Dumbbell Exercises For Beginners (complete Guide)

In the home workout series of dumbbell exercises, I’m going to share full-body dumbbell exercises for beginners. I’ve already shared multiple posts about dumbbell workout that a beginner can do as well. But I’ve decided to make a separate article where I can include beginners dumbbell workout for each muscle group and dumbbell workout routine for beginners.

If you’re a fitness enthusiast who workout with dumbbells at home then this will be quite useful for you. But if you’re a gym-goer, then you can also combine all these dumbbell exercises with barbell and machines workouts.

Why dumbbells are a great workout tool for training?

Dumbbells are good for multiple reasons, for example:

  • Dumbbells can be used anytime and anywhere. For instance, if you training at home you can use dumbbells; And suppose if you’re going somewhere you’ll have an option to carry a pair of light dumbbells for training.
  • Dumbbells allow a greater range of motion. Highest range of motion helps you target muscles more specifically and deeply. Better range of motion also reduce the risk of injuries or cramps.
  • Dumbbell gives you the option to perform several exercises as well as it allows you to change or modify any exercise according to your need. There are more advantages you can sense while training with the dumbbells.

A guide to beginners dumbbell exercises

Starting from the chest, leg, triceps to back, shoulders, biceps, wrist and core, I’ve categorized exercises for each muscle group. In this guide to the beginners’ dumbbell workout, we’ll see one-by-one exercise with step-by-step instructions on how to perform it with images and videos. So, let’s get started.

ChestLegTricepsBackShoulderBicepsWristCore
Dumbbell PressSquatsOverhead ExtensionIYT RaisesShoulder Overhead PressSeated Bicep curlsPalms-up wrist curlDumbbell Sit-ups
Dumbbell flyLungesTricep KickbackDumbbell Bent OverFront RaiseIncline Dumbbell CurlPalms-down wrist curlsStraight-arm Side-plank
Pull-overCalf Raise Floor PressDumbbell RowingSide Lateral RaiseConcentration Curl____Side-to-side bend
Squeeze PressDeadliftOne-arm triceps extensionPull-up SupermanBent-over Lateral RaiseDumbbell Twisted Curl____Overhead Side bend
___________Wide-RowingDumbbell Upright RowHammer Curl________
_______________Shoulders Shrugs____________
Complete list of dumbbell exercises for beginners

How to Perform Beginner’s Dumbbell Exercises For Chest

1. Dumbbell Press

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit at the corner of a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground. Put the dumbbells on your thighs and lie flat on the bench. That’s your starting position.

Step 2: Hold the dumbbells at your sides (at your chest height), brace you core and press the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling until your arms straight. Bring the dumbbells close to each other at the top but do not collide. Now, slowly lower the dumbbells in the starting position. Perform three sets of 8-10 reps each.

Other variations of dumbbell press that you can perform:

2. Lying Dumbbell fly

Step 1: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the corner of a flat bench with your feet firmly on the ground. Lay down flat on the bench with your arms are straight out to the sides. That’s your starting position.

Step 2: Tighten your core, and raise your arms upward until they meet each other at the top. Hold for a second then slowly lower it down in the starting position. Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.

The other variations of dumbbell flying you like to perform:

3. Dumbbell Pull-over

Step 1: Place a dumbbell on the floor close at the end of a flat bench (your head side). Lie on the bench on your back with your feet flat on the ground. Bring your hands down (behind your head) to grab the dumbbell with a neutral grip. That’s starting position.

Step 2: Brace your abdominal muscles, inhale and pull the dumbbell over your chest until your arms are straight. Hold your arms for a moment at the top then reverse the second step to return in the starting position. Do as many as reps as you like.

4. Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells in your hand with a neutral grip. Sit on the bench and place the dumbbells on your thigh. Now lie on the bench on your spine and keep your feet steadily on the ground. And hold the dumbells at your sides (chest level) with your palms facing each other. That’s your starting position.

Step 2: Inhale and press the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling until your arms become straight. Squeeze your pecs at top of the lift then slowly lower the weight in the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat the second step for the desired number of repetitions.

How To Perform Beginners Dumbbell Leg Workout


1. Dumbbell Front Squat

Step 1: Grab two dumbbells in your hand (one in each hand) stand straight in the shoulder-width stance; and hold the dumbbells on your shoulders (at the sides of your neck). That’s the start.

