Dumbbell training


Over my next three columns, we’ll go over some of the basic pieces of equipment you can use to improve your workout. This week, the focus is on the dumbbell; some of the best exercises you can do with them, and some that you may not have thought about.

Benefits of training with dumbbells

  • Dumbbells are great for balancing the muscles
  • You can intensify your workout, isolate your muscle groups and work to fatigue on individual muscle groups
  • There is a complete range of motion in the joints, and a great range of motion in movements, e.g. pressing or rowing
  • You can use them at home
  • They do not need to be heavy to benefit your training

Three exercises to learn with dumbbells

Shoulder press: Sit up straight with your back flat against a bench/wall. Pick up the dumbbells with your palms facing in towards your body. Move both hands up to your shoulders. Press your right hand up with the weight, leaving your left hand at your shoulder. Lower your right hand down, and then push the left hand up. Repeat.

Dumbbell lunge walk: Stand up with dumbbells in both hands, making sure your shoulders are back and not slumped or rolled forward. With weights even by both sides of your body, take a step forward and bend at the knee, lowering down into a lunge. Keep control and good posture as you lower, stepping up and forward. Repeat on the other leg, walking over 10 metres to start. This is a great exercise for your balance and core.

Standing triceps extensions: Pick up one dumbbell in both hands, placing your hands around the grip and flat against the top of the weight. Place the dumbbell behind your head, squeezing your elbows together so they are just beside your head. Extend the dumbbell straight up so your arms are straight above your head and then lower back down behind your head.


Do each exercise three times:

  • 10 minute walk on incline (for the treadmill, use incline 10 and speed 5.5)
  • 15 x shoulder press each side
  • 10m lunge walk (walk back normally)
  • 15 x standing triceps extensions

Tip: Do not attempt to use heavy dumbbells when you start training; choose a light weight and stay with that weight for two or three weeks. This will help you learn how to hold them and balance them safely and correctly while learning the different movements.

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