Time to Get Ripped!: 10 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Building Muscle

Content Editor

April 21, 2023

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Working out to build muscles is important for strength and aesthetics. Training hard to strengthen your muscles will result in an increase of physical endurance as well as improving your overall health. While some prefer to get their workout from running, lighting heavy weights or through other physical activities, one very effective tool you can use to train and build your muscles is the trusty dumbbell. 


Dumbbells are not only one of the most common tools in the gym, but it is also very easy to use. However, proper usage and technique must be practiced at all times during the workout in order to avoid straining your arms or injuring your muscles. That being said, dumbbells are beginner friendly. 


If you want to start training with dumbbells, below are some of the best exercises to help you begin your journey in building your muscles and getting ripped! 


10 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Building Muscle



Woodchopper is a great way of building and toning your core muscles using dumbbells.



Done by standing with both feet hip width apart or squatting, the woodchopper dumbbell exercise can strengthen your core and spine while building your muscles through the repetitive movement involved in the exercise.



Another great dumbbell workout for strengthening and building your core muscles, the rowboat trains the arms as well.



The rowboat workout is done by first sitting down on a level surface. After settling on the ground, extend both feet outwards while keeping both knees on a slight bent. Proceed to pick up a single dumbbell, with one hand holding each weight.. Once the dumbbell is raised, make a continuous rowing motion, shifting one side to another until you have reached your desired number of repetitions. 


Arnold Press

The Arnold press is a dumbbell workout that can train and build your shoulder muscles. 



The Arnold press should be done while sitting up on a chair with two dumbbells held firmly on each hand. The Arnold press’ starting position is similar to the contracted position of a dumbbell curl. From this starting pose, raise your arms overhead while switching the position of your palms. Hold for a few seconds then slowly return to starting position before lifting the dumbbell again. This repetitive movement will work your shoulder muscles. 


Dumbbell Swing

Dumbbell swings are another great workout that can build your shoulder muscles. 



Standing with your feet hip width apart and grabbing two dumbbells on each hand, squat and begin to make a swinging motion with the dumbbells. Make sure that the dumbbells would make a full swinging motion, from between your legs swinging up to chest level. This workout is not only great for your shoulders, but will greatly benefit your core and spine as well. 


Lying Skull Crushers 

Lying skull crushers, otherwise known as lying tricep extensions, is a type of arm workout that targets the triceps. 



This workout is beneficial to building the arm muscles. The move is done similarly to tricep dumbbell extensions, except you’ll have to do it laying down on a raised bench with your knees bent and feet solid flat on the ground. Make sure that your legs are hip width apart. While this workout targets the triceps, it is also beneficial to building your shoulder and core muscles. 



Using a lighter dumbbell, kickbacks are a great dumbbell workout that can isolate your triceps. 



Using the scissor stance (both feet hip width apart and stepping forward with one foot) while holding one dumbbell, slowly extend one dumbbell backwards while keeping both arms close to your sides. The scissor stance that the kickback dumbbell workout uses allows you to create a solid position from which you can also strengthen your hamstrings.


Walking Lunge

The walking dumbbell lunge trains both your arms as well as your knees and thighs. 



Holding one dumbbell on each hand and beginning in a standing stance with both feet hip width apart, step out one foot forward then proceed to a lunge. The stance is very similar to a scissor stance, except this workout involves stepping back to align both feet again before taking another step with your other foot to complete another lunge. Like many lunge exercises, this workout is also beneficial for your glutes and hamstrings.


Goblet Lunges

Another dumbbell workout that can help train and build your leg muscles, goblet dumbbell utilizes one dumbbell held vertically with both hands pressed against the chest. 



Making sure you are holding the top weight of the dumbbell with both hands, proceed to make a full squat while maintaining a straight back. After one full squat, return to the start position before proceeding to another squat. This motion helps strengthen your inner and outer thigh, as well as your obliques and your lower core. 


Hammer Curls


Beginning with the default stance of a standing dumbbell curl and securely holding one dumbbell each hand, lift one dumbbell across your chest. The move is similar to a bicep curl, except there is no need to twist the dumbbell once raised. The purpose of the hammer curls is to train the strength of your muscles by lifting a heavy weight while retaining the position for a few seconds. This workout also works out your upper body and core. 


Zottman Dumbbell Curls


The Zottman dumbbell curls is an effective bicep and forearm workout that can build the appearance of your muscles. This workout is done similar to a bicep curl, except that the dumbbells should be twisted outwards while the equipment is being lowered down. This workout helps develop arm strength while improving the appearance of your arm muscles.


Working out develops your health as well as improves the appearance of your muscles. Developing the appearance of your muscles can improve your confidence which can greatly benefit your mental health and overall happiness. Not to mention increasing your strength can result in more fun activities that you can enjoy with your loved ones. 


When trying new workouts, it is important to figure out where your level is, especially if it is your first time trying out weights. You should also consider your pre-existing health conditions, if any, so that you can figure out the best workout that fits the current capabilities of your body. Beyond anything else, it is important to remember that people have different types of body and beginning a fitness journey requires a lot of dedication and patience for oneself. 




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  • Mitchell, C. (12 April 2023) 19 Best Dumbell Exercises To Target Every Muscle Group. Garage Gym Reviews. Retrieved from: https://www.garagegymreviews.com/best-dumbbell-exercises
  • Williams, I. (13 April 2023) Best Dumbbell Exercises For Every Body Part. Men’s Fitness. Retrieved from: https://mensfitness.co.uk/workouts/best-dumbbell-exercises/