Step 2: Bend your knees and slightly push your hips back to squat down (until your thighs become parallel to the ground) while keeping your back flat. Now push through your heels to return in the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform as many reps as you want or until you feel pain in the quads and hamstrings.


2. Lunges

Dumbbell Exercises For Beginners

Step 1: Pick two dumbbells with your hands and stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbells at your sides with your arms are straight.

Step 2: Take one big step forward with your right leg and bend your both knees simultaneously until your left knees touch the ground (keep your back flat during the movement). Hold for a second then use your left feet to stand straight. Repeat the same steps for the opposite side to complete one rep. Perform as many repetitions as you can.

3. Calf Raise

Step 1: Pick two dumbbells with your hands, stand upright and place the dumbbells beside your neck (on shoulders) with your palms facing each other. You can also hold your arms straight at your sides (along with dumbbells).

Step 2: Now, raise your heels as high as possible, hold for a couple of seconds at the top. And squeeze your calves then slowly lower it down. Repeat for the effective number of repetitions.

4. Deadlift

Step 1: Put two dumbbells on the floor in front of you and close to your feet. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.

Step 2: Brace your abdominal muscles, inhale, slightly bend your knees and push your hips back so that you can maintain a flat back. Now lean forward and lift the dead weight from the floor. Push through your heels and extend your knees to stand straight. That’s one rep. Repeat for the maximum number of repetitions. Use a waist belt to protect your spine and avoid lower back stress.

Other dumbbell exercises you can try:


Dumbbell Tricep Workouts: Step-by-Step Instructions


1. Lying Dumbbell Extension

Beginners Dumbbell Workouts
Beginners Dumbbell Exercises

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells, lie flat on the bench. Bend your elbows so that the dumbbells face your forehead and make sure your palms are facing each other.

Step 2: Now, raise your arms toward the ceiling until they are extended completely, squeeze your tricep muscles, and then slowly lower it down and repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.


2. One-arm Dumbbell Tricep Kickback


Step 1: Grab a dumbbell in any of your hand with a neutral grip. Sit on the corner of a flat bench, slightly bend your torso forward and hold your exercising-arm at your side.

Step 2: Now, fixed your elbow and kick the dumbbell up (backwards) until your arm extended completely. Hold for a second, squeeze your tricep muscles, and then slowly lower it down and repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.


3. Dumbbell Floor Press

Step 1: Grab one dumbbell in each hand, lie flat on the mat and bend your knees at 90-degree. Hold the dumbbells at your sides (at chest level) with your palms facing each other. That’s the starting position.

Step 2: Brace your abdominal muscles and press the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling until your arms straight. And then slowly lower the dumbbells in the starting position. Perform three sets of 8-10 reps each.


4. Seated One-arm triceps extension

Credit: Workout Labs

Step 1: Pick one dumbbell in your right hand; sit on the bench with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your elbow and hold the dumbbell behind your head (on the opposite shoulder). That’s the start.

Step 2: Now, raise your right arm overhead until it is extended completely, squeeze your muscle at the top, and then slowly lower it down in the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.

Other Dumbbell Triceps Exercises You can Try:


How to Perform Beginners Dumbbell Back Exercises


1. Incline IYT Raises

Step 1: Set a bench at 45-degree angle to make it incline. Pick two light dumbbells in your hands with an overhand grip. And lie on the stomach on the bench ( keep your neck at the corner of the bench) and let your arms hang underneath your neck. That’s the beginning position.

Step 2: Now raise your arms upward to make “I” shape with your torso and then slowly lower it in the beginning position. Then raise your arms toward the ceiling vertically to make “Y” shape with your torso and then lower it down in the starting position. And finally, raise your arms upward at your sides to make “T” shape with your torso complete one rep.

This is quite an effective workout for the back. Try to perform three sets of 6-8 repetitions each.


2. Dumbbell Bent Over

Step 1: Pick one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your torso forward while keeping your back flat. And hold your arms straight underneath your body. That’s your starting position.

Step 2: Now bring your elbows backwards until you feel a full contraction in your back muscles. Hold for a moment at the top then slowly bring them down in the starting position. That’s one repetition. Try to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each.


