41 Single Dumbbell Exercises & Workout Routine w/PDF

If you have only a pair of dumbbells, but you want to train along with your partner, or you have brought one dumbbell from your friend (for a week or month) to build your foundational strength, there you can do single dumbbell workout training.

The situation can be anything, but whenever you need to train with only one dumbbell, having a list of single dumbbell exercises can be helpful.

From dumbbell pullover, squat, and overhead press to rowing, squat, and lunge, I’ve shared as many as forty-one exercises that you can do with one dumbbell to build strength, endurance, and muscle.

This article includes exercises for every muscle group, from the chest, shoulders, and arms to the legs, back, and core, as well as a sample of a 30-minute weekly single dumbbell workout routine.

41 Best Single Dumbbell Exercises for Every Muscle Group

  • Lower Body (1-8)
  • Chest (9-13)
  • Shoulder (14-19)
  • Arms (20-29)
  • Abs (30-36)
  • Back (37-42)

Let’s see how to do each exercise with step-by-step instructions.

1. Dumbbell Lunge

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerQuads, Hamstrings, and Glutes
Single Dumbbell Lunges
One Dumbbell Lunges
  1. Hold a dumbbell with your hands and stand in the split stance.
  2. Bend your elbows and keep the dumbbell in front of your chest.
  3. Lower into a lunge until your rear knee touches the floor.
  4. Press back until your legs are straight. That’s one rep. Complete as many reps as you like.
  5. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go past your toes.

2. Single Dumbbell Squat

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerQuads and Glutes
  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands and stand upright in a shoulder-width stance.
  2. Keep the dumbbell in front of your chest by bending your elbows. That’s the starting position.
  3. Push your hips backward, bend your knees slightly, and lower into a squat position until your thighs parallel the ground.
  4. Push your feet into the ground to return to the standing position.
  5. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

3. Single-Leg RDL

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
AdvancedHamstrings, Glutes, Quads, and Lower Back
Single-leg RDL with One Dumbbell
One Dumbbell RDL
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and stand upright with your feet together.
  2. Pushing your hips backward, bend your torso toward the floor and raise your left leg at the same time until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  3. Hold in that position for a couple of seconds and then return to the starting position. That’s your one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of six to eight repetitions on each side.

4. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerHamstrings, Glutes, and Lower Back
  1. Lie on the floor with your face up, knees bent, and feet flat.
  2. Grab a dumbbell and place it over your hips.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles and glutes, and thrust your hips upward until your chest, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds, then return to the start.
  5. Do two sets of eight to ten repetitions each.

5. Dumbbell Sumo Squat

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateInner Thighs and Glutes
  1. Grab one end of a dumbbell with your hands and stand straight with your feet two times wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. That is your starting position.
  2. Keep your back straight, bend your knees, and squat down until your glute is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pushing into the floor, stand upright to complete the first repetition.

6. Single Leg Calf Raises

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerCalves
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, step up onto a foot platform (stepper). Place your right hand on the wall for support.
  2. Lower your right heel down, then raise it as high as possible.
  3. Squeezing your calves, pause for two seconds, then lower it down. You’ll feel the contraction in your calves during the movement.

7. Dumbbell Leg Extension

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateQuadriceps

The dumbbell leg extension is an isolation exercise that helps build strong quadriceps.

exercises with one dumbbell
DB Leg Extension

How to do dumbbell leg extension

  1. Sit on the end of a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your arms straight at your sides.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and brace your core.
  3. Extend your legs until your knees are straight so your quads can fully engage.
  4. Contracting your quadriceps, hold in this position for a couple of seconds before lowering to the start.

8. Dumbbell Leg Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateHamstrings and Glutes

The dumbbell leg curl is an excellent alternative to the hamstring machine curl and allows you to build strong hamstring muscles at home.

The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Lie on the mat on your stomach with your face down.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and bring the weight towards your glute.
  3. Pause for a couple of seconds and then return to the standing position.

