5 Easy Dumbbell Workouts for Beginners

Let’s face it, deciding to commit to working out can be scary. The dedication, discipline, endurance, and consistency are all factors that get in the way of progress. But now that you’ve made up your mind to change your life for the better, let me congratulate you! The good thing is, you are not on the journey alone.  

Now that you have all the new workout gear and are motivated to change your body, make sure you head to the gym with the right arsenal to battle with. If you’re new to working out, here are five easy dumbbell workouts that anyone can use and succeed with. These can be great core lifts or used as supplemental accessory movements. They cover the major core lifts for the body. 


Bench Press 

The dumbbell bench press is a classic staple in any program. This will target your pectoral muscles and your deltoids. Be sure to keep the elbows in and do not let the flare out. What I like so much about the DB bench press is the ability to get a deeper stretch. This can’t be accomplished with a standard barbell. However, if you own a camber bar or a buffalo bar, you could achieve a similar stretch. The DB Bench will also help limit shoulder pain because your arms are working independently from one another. 


Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.  

Some variations you could add for chest work: 

  • Incline Press 
  • Decline Press 
  • Flat DB Flys 
  • Incline Flys 


 Bent Over Single Arm Row 

This is one of my favorite exercises to perform. This can really isolate the lats and you can angle your body in several different ways to target the back. Bring the dumbbell up and squeeze at the top of the movement to add extra contraction. I always enjoyed higher volume for the back because I feel that it can handle more volume with how big it is. You can also superset chest with back work to add cardiovascular training into the session.


Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps. 

Some variations you could add for back work: 

  • Renegade Rows 
  • Bat Wings 
  • Pronated Bent Over Row 
  • Romanian Deadlift 


Goblet Squat 

The goblet squat is a time-tested dumbbell move that will be sure to get your legs fired up. Holding the dumbbell at chest level, squat to parallel, using your elbows to help push your knees out. This is a great exercise that will work both quadriceps and glutes. In addition, this exercise allows you to perform high repetitions, allowing for hypertrophy in the legs. 


Perform 4-5 sets for 15-20 reps  

Some variations you could add for leg work: 

  • DB Front Squat (place dumbbells on shoulders) 
  • Swap out a dumbbell for a kettlebell if available 
  • Two handed DB Squat (hands at side) 
  • DB Box Squat 
  • DB RDL


Arnold Press 

Shoulders can be hit from so many different angles with dumbbells. But if I could only pick one move to do, it would be the Arnold Press. What I like about the it is the extra rotation you have to perform at the bottom of the movement that separates it from other should press movements. The greatest benefit is the fact is targets all three heads of the deltoid – anterior, lateral, and posterior. 


Perform 3-4 sets for 8-12 reps. 

Some variations you could add for shoulder work: 

  • DB Shoulder Press 
  • 1 Arm DB Shoulder Press 
  • Lateral Raises 
  • Front Raises 
  • Bent Over Rear Raises 



Dumbbells are great for training arms. The variety of exercises to train arms is extensive. Because of the independence of dumbbells, it allows you to isolate and target the muscle with more intensity. Working your biceps and triceps can help you fill your shirt sleeves and will assist in other lifts, too. As tempting it may be to hit the curls consistently, the triceps muscle is the bigger muscle. Therefore, bigger arms represent bigger triceps. 


DB Arm Curl 

This exercise is as classic as the dumbbell. The variety in the arm curl can hit the bicep in multiple ways. I prefer standing DB arm curl, but seated curls can change the dynamics of the lift.  

Perform 3-4 sets for 8-12 reps. 

Some variations you could add for bicep work: 

  • Seated DB Curl 
  • DB Hammer Curl 
  • DB Reverse Curl 
  • Bent Over Concentration Curl 

DB Kickback 

Kickbacks are my favorite dumbbell exercise because if you squeeze and hold your arm at the end of the movement, you will feel a blast of muscle contraction going on in the triceps. It’s a great way to target all the heads of the triceps muscle. 

Perform 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps. 

Some variations you could add for triceps work: 

  • DB Skull Crushers 
  • DB French Press 
  • Laying Cross Body Extension 
  • Laying One Arm DB Extension 


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