Dial Dumbbells – 15 Great Exercises

Dial DumbbellsWhen it comes to using adjustable dial dumbbells, you really need to make sure that you know how to use them correctly so as to avoid injury which can occur with bad technique.

Although some of you know the proper way to handle them, others will be new to using them and may still be looking for simple exercises to do with them.

I have been working out in gyms myself since I was thirteen, mainly as a supplement to my martial arts training. I believe free weights are a fantastic asset to any martial arts training and helped me to gain victories in national and international MA competitions.

After many years of supervised gym instruction using free weights, I found a need to “bring them home”. When I first took them home it was easy, as there was very little selection to choose from. Times have changed and there is a wide variety of machines and equipment on sale.

We are very lucky today in that we can have one set of adjustable dumbbells that cover our entire routine and take up very little space. Introducing the “adjustable dial dumbbells”. You can also check out my Bowflex dumbbells review for an in depth look at the most popular set on the market today.

Basic Strength-Building Exercises With Dial Dumbbells

Dumbbell exercises can provide an entire workout which will increase strength and muscle. Here are 15 exercises that anyone can do that will isolate five key areas of your body; chest, arms, back, shoulder, and legs. You might find a few that you would like to add to your existing routine, or if you are a “newbie”, this article may be the content for a whole routine for you.

Leg Exercises

Dumbbell Squats

Exercises With Dial DumbbellsStand with your feet facing forward shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand, bend your knees forward while keeping your back straight until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of one then stand up until your hips and knees are straight.

This really works the thighs, hips and buttocks. This would be the first one that many people do. There are many variations on this exercise, including combination exercises where you raise your arms to full length above your head as you straighten up.

Calf Raises

Calf Raise With Adjustable Dial DumbbellsStand with feet shoulder width apart and hold a weight in each hand, hanging at the sides.

Raise your heels off the ground, flex your calves and hold for a count of one, lower back down and repeat.

Can be done one leg or two at a time.


Stand with feet apart holding a weight in each hand by your side. Move your left foot forward as though taking a step, leave your right leg stationary and lunge downwards. Step backwards so your feet come together then do the same using your right foot.

Stiff Legged Dead-lifts

Hold a weight in each hand in front of your upper thighs, with your arms hanging naturally. Bend at your waist, pushing your buttocks to the rear and let the weights lower to the floor or as far as you can reach. Tighten the butt and hamstrings then lift back up to isolate the movement in your upper leg.

Shoulders And Back Exercises


Dumbbell Shoulder Press

dumbbell shoulder pressThis press can be done sitting or standing. Holding your hands like you can see in the image here. First, you will extend your arms above your head with the dumbbells in hand. Hold, and then return to the starting position. You can also do this one handed. One of my favorites, you can really feel the burn.



Dumbbell Rows

Dumbbell RowsAs in the image. This is also called the “bent-over row”.

To start you need to pick up the dumbbell in your hands. Your palms should be facing your torso. When you do this, you can also hold it six inches off the floor with your torso bent to the floor and with your back straight. Then, you pull them up to your chest and then lower them back to the starting position. Many do this with one dumbbell at a time, some prefer one in each hand. But that is how you do the basic exercise.

Arm Exercises

Bicep Curl – Standing

A Dumbbell Bicep CurlThis exercise works one arm at a time alternatively. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the weights by your side with palms facing towards your legs. Starting with your left arm, curl it upwards towards your body, rotating the palm as your arm is lifted so that the palm is facing your body at the top of the lift. Pause for a count of one then squeeze your bicep as the weight is returned back to its starting position then do the same using your right arm. Keep tension in the arm for the entire movement. Check out the standing dumbbell curls video here.


Bicep Curl – Seated

Place the body in a sitting position towards the end of an exercise bench, make sure your feet are placed flat on the floor and that the back is straight and upright. Position the weights by your side, dangling downwards with palms facing towards the bench. This exercise will work the arms simultaneously. Curl both arms upwards at the same time and twist your wrists so the palms are facing the top of the arms. Raise the weight until the tension is about to leave your bicep then return the arm back down to the original position. Watch Roland demo the seated dumbbell curls.

Concentration Curl

Place the body in a sitting position at the end of an exercise bench with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Angle your feet so they are pointed outwards. Let the back of your left arm rest on the top of your left leg, while your right arm holds the weight. Raise the weight until your bicep has been flexed and is about to lose tension, then lower. Repeat with the opposite arm after 10 reps. Dumbbell concentration curl video demo.

Hammer Curl

Stand or sit with your feet shoulder width apart and the weights positioned with palms facing towards your body. Keep your palms facing inwards, don’t twist the wrist. Curl your arm straight up so the weight is vertical to the ground. Lower the weight back down and then repeat using your opposite arm. Here’s a video demo of seated hammer curls with dumbbells.

Over Head Tricep Extension

These are quite popular. Can be done with 1 or 2 arms at time.

The way you do this is to pick it up and hold it over your head at arms length. Stand erect as you hold it. You keep your upper arm close to your head. Then you, lower the dumbbell in a semicircular motion. You should do this until the forearm meets the bicep. Just go back to the starting position and repeat this process. A great workout for the triceps and biceps.

Dumbbell Chest Exercises

Bench Press

Lay on your back on a flat bench with a weight in each hand. Begin with bent elbows and your hands in line with your chest. Press your hands up towards the sky simultaneously, then lower them in a controlled manner. See the dumbbell bench press demonstration video here.

Incline Bench Press

Lay on your back on an incline bench with a weight in each hand. Start with elbows bent, in line with your chest. Push both hands forward simultaneously then lower back until your elbows are almost at ninety degrees. Watch the incline dumbbell press video.

Decline Bench Press

Lay on your back on a decline bench with a weight in each hand. Commence the exercise with elbows bent, then press upwards at the same time with both hands. Hold for a count of one then lower back to the ninety degree position. Here’s the decline dumbbell bench press demo video.

Dumbbell Flyes

Lay on your back on a free standing bench with a weight in each hand. Stretch your arms out to the side, opening your body with your palms facing inwards towards your body. Lift both weights at the same time and bring them together as though you are hugging a large keg of beer. When they meet in the middle, squeeze your pecs once, then lower the weights back down slowly in a controlled manner. See my friend Roland demonstrate how to do dumbbell flyes with good technique on video.

**The exercises described in this article should be carried out after a doctor has checked you medically.

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