3. One-arm Dumbbell Rowing

Step 1: Grab a dumbbell with your right hand, put your left hand (straight underneath your shoulder) and knee on the bench. And right leg parallel to the leg of the bench. Hold your arms straight underneath your shoulder with your palm facing the bench. And keep your face and eyes toward the bench. That’s the starting position.

Step 2: Raise your elbow upward in a controlled manner until you feel a full contraction in your back muscles. Hold for a second and then slowly lower it down and repeat this step for the desired number of reps and sets.


4. Pull-up Superman


Step 1: Pick two light dumbbells and lay down on the floor on your stomach with your face facing the ground. And keep your arms straight in front of you. That’s the start.

Step 2: Now, pull the dumbbells towards your chest until the muscles of your back fully engaged. Hold for a couple of seconds and then return your arms in the forward position and repeat this move for the desired number of reps and sets.


5. Bent-over Wide Rowing (see bent-over YT video above)

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance and slightly bend your knees to lean forward but keep your back flat and chest up. Let your arms hang straight toward the ground. That’s the starting position.

Step 2: Bring your elbows backwards until the muscles of your back fully engaged. Hold for a moment at the top then slowly bring them down in the starting position. That’s one repetition. Try to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each.


Dumbbell Shoulders Exercises for Beginners: Step-By-Step Instructions


1. Overhead Shoulder Press

Step 1: Take two dumbbells with an overhand grip and stand straight in the shoulder-width stance. Hold the dumbbells at your shoulder height with your elbows bent outward. And make sure your palms facing forward. That’s the starting position.

Step 2: Brace your abdominal muscles, inhale, and press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are straight. Hold for a sec and then slowly return to the start. That’s one repetition. Try to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each.

2. Dumbbell Front Raise

Step 1: Pick two dumbbells with an overhand grip and stand upright. Hold your arms straight in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body.

Step 2: Raise the dumbbell in front of you (one arm at a time) without bending your knees, and then slowly lower it down and repeat this with your other hand to complete one rep. Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.


3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and stand straight. Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing your body.

Step 2: Raise your arms out to the sides, and then slowly lower it down and repeat. That’s one rep! Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.


4. Bent-over Lateral Raise

Dumbbell Exercises For Beginners
Beginners Dumbbell Workouts

Step 1: Stand straight with holding a pair of dumbbells in your hand with a neutral grip. Slightly bend your knees and lean forward while keeping your back flat and chest up. And hold your arms straight underneath your body.

Step 2: Raise your arms out to the sides until your shoulder muscles fully engaged then slowly lower the dumbbells in the starting position. Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.


5. Dumbbell Upright Row


Step 1: Grab one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip and stand straight in the hip-width stance. Hold your arms straight in front of your thighs with your palms facing the body.

Step 2: Pull the dumbbells upright towards your neck and then slowly return to the beginning position. That’s one repetition. Try to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each.


6. Shoulders Shrugs

Step 1: Pick one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and stand straight in the hip-width stance. Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing the body.

Step 2: Raise your shoulder blades without bending your elbows. And shrugs at the top to return in the first step. That’s one repetition. Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.


How to Perform Beginners Dumbbell Biceps Workout


1. Seated Bicep curls

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and sit on the corner of a flat bench. Keep your back straight and chest up and hold the dumbbells straight (elbows slightly bend). That’s the starting position.

Step 2: Curls your arms according to your need, you can perform one-arm at a time or both it’s up to you. Keep your elbows forward and close to your body during the curling. Try to perform three sets of 8-12 repetitions each.

2. Incline Bicep Curl

Beginners Dumbbell Exercises

Step 1: Set a bench at 90-degree height, then pick one dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip, and lie on the bench your back. Hold your arms at your sides and keep your elbows slightly bent. Palms facing upward. That’s the staring position.

Step 2: Curls your arms as require and then lower them in the starting position. Like seated biceps curl, you can also perform this simultaneously (one-arm at a time). Perform three sets of 8-10 reps each.


3. Concentration Curl

Types Of Workout Bench & Bench Exercises

Step 1: Grab one dumbbell with your right hand with an underhand grip. Sit on the corner of a bench or table (lower in height) and place right elbow arm under the thigh. And keep your left hand on the other thigh. Slightly bend downward toward the right hand to focus on your biceps. That’s the start.

