All gyms, whether it is Anytime Fitness or another fitness center, have more than a few dumbbells lying around or stacked on racks. There’s a good reason for this since dumbbells are versatile enough to be used in different kinds of exercises and workouts. While dumbbells are good for gaining muscle and getting rid of fat, many people don’t use them properly and thus don’t get the benefits they should.
How to Use Dumbbells Properly
Dumbbells are easier and safer to use than kettle bells, plus they allow for more natural motion. First off you need to hold the dumbbell properly, and it’s as simple as taking them off the rack and lift them in the manner you want, be it extension, press or curl. There are literally hundreds of different workouts that you can perform to gain muscle, lose fat, boost metabolism and burn calories. But the following are among the most useful and versatile.
The Goblet Squat
Hold the top of the dumbbell with both hands, and place one of the dumbbells in the middle of your chest. Set your feet so it is more than shoulder width apart, and squat. Make sure you inhale while you are sitting, and exhale as you go straight back up. This is something you can do with a barbell but it’s more difficult, plus dumbbells are more convenient to use in the gym.
The Walking Lunge
Take a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, and move your right foot so there’s a 90 degree angle when you bend it. Keep your left foot in the same position. As you go down the ground, keep your torso and chest high. After driving through your right heel take a big step forward so you just repeat the movement with your left leg.
The Dumbbell Swing
In this workout, stand with your feet shoulder wide apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Next, squat until the dumbbell is between your legs and your back is about parallel to the floor. Move your hips in a forward motion and swing your dumbbell upwards to your shoulder. Keep your arms straight and drive the weight with your hips and legs.
Squat to Overhead Shoulder Press
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend your arms so each dumbbell reaches up to your shoulders. Squat and get up, but as you rise press your dumbbells overhead and return to the squatting position, with your dumbbells going back to their original position.
Assume a push-up stance with your feet shoulder wide apart. Each hand should have a dumbbell with your palms facing one another. Your abs have to be tight and your back flat, and pull up the right dumbbell to your body’s right side, keeping your elbow at your side and tucked in. Bring the dumbbell down slowly to the floor and repeat it with the left dumbbell. Alternate between the right and left, and try to keep your body from shaking.
Putting it all Together
Once you’ve learned how to do all the five exercises, you can combine them for a full workout. The first thing you should do is perform a 5 to 10 minute warm-up, and do the Goblet Squat and Walking Lunge back to back for 60 seconds and repeat three to five times. Next, do the Renegade Row and Squat to Overhead Press back to back, also for a minute and repeat 3 to 5 times. Complete the routine with 15 to 25 swings in each hand.
Tips for Using Dumbbells in the Gym
If you’re going to make the most of your time in the gym with dumbbells, make sure that you use the right weight. If you’re looking for a sleek and toned look, use dumbbells that you can do 12 to 20 reps without getting exhausted. Even so, you should use dumbbells with different weight ranges. If your objective is to gain strength and build muscle, you will be better off with heavier dumbbells that you can do 8 reps before fatigue sets in. If the reps become easy you should get heavier weights rather than just increasing the reps.
If you have not worked out before, start slowly and give your muscles time to get used to it. Slow movements leads to better muscle buildup and stabilizes them, allowing you to progress and do more intensive workouts. It’s also important that you follow the instructions to avoid injuries to your wrists, arms and elbows. Also, don’t expect results to come about immediately, and give yourself a few weeks and then you will see what happens.
Dumbbells may be the simplest exercise equipment you’ll find in Bally Total Fitness and other gyms, but used properly they can be very effective. If you work with dumbbells in the manner prescribed here, you’ll see results.