14 Best Dumbbell Workouts And Exercises For Your Home Workout

Last Updated on September 24, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer

Dumbbells are one of the easiest and most cost-effective pieces of gym equipment that you can purchase for home workouts.

They’re portable, versatile, and don’t require much storage space making them accessible for anyone that is stuck at home and unable to get to the gym.

That is why a dumbbell home workout is perfect for everyone!

Also, there’s no need to change weight plates on dumbbells, making them easy and safe to use even for beginners.

In this article, we will look at the 14 most effective exercises to build muscle at home with dumbbells.

If building muscle is what you are after, read on!

1. Bent-Over Row

Woman doing bent over row

Bent-over rows are a fantastic exercise for your upper body. In addition to working your back muscles, you will also be working your shoulder muscles, arms, legs, and core by keeping them all tight throughout the exercise!

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.

Bend over at the waist and keep your knees slightly bent as you pull up the dumbbells.

As your elbows bend with each movement, make sure that they don’t go past shoulder height.

Try to keep your back straight and all of the movement in your arms, making sure to keep your knees bent and avoid swaying.

2. Bicep Curl

bicep curl demonstration

This is one of the easiest exercises you can do but also one of the most enjoyed dumbbell workouts out there!

Stand straight with your arms at your sides and hold a dumbbell in each hand.

Lift the dumbbells by curling your elbow, making sure to not move your upper arms while keeping your elbows close to your sides.

Bring the weights to shoulder level and then lower them to your starting position.

3. Calf Raise

Calf raise demonstration

Calf raises can be added to any home workout!

Instead of doing calf raises with just your body weight, you should try incorporating dumbbells next time for additional muscle growth!

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms loose at your sides.

Set your feet around shoulder-width apart and lift up your heels so you are standing purely on your toes.

Hold the position for a few beats before lowering yourself back down.

The key to this exercise is to move slowly and in a controlled manner instead of quickly pushing up and down.

4. Dumbbell Push-Up

Man doing dumbbell push ups

Everybody loves push-ups since they can be added to any home workout, and this exercise combines the humble push-up with a dumbbell.

Assume a push-up position so that your feet are together and you have a dumbbell in each hand.

The dumbbells should be positioned on the ground shoulder width apart and the hexagonal shape of the weights will stop them from rolling around as you move.

Keep your body straight and your core tight as you bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor. Go slowly as you move up and down, making sure to keep your legs straight to be most effective.

By placing your hands on the weights, you can do deeper with your reps which makes these more effective than the traditional push-up.

5. Glute Bridge

Woman doing glute bridge

Lie down on the floor and arrange your legs so they’re bent at the knee with your feet flat on the floor beneath your knees.

Place a dumbbell on top of your lower abs and hold it in place with your hands.

Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight but sloped line from sternum to knees and hold the position for a few beats before lowering yourself back down.

This exercise is best completed with a heavier dumbbell than most of the other exercises in this article.

Make sure you are keeping your abdominal muscles tight and fully engaged to prevent injury and get the best results.

6. Lateral Raise

Man doing lateral raises

Another great dumbbell workout is the lateral raise.

You can either stand or sit for this exercise, depending on your preference. Either way, lateral raises will give you a great upper body workout!

Take a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing towards your body.

Keep your back straight and raise the dumbbells until they’re shoulder height and your arms are parallel with the floor.

Don’t lock your elbows and keep them slightly bent.

7. Lunge

Man doing lunges

Many simple exercises can have a dumbbell added to them and the lunge is no different which almost turns the simple lunge into a full body workout!

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and keep your arms at your side as you step forward with your left foot and lower your right knee so that it is close to the ground but doesn’t touch the ground.

Hold the position for a few beats before repeating on the opposite leg.

Lunges are a great addition to any home workout!

8. Lying Dumbbell Fly

Woman doing dumbbell fly exercise

This exercise is best performed on a bench, gym ball, or any surface that you can lie your back on while leaving your legs dangling off the edge.

Lie back on the bench and place your feet flat on the floor.

Lift the dumbbells so that your arms are straight and directly over your chest and then lower your arms to your sides.

Let your arms go as low as they comfortably can before lifting them back up, retuning to your starting position.

This exercise is a great compliment to the dumbbell bench press and a fantastic dumbbell workout!

9. One Arm Swing

Man doing dumbbell swings

Although commonly done with a kettlebell, this exercise can also be completed with a dumbbell just as easily.

Hold a single dumbbell in both hands and move into a squat position.

Keep your arms straight and low and swing the dumbbell through your legs in an upwards motion as you rise up.

By the time you are fully straight, your dumbbell should be forehead height.

10. Shoulder Press

Woman doing dumbbell shoulder press

Stand straight with dumbbells in your hands and hold them at shoulder height, with your palms facing your body.

Lift your arms straight and rotate the dumbbells so that your palms are now facing away from you.

Keep your arms straight so the weights are over your shoulders. Hold the dumbbells in the air for a few seconds and then lower them back down.

11. Concentration Curl

Woman doing one arm concentration curls.

This exercise adds dumbbells and uses your inner thigh for support. Sit on a bench or chair with a dumbbell in your hand.

Spread your legs and place your elbow with the weight into your inner thigh.

Using your inner thigh to stabilize your exercising arm, lift the dumbbell up and down slowly, focusing on the bicep area during the move.

Keep your shoulders upright and don’t allow your back to round, which will put all of the emphasis on your bicep.

12. Triceps Extension

Man doing one arm tricep extensions

Stand up straight with your feet around hip-width apart. Take a dumbbell in your right hand and lift it above your head, keeping your arm stretched straight.

Lower the dumbbell by bending your elbow so the weight goes behind you.

Once you have finished your reps with your right arm, switch arms and start with your left arm. 

13. Triceps Kickback

Woman doing tricep kick backs

With a slight bend at the waist, take a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your knees slightly bent.

Make sure your back is straight and your core is tight as you fold and straighten your arms at the elbow.

Your upper arms and shoulders should not move, putting all of the movement on your triceps and elbows.

14. Woodchop

Two women doing woodchoppers

You can get a wide range of motion with this upper body exercise and also, hopefully, have a little fun with it!

Stand straight with a single dumbbell in both hands and hold it on your right side so it’s near your hip.

Squat down and as you stand, bring the weight up and across your body so the dumbbell finishes above your left shoulder.

Finish your reps and then switch sides so the weight begins on your left and lifts to your right shoulder.

The cross-body action works several muscles but make sure you keep a firm grip on your dumbbell.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways that you can use a dumbbell to improve your training, build muscle, and make your home workout more effective.

As with other exercises, make sure you are always using proper form when doing your dumbbell training.

Many regular exercises can benefit from having a dumbbell added and there are even more exercises designed just for dumbbells.

This article detailed 14 varied exercises that target several different muscle groups and all make use of a dumbbell.

They can all be done either in the gym or at home, too.

We hope that you enjoy these exercises and that you soon see some results!

TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
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