It's easy to get started with dumbbells and change your body for the better. But it's also easy to do dumbbell workouts wrong and have them backfire on you. You're probably wondering what kind of dumbbell workouts for beginners would be ideal for you or if even dumbbells are right for you at all. I started with dumbbells because they were a cheaper alternative to gym memberships and allowed me to invest in my health from home; you could say I'm a pretty big fan of fitness equipment that allows me to workout from the comfort of my own home.
You may have tried working out with adjustable dumbbells before, but if you are a beginner it can be tough to know exactly how to use them or what exercises you should do. It is still important for beginners to find a workout routine that works for them, but there are a few dumbbell workout tips for beginners I think will help make it easier for you.
1. Get a proper warm-up in.
It's tempting to skip warming up when you're eager to start your workout, but it's a bad idea. Warming up is actually really important for beginners because it helps your body get ready for the kind of activity you're about to put through. If you skip warming up, your muscles and joints might not be as flexible, which can lead to injury. Think about how hard it is to bend over and try to tie your shoes first thing in the morning without doing a few stretches first—that's what working out without warming up is like. You don't have to spend a lot of time getting warmed up, though—you just need to do something that gets your heart rate going so the blood can flow more easily through your veins and into your muscles, increasing their flexibility and preventing injury. This could mean walking on the treadmill or going out for a jog around the block.
If you're new to working out or haven't lifted weights before, it's easy to injure yourself without proper warm-up exercises. This is true for all types of weightlifting, but especially so if you're using dumbbells.
A warm-up period should consist of dynamic stretches and some low-intensity exercise. This helps prepare your body for the more intense training session you have planned. It does this by increasing blood flow to your muscles and raising your heart rate, meaning that when you do get started with your workout, you'll be ready to go.
As a beginner, the best way to do this is with a five-minute jog or brisk walk on a treadmill before starting any other exercises. A quick jog is effective because it bypasses static stretching, which can shorten the length of muscles involved in active movement and actually decrease muscle performance during a workout.
2. Use the right weight.
The best way to get the most from your dumbbell workout is to use the right weight. This isn't necessarily the heaviest weight you can lift or the lightest one either. You want to challenge yourself, but not so much that you compromise your form. For example, if you're doing a set of bicep curls and your arm muscles are shaking and straining with each rep, the weight is too heavy. If you're using perfect form and you don't feel like your muscles are working hard at all, it's time to increase the weight. Your last two reps should be difficult but still manageable with good form.
As a general rule of thumb, choose a weight at which you can complete 8 to 12 reps for three sets with proper form. One set of 8 to 12 reps is considered one exercise session for strength-building purposes. You can increase the weight slowly over time as your muscles adapt and get stronger.
3. Practice your dumbbell movements.
It may sound silly, but if you want to lift a heavy weight without hurting yourself, you should first practice your form with lighter weights until you feel comfortable and confident doing the movement. For example, if you've never done a biceps curl before, start with a lighter weight and practice the motion until it feels fluid and easy—this way when you pick up a heavier weight, it'll be easier and safer for your arms!
You know that the best way to learn a sport is by playing it, and the same is true for dumbbells. The more you practice them, the more familiar you'll be with their movements, and that will help you use them safely and effectively. If you're just starting out, practice with your lightest weight before trying heavier ones. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help! A qualified personal trainer can evaluate your form and show you how to make adjustments.
4. Focus on quality not quantity.
It's tempting to think that the more reps you do, the better your results will be—and while it's true that you have to challenge yourself if you're going to get stronger, it doesn't mean that you have to push your limits every time. It's actually better to stay within your comfort zone, at least at first.
The best thing you can do when you're new to strength training is to focus on form. This will help you get comfortable with the exercises without having any missteps along the way. If your form is correct and you feel like you're maintaining proper control of each exercise, then there's no need to worry about how many reps you're doing. If anything, it's good for beginners to keep their rep ranges and sets low in order to learn the right way of doing things before they take on more difficult challenges.
As a beginner, it's also important that you master all the basics—there are plenty of them! But once you've got those down and feel comfortable doing them with excellent form, then gradually build up your sets and reps as needed. There are plenty of other variables in a workout plan that can be modified as well so that workouts become increasingly more challenging over time.
5. Take adequate rest.
If you are new to weight training and the gym, the last thing you want to do is overdo yourself. There's no gold medal for working out even if your body is screaming at you to stop. The best way to avoid getting injured is by making sure you take enough rest between sets and workouts.
It is also important to get enough sleep at night, as that's when your body will do most of its rebuilding work. Aim for at least seven hours, if not more.
If you're looking to build muscle, it's important to remember that there is a difference between being sore from working out and being injured from overworking yourself. If your muscles are so sore that you can't finish a workout or feel pain in your joints, then it's time to take a break for a couple of days.
Learning to use a set of weights is easy, and the Dumbbell Workout Tips For Beginners will help take some of the frustration out of this learning process for you. Each tip can be used as is, or combined with others to create your own routine. Either way, commit these to memory, and you'll be working up a sweat in no time.