9. Single-arm Chest Press

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateChest and Shoulder
  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with any of your hands, hold it at your chest level, and keep your opposite arm straight above your chest.
  3. Squeezing your chest muscle, press the dumbbell upward until your arm is straight.
  4. Pause for a moment, lower the dumbbell, and then press it again. Keep doing it for the desired number of times.

10. Chest Fly

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateChest
  1. Lie on a bench on your back, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  2. Keep your right arm straight at your side.
  3. Raise your arm until it is straight over the chest. You’ll feel the contraction in the chest muscle.
  4. Pause for a moment and then lower to the start. That’s one rep!

11. Squeeze Press

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerChest and Triceps
One dumbbell workout for chest
One dumbbell workout for chest
  1. Lie on the mat and grab a dumbbell with both hands.
  2. Hold the dumbbell just above your chest with your elbows bent.
  3.  Squeezing your chest, slowly press the dumbbell upward until your arms are straight over your chest.
  4. Pause for a moment, then lower your arms to the start.

12. Single-arm Dumbbell Upward Fly

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerChest and Shoulder
Single dumbbell chest exercises
  • Holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand, stand upright in the normal stance.
  • Keep your arms straight at your sides and chest up.
  • Engaging your chest muscle, raise your right arm forward until it reaches in front of your chest.
  • Pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s the first repetition.
  • Complete a couple of sets of eight to ten repetitions.

13. Dumbbell Pullover

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerChest and Lats
  • Lie on a bench on your back with your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the head of a dumbbell with your hands and keep your arms straight behind your head. That is the starting position.
  • Pull the dumbbells behind you until your arms are directly above your upper chest. That’s the one rep.
  • You’ll feel the contraction in your chest and lats when you pull the dumbbell over.

14. Single Dumbbell Overhead Press

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerShoulder
single dumbbell workout for shoulder
single dumbbell workout for shoulder
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand and stand upright in the shoulder-width stance.
  2. Bend your elbow and hold the dumbbell above your shoulder height. That’s the start.
  3. Press the dumbbell overhead until your arm is straight, then return to the start.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on each side.

15. One-arm Front Raise

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerShoulder (Anterior Delt)
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arm straight in front of your thigh.
  2. Raise your in front of you until it reaches your shoulder height.
  3. Hold for a moment, then lower your arm to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do two to three sets of ten to twelve reps.

16. Single-arm Lateral Raise

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerShoulder (Middle Delt)
Shoulder exercise with one dumbbell
Shoulder exercise with one dumbbell
  1. Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip with your left hand, stand upright in the hip-width stance, and keep your arm straight at your side.
  2. Raise your arm out to the side until it is parallel to the ground.
  3. Pause for a moment and then lower your arm back to the start. That is one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of ten to twelve reps.

17. Single Bent-Arm Lateral Raise

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerShoulder (Middle Delt)
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your right arm bent with your forearm parallel to the ground and your elbow pointing down.
  3. Engaging your shoulder, raise your elbow until your palm is facing down and your elbow outward.
  4. Hold for a second, and then lower your elbow to the start.

18. Rear Delt One Dumbbell Row

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediatePoseterior Delt and Trapezius

The single-arm delt row allows you to focus on the posterior delt and help build a strong and defined upper back.


19. Single-arm Dumbbell Shrug

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerShoulder and Upper Trap
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shrug your right shoulder as much as you can without bending your elbows.
  3. Squeezing your shoulder blades, pause for a couple of seconds, and then return to the start. That’s one rep for one side.
  4. Do the desired number of sets and reps.

20. One-arm Dumbbell Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerBiceps
  1. Holding a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your arm straight at your side with your palm facing inward.
  3. Curl your arm until your palm faces your front shoulder.
  4. You’ll feel the contraction in your biceps.
  5. Pause for a second, and then lower your arms at your side. That’s the first rep.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of times.

21. Single-arm Hammer Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerBiceps and Forearms
Single dumbbell exercise for biceps
Single dumbbell exercise for biceps
  1. Holding a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and keep your arm straight at your side.
  2. Curl your working arm toward your shoulder so the biceps muscle can engage, and then extend your arm to complete one rep.
  3. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

22. Crossover Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerBiceps
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, keep your arm straight, and stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Curl your right arm toward your left shoulder until your biceps can engage.
  3. Pause for a moment and then lower your arms to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do a couple of sets of the desired number of repetitions on each side.