Step 2: Now curl your right arm as many times as you like your keeping your other body parts still. Concentration during the movement is important that is why it is called as the concentration curl. Concentrating during the curl engages more muscles. Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.


4. Dumbbell Twisted Curl

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and stand straight. Hold your arms at your sides with your palms facing your body. That’s the start.

Step 2: Raise your arms up and twist them as they reached your stomach height and curl. At the top of the lift, your palms face your delts. Hold for a sec and then lower the dumbbells (in the neutral grip position). That’s one rep! Do three sets of 8-10 reps each.

5. Hammer Curl


Step 1: Pick one dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and stand straight in the hip-width stance. Hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing the body.

Step 2: Curl your arms in the same neutral grip position and perform as many reps as you need to be. Recommended: Three sets of 8-10 reps each.


Dumbbell Wrist Exercises For Beginners


1. Dumbbell Palms-up wrist curl


Step 1: Grab two dumbbells with an underhand grip, sit on the corner of the bench and place your wrist on the knees with your palms facing upward.

Step 2: Curl your wrist ups and down for the desired number of reps and sets.

2. Dumbbell Reverse wrist curls

Step 1: Grab two dumbbells with an overhand grip, sit on the corner of the bench and place your wrist on the knees with your palms facing downward.

Step 2: Curl your wrist ups and down for the desired number of reps and sets.


Beginner Dumbbell Abs Workout

1. Dumbbell Sit-ups

Step 1: Lie on the floor with holding a pair of dumbbells, and keep your arms straight over your chest.

Step 2: Perform as many sit-ups as you like and keep your arms straight during the movement. Do two or three sets of 10 reps each.

2. Straight-arm Side-plank

Grab one dumbbell with a neutral grip and get on the one side plank position (straight arm plank) and hold your right arm straight along with dumbbell in the air toward the ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds both side twice.

3. Side-to-side bend

Grab two dumbbells with a neutral grip, stand straight in the hip-width stance and hold your arms straight at your sides with your palms facing the body. Bend your torso to one side as far as you can or until you feel a full contraction in your oblique. Repeat on the other side. Perform two sets of 10 reps each.

4. Standing Overhead Side bend

Step 1: Grab a pair of dumbbells, stand tall in the shoulder-width stance, and hold your arms straight overhead with your palms facing each other.

Step 2: Bend your torso one side as much as you can while keeping your arms straight overhead. Then return to the standing position and repeat the second step on the other side. Perform as many reps and sets as you can.


Dumbbell Exercises Routine For Beginners

I’m sharing here a sample of one-week beginners dumbbell workout routine. If necessary, you can change, modify or create your own routine according to your plan.

Weekly Dumbbell Exercise Routine

DAY 1:

  • Squat- 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Lunges- 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Incline Dumbbell Press- 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Fly – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Upward Fly – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Floor Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Overhead Extension – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Tricep Kickback – 8 reps x 3 sets

Day 2:

  • IYT Raises- 6 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Bent Over – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Rowing – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Pull-up Superman – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Seated Bicep curls – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Twisted Curl – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Hammer Curl – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Calf Raise – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Straight-arm Side-plank – 20 seconds each side twice
  • Side-to-side bend – 8 reps x 2 sets

Day 3: Rest Day or Recovery Day


Day 4:

  • Front Squat- 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Sumo Squat – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Deadlift – 6 reps x 3 sets
  • Shoulder Overhead Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Front Raise – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Side Lateral Raise – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Bent-over Lateral Raise – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Upright Row – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Sit-ups – 8 reps x 2 sets
  • Overhead Side bend – 8 reps x 2 sets

Day 5:

  • Dumbbell Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Incline Dumbbell Press- 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Fly – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Upward Fly – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Floor Press – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Overhead Extension – 10 reps x 3 sets
  • Tricep Kickback – 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Palms-up wrist curl- 8 reps x 3 sets
  • Palms-down wrist curls – 8 reps x 3 sets

Day 6: Rest Day or Recovery Day

Day 7: Rest Day or Recovery Day

On day 8 follow day 2 routine and continuously follow the day to day exercises and routine.


Do share this beginners guide to the dumbbell exercises with your mates and on the social medias. Workout, stay healthy, strong and stay active.

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