. Do not be tempted to use momentum to swing the weight. To target your triceps, do sets of overhead extensions, french presses and elbow extensions.

Legs and calves are often not associated with dumbbell workouts, but after a few squats, standing calf presses and lunges, that will quickly change! Maintain the correct posture by keeping your back straight and your head up. You can add an extra dimension to calf raises by sitting on an exercise ball while resting the dumbbells on your thighs.

The last areas you will be targeting are the back and shoulders. Target your back with single arm rows and bent over rows (standing or lying down), each time lifting the dumbbell to your side and releasing in a slow, controlled movement. Always keep your back straight, especially if you are also doing dead lifts. Shoulder workouts usually consist of standing or sitting shoulder presses, lateralises, reverse (face down) flies and front raises. Exhale on the upwards or outwards movement, and exhale as you lower the dumbbells slowly.

The trapezius, where your back and shoulders meet behind your neck, should be worked separately. Dumbbells lend themselves perfectly to shrugs and upright rows. To perform a shrrect correctly, stand with feet apart and knees slightly bent. Let the dumbbells hang against your sides, arms straight, and lift your shoulders as high as possible for three seconds. Be careful not to let your shoulders roll back. Upright rows follow the same principle, this time lifting the dumbbells to your chin.

Expensive and complicated equipment will come and go, but dumbbells will always be the staple diet of those who want to keep their exercises functional, reliable and fun. With these dumbbell workouts, you may never need to see the inside of a gym again!