23. Single-arm Incline DB Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerBiceps

How to:

  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lie on your back on an incline bench (45-60 degrees), and keep your arm at your side.
  2. Curl your right arm toward your shoulder, pause, and then extend your arm. That’s one rep!
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on each side.

24. Concentration Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerBiceps
one dumbbell workout for biceps
one dumbbell workout for biceps
  1. Sit on the end of a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with an underhand grip in your right hand.
  3. Slightly bend forward and place the back of your upper arm inside of your right thigh.
  4. Curl your arm until your biceps muscles are engaged.
  5. Pause for a moment and then extend your arm. That is your one repetition.
  6. Do as many reps and sets as you like.

25. Single-arm Overhead Triceps Extension

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerTriceps
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with your elbow bent behind your head. You can do it while sitting or standing.
  2. Extend your elbow until your arm is straight so your triceps can engage.
  3. Keeping your arm extended, pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s one rep.
  4. Do as many reps and sets as you like, each side.

26. Triceps Kickback

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateTriceps
  1. Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip with your right hand.
  2. Bend your torso forward and keep your working arm at your side and slightly raise your elbow. That’s the start.
  3. Extend your upper arm back until your triceps muscles can engage.
  4. Pause for a moment and then return to the start.
  5. Do a couple of sets of the desired number of repetitions on each side.

27. Both-arm Triceps Overhead Extension

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerTriceps
  1. Holding the top of the dumbbell with your hands, bend your elbows, and keep the dumbbell behind your head. That’s the start.
  2. Extend your arms overhead until they are entirely straight.
  3. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then lower the dumbbell behind your head to complete one rep.
  4. Do as many sets and reps as you can.

28. Single-arm DB Skull Crusher

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerTriceps
  1. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lie on a flat or incline bench on your back, and keep your arm straight.
  2. Bend your elbow and lower your upper arm backward.
  3. Extend your elbow until your arm is entirely straight. That’s one rep.

29. Wrist Curl

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerForearms
  1. Grab a dumbbell in the right hand with an underhand grip.
  2. Sitting on your knees, place your wrist on a flat bench with your palm facing up.
  3. Curl your wrist as many times as you like.

30. Straight-arm Crunches

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateAbdominal Muscles
  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with your hands and keep your arms straight toward the ceiling.
  3. Raise your upper body as high as you can with keeping your arm straight.
  4. Lower your torso back on the floor and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

31. DB Russian Twist

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateInternal and External Obliques
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Grab a dumbbell and hold it firmly with your hands.
  3. Slightly lift your feet off the ground and twist the dumbbell to the right and the left.
  4. Do as many times as you can.
  5. Make sure you feel the contraction in your love handles.

32. Single DB Side Bend

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerObliques
  1. Holding one dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip, stand upright in the hip-width stance.
  2. Lowering the weight at your side, try to bend as much as possible so your oblique muscle can engage.
  3. Pause for a moment and then straighten your body. That’s one rep!

33. Dumbbell Side Plank

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateCore
  1. Lie on your right side with your right forearm on the floor.
  2. Keep your left leg stacked on the right one.
  3. Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and keep your arm straight toward the ceiling.
  4. Keeping your oblique tight, stay in this position for as long as you can.
  5. Once you complete, switch to the opposite side. You can repeat it twice.

34. DB Leg Raises

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateCore (Lower abs)
  1. Lie on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and brace your core.
  3. Raise your legs upward until your heels are facing toward the ceiling.
  4. Pause for a couple of seconds, and then return your legs down.
  5. You’ll feel the contraction in your abs when you raise upward.

35. Reverse Crunches

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateAbs
  1. Lie on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and keep your arms straight at your sides.
  3. Lift your legs off the ground.
  4. Bring your knees toward your chest until your abs muscle can engage.
  5. Hold in that position for a second, extend your legs, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

36. Woodchop

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateAbdominal Muscles
  1. Sit on your knees with your torso upright.
  2. Grab a dumbbell and hold its ends with each hand.
  3. Keep your arms straight and hold the dumbbell close to your right hip.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, raise the dumbbell toward the left shoulder as far as possible.
  5. Return to the start and perform the desired reps. Repeat the same on the opposite side.

37. Single Dumbbell Row

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
BeginnerLatissimus Dorsi and Trapezius
  1. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Place your left hand on an elevated object for support.
  3. Slightly bend forward and keep your right arm straight downward. That’s the starting position.
  4. Raise your elbow at your side as high as you can.
  5. Lower your arm to the start after a second of pause. That is your one rep.
  6. Do as many sets and reps as you like.

38. One-arm Dumbbell Reverse Fly

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateUpper Back and Rear Delt
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Push your hips backward, slightly bending your knees, and leaning your torso forward until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  3. Raise the dumbbell out to the side so your upper back muscles can engage.
  4. Pause for a moment and then lower your arm to the start. That’s one rep!
  5.  Repeat for the desired number of times and the switch on another side.

39. Bent over Single DB Rowing

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateBack
  1. Grab a dumbbell in either of your hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Pushing your hips backward, slightly bend your knees, and bend forward.
  3. Keep your other arm straight and perform rowing with the arm you’re holding a dumbbell with.
  4.  Repeat for the desired number of times and the switch on another side.
  5. Do a couple of sets of ten to twelve reps each.

40. Incline Plank Rowing

Exercise LevelTargeted Worked
IntermediateAbs and Back
  1. Get into an incline plank position with your arms straight underneath your shoulder.
  2. Grab a dumbbell with your right hand, brace your core, and raise your elbow at your side as high as you can.
  3. Pause for a moment and then return your arm to the start. It is one rep for one side.
  4. Do as many reps and sets as you like, equally on both sides.  

41. DB Good Morning

  1. Stand upright in the shoulder-width stance holding a dumbbell with your hands close to your chest.
  2. Hinge at your hips and lower your torso forward (Stand upright in the shoulder-width stance holding a dumbbell with your hands close to your chest.
  3. Lower your torso forward (with a slight bend in your knees) until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause for a few seconds, then extend your hips to stand upright. That is your one repetition.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of times.

30-Minute Single Dumbbell Workout Plan

Monday – Upper Body

ExerciseReps x SetsRest
Single-arm Chest Press10/arm x 210-sec
Unilateral Overhead Press10/arm x 315-sec
Single-arm Lateral Raise10/arm x 310-sec
Single Dumbbell Row10/arm x 315-sec
Woodchop10/arm x 210-sec

TuesdayLower Body

ExerciseReps x SetsRest
Dumbbell Lunge10 x 21-min
Front Dumbbell Squat15 x 31-min
Dumbbell Glute Bridge10 x 21-min
Dumbbell Leg Curl12 x 31-min
Single Leg Calf Raises15 x 230-sec

Wednesday – Upper Body

ExerciseReps x SetsRest
Bent over Single DB Rowing10/side x 210-sec
Dumbbell Pullover10 x 31-min
One-arm Reverse Fly10/arm x 315-sec
Single-arm Hammer Curl15/arm x 215-sec
Overhead Triceps Extension15 x 31-min

Friday – Lower Body

ExerciseReps x SetsRest
Dumbbell Lunge10/leg x 215-sex
Sumo Squat15 x 31-min
 Leg Extension15 x 31-min
Dumbbell Leg Curl12 x 31-min
Single-Leg RDL5/leg x 230-sec

Saturday – Upper Body

ExerciseReps x SetsRest
DB Crush Grip Push-up10/side x 210-sec
One-arm Chest Fly10 x 31-min
Rear Delt One Row10/arm x 315-sec
Straight-arm Crunches6-10 x 215-sec
Incline Plank Rowing10/arm x 31-min

Download The Single Dumbbell Workout PDF


Related: I’ve also designed an ultimate 72 days dumbbell workout routine for all fitness enthusiasts. This includes hundred of exercises and high and low rep ranges sets. And the best thing is you can follow this program at your own pace.

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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