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There are more than 200 exercises you can do with dumbbells. We asked our fitness experts to help us select the 12 exercises that do the most good for your muscles.
Here’s are seven exercises that focus on building your arms and upper body strength and physique.
Chest Bench Press. Lie face up on an exercise bench, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbells on each side of your chest, palms facing your feet. Your elbows should be pointing down, a few centimetres below the plane of your back. Slowly press the dumbbells upward so that they come together, rotating your wrists so your palms face each other. Extend your arms straight above your chest, but stop before your elbows lock. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.
Shoulders Military Press. Sitting on a chair or exercise bench, with your feet firmly on the floor, grasp a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing in. Slowly raise the weights to shoulder height, rotating your palms forward as you go up. This is your starting position. Now press the weights straight above your head, stopping before you lock your elbows. At the top of the movement, the weights should be shoulder-width apart. Lower the weights to shoulder height. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.
Shoulders/Neck/Back Standing Upright Row. In a standing position, grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them against the front of your legs with your thumbs pointing toward each other. Now lift the weights, keeping them close to your body, until they are just below your chin. Hold for 2 seconds, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions.
Back and Chest Pullover. Lie face up on an exercise bench so the top half of your head extends past the end of the bench. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Hold a single dumbbell above your chest so it’s vertical and the top plate rests comfortably on the palms of your hands, thumbs around the handle. This is the starting position. Slowly lower the weight behind your head in a semicircular motion, bringing it as far down as you can without strain. Hold for a second, then raise the weight to the starting position. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.
Biceps Concentration Curl. Sit on an exercise bench or a chair with your knees slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet flat on the floor. Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand, palm up, and rest your upper right arm against your inner right thigh. Now, placing your left hand on your left knee for support, curl the dumbbell up toward your shoulder, keeping your upper right arm and elbow tucked against your inner thigh at all times. Do 8 to 12 repetitions, then switch to the opposite side and repeat the exercise with your left arm.
Triceps Seated Triceps Extension. Sitting on a chair or an exercise bench with your back straight, place your feet firmly on the floor and grasp a single dumbbell with both hands. Raise the weight above your head, rotating it so it is vertical and the top plate rests comfortably on the palms of your hands, thumbs around the handle. This is the starting position. Now slowly lower the weight behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. Return to the starting position. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.
Forearms Wrist Curl. Sit on an exercise bench or a chair with your knees about 20 to 30 cm apart and your feet flat on the floor. With a dumbbell in each hand, palms up, lean forward and place your forearms on your upper thighs so the wrists are hanging over. Slowly bend both wrists back as far as your can. Then, using only your wrists, curl the weights up as high as possible. Do 12 to 15 repetitions with both arms for two sets to work the inner forearm muscles, then perform two sets with your palms facing downward to pump up your outer